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Dennis v. Airport Chevrolet, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

February 24, 2014

MARVIN L. DENNIS, Plaintiff,
v.
AIRPORT CHEVROLET, INC., a domestic business corporation, Defendant.

ORDER

MARK D. CLARKE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Marvin Dennis alleges that he was wrongly terminated from his job at Airport Chevrolet, Inc., due to age and disability discrimination. He brings claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as the corresponding statutes under Oregon state law, O.R.S. § 659A.030(a), and O.R.S. § 659A.112. The parties have consented to magistrate jurisdiction (#37). The matter comes before the Court on the defendant's motion for summary judgment (#15) on all claims. For the reasons below, defendant's motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Marvin Dennis was employed by the defendant, Airport Chevrolet, Inc., as a certified technician for nearly twenty years, beginning in July, 1992. Plaintiff suffers from a number of impairments including an injured back, a tom meniscus and arthritis in his knee, foot neuropathy, plantar faciitis, and foot hyper pronation. In 2003, Plaintiff suffered an on-the-job back injury for which he was granted worker's compensation, and later returned to work with restrictions.

In November, 2008, Plaintiff was written up at work for the first time since his employment with the defendant began, by service manager Brian Hail, after admittedly making a mistake. Hail then issued him a "landslide of further write ups for which Plaintiff contends he should not have been written up." In September, 2010, Plaintiff was relocated to a new work station. His old work station was in close proximity to the main office, parts counter, bathroom, tool room, and lunchroom, while his new work station was the farthest station away from those places, a difference of about 50 or 60 feet.

In late November, 2011, General Motors approved a plan to merge the operations of Airport Chevrolet with another local dealership, Dollar Buick GMC. The merger created an over-staffed and physically undersized service department, requiring the newly-combined dealership to lay-off a member of the staff.

In December, 2011, the computer Plaintiff used was removed from its location across from his workstation, causing Plaintiff to walk a farther distance for access to a computer. On January 3, 2012, Plaintiff was laid off. He claims that other, younger, less qualified employees were not laid off, and that his termination was unlawful based on disability and age discrimination.

STANDARD

Summary judgment shall be granted when the record shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material of fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). The moving party has the initial burden of showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Devereaux v. Abbey , 263 F.3d 1070, 1076 (9th Cir. 2001) (en banc). The court cannot weigh the evidence or determine the truth but may only determine whether there is a genuine issue of fact. Playboy Enters., Inc. v. Welles , 279 F.3d 796, 800 (9th Cir. 2002). An issue of fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 248.

When a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts to the opposing party to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id . at 250. Conclusory allegations, unsupported by factual material, are insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Taylor v. List , 880 F.2d 1040, 1045 (9th Cir. 1989). Instead, the opposing party must, by affidavit or as otherwise provided by Rule 56, designate specific facts which show there is a genuine issue for trial. Devereaux , 263 F.3d at 1076. In assessing whether a party has met its burden, the court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Allen v. City of Los Angeles , 66 F.3d 1052, 1056 (9th Cir. 1995).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff alleges that he was wrongly terminated from his job at Airport Chevrolet, Inc., due to age and disability discrimination. He brings claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), as well as the corresponding state statutes. Defendant moves for summary judgment as to all claims.

I. Disability Discrimination Claims

Title I of the ADA prohibits discrimination "against a qualified individual with a disability because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment." 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). In order to prevail on an ADA claim, a plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination by showing that he or she: (1) has or is perceived as having a disability; (2) is a qualified individual; and (3) was unlawfully discriminated against because of her disability. See e.g., Nunes v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , 164 F.3d 1243, 1246 (9th Cir.1999). The standard for establishing a ...


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