United States District Court, D. Nebraska
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Smith Camp Chief United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary
Judgment, ECF No. 21, filed by Defendant The James Skinner
Co. (Skinner Co.). For the reasons stated below the Motion
will be granted.
otherwise indicated, the following facts are those stated in
the parties' briefs, supported by pinpoint citations to
admissible evidence in the record, in compliance with NECivR
and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
Co.'s Plant Manager, Jason Sims, hired Plaintiff Darin
Jones as the Director of Maintenance on October 28, 2015.
Jones was “responsible for the overall management and
coordination of Skinner's maintenance department, project
team, safety program and engineering projects . . . .”
Def.'s Br., ECF No. 23, Page ID 188. He managed
approximately thirty-six employees and spent a substantial
amount of time performing repairs and other managerial work
on Skinner Co.'s production floor. Jones reported to
Jason Sims until Sims was terminated in or around December
2015. Shortly thereafter, Jones began reporting to Dennis
Nolan who was promoted to Vice President of Operations on
January 1, 2016.
January 2016, Nolan noticed that Jones was taking long lunch
breaks, arriving to work late, leaving work early, and
spending most of his time in his office instead of on the
production floor. Nolan also thought Jones too often relied
on his subordinate, Jason Tejral, to train him on certain job
duties, and, at one point, Jones asked Tejral to draft a list
of the actions Jones should take to improve his job
performance. Skinner Co. hired Tejral on January 18, 2016,
but he previously worked for Skinner Co. from 2001 to 2014.
Nolan also claimed he received multiple reports from one
employee that Jones “threatened certain Skinner
employees, ” but Jones denies he ever threatened
Jones was hired, he informed Skinner Co. that he suffered an
aortic aneurism in 2014 and that he was regularly taking
blood-thinning medication. On one occasion in January 2016,
he went to the hospital after work with what he believed was
food poisoning. Jones found out he had a bowel obstruction
and called Nolan to inform him. Nolan asked Jones to report
back to him when he returned, and Jones missed one day of
work. He returned to work with no physical restrictions and,
when he returned, Jones told Nolan he had a dissection in his
aorta. Jones also missed a day of work on February 11, 2016,
to see a doctor, but does not remember why. Jones never
requested accommodation or modification of his job duties due
to any physical or medical condition and no Skinner Co.
employee ever made comments about Jones's health.
February 19, 2016, Nolan terminated Jones's employment
during a one-on-one meeting. During the meeting, Jones
acknowledged that Tejral had been training him on certain
aspects of his job. However, Jones testified at his
deposition that he regularly received compliments from upper
management regarding his job performance and that he received
multiple pay raises and bonuses. Nolan did not tell Jones why
he was being terminated during the meeting, and Jones
testified that he did not know why he was terminated. In its
internal documents, Skinner Co. recorded that Jones was
terminated for unsatisfactory performance. Jones was
forty-nine years old when Skinner Co. hired him.
Complaint, ECF No. 1, Jones claims Skinner Co. terminated him
because he was disabled and because of his age in violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
§ 12112, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 623, the Nebraska Fair Employment
Practices Act (NFEPA), Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-1104, and
the Nebraska Age Discrimination in Employment Act (NADEA),
Neb. Rev. Stat. § 48-1004. He also claims Skinner Co.
terminated his employment in retaliation for requesting an
accommodation in violation of § 12203 of the ADA and
§ 48-1114 of the NFEPA.
judgment is appropriate when the evidence, viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, presents no
genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Garrison
v. ConAgra Foods Packaged Foods, LLC, 833 F.3d 881, 884
(8th Cir. 2016) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “Summary
judgment is not disfavored and is designed for every
action.” Briscoe v. Cty. of St. Louis, 690
F.3d 1004, 1011 n.2 (8th Cir. 2012) (quoting Torgerson v.
City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1043 (8th Cir. 2011)
(en banc)). In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the
Court will view “the record in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party . . . drawing all reasonable
inferences in that party's favor.” Whitney v.
Guys, Inc., 826 F.3d 1074, 1076 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing
Hitt v. Harsco Corp., 356 F.3d 920, 923-24 (8th Cir.
2004)). Where the nonmoving party will bear the burden of
proof at trial on a dispositive issue, “Rule 56(e)
permits a proper summary judgment motion to be opposed by any
of the kinds of evidentiary materials listed in Rule 56(c),
except the mere pleadings themselves.” Se. Mo.
Hosp. v. C.R. Bard, Inc., 642 F.3d 608, 618 (8th Cir.
2011) (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 324 (1986)). The moving party need not produce evidence
showing “the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact.” Johnson v. Wheeling Mach. Prods., 779
F.3d 514, 517 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting Celotex, 477
U.S. at 325). Instead, “the burden on the moving party
may be discharged by ‘showing' . . . that there is
an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case.” St. Jude Med., Inc. v. Lifecare Int'l,
Inc., 250 F.3d 587, 596 (8th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325).
response to the moving party's showing, the nonmoving
party's burden is to produce “specific facts
sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial.”
Haggenmiller v. ABM Parking Servs., Inc., 837 F.3d
879, 884 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Gibson v. Am. Greetings
Corp., 670 F.3d 844, 853 (8th Cir. 2012)). The nonmoving
party “must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, and must come
forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Wagner v. Gallup,
Inc., 788 F.3d 877, 882 (8th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042). “[T]here must be
more than the mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute” between the parties in order to overcome
summary judgment. Dick v. Dickinson State Univ., 826
F.3d 1054, 1061 (8th Cir. 2016) (quoting Vacca v. Viacom
Broad. of Mo., Inc., 875 F.2d 1337, 1339 (8th Cir.
other words, in deciding “a motion for summary
judgment, facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party only if there is a genuine dispute as to
those facts.” Wagner, 788 F.3d at 882 (quoting
Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042). Otherwise, where the
Court finds that “the record taken as a whole could not
lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving
party, ” there is no “genuine issue of material
fact” for trial and summary ...