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Kauffman v. Aversa

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Medford Division

November 21, 2019

KEVIN KAUFFMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SUSAN E. AVERSA ORREGO; YOGURT HUT LLC Defendants.

          OPINION & ORDER

          MICHAEL McSHANE, United States District Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Susan E. Aversa Orrego and Yogurt Hut LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 13. Summary judgment is premature at this time and so the Motion is DENIED with leave to refile in ninety (90) days at the close of limited discovery.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Kevin Kauffman, proceeding pro se, alleges that he applied for a job at the Yogurt Hut in February 2018 and was told that he was “too old” to work at the Yogurt Hut.

         Defendant Susan E. Aversa Orrego is a member of Defendant Yogurt Hut, LLC (the “LLC”), which owns and operates three Yogurt Hut locations in Jackson and Josephine Counties. Aversa Orrego Aff. ECF No. 14. In 2017 and 2018, the LLC had a maximum of sixteen employees on any working day, most of whom were part-time and assigned to one of the LLC's three Yogurt Hut restaurants. Id. “At no time from 2017 until the present has Yogurt Hut LLC had twenty (20) employees at the same time.” Id.

         A second company, Yogurt Hut AV Limited Partnership (the “Limited Partnership”), owns a fourth Yogurt Hut location in Medford, Oregon. Aversa Orrego Supp. Aff. ECF No. 19. The LLC is the general partner in the Limited Partnership, along with six limited partners. Id. The Limited Partnership has its own employees, payroll, and employer identification number. Id. The Limited Partnership files its own tax returns and has its own worker's compensation coverage, liability insurance policy, and bank accounts. Id. In 2017 and 2018, the Limited Partnership employed a maximum of eight employees on any working day. Id. As with the LLC, most of the Limited Partnership's employees were part-time and worked at the Limited Partnership's single restaurant. Id. Some employees worked for both the LLC and the Limited Partnership “to accommodate temporary variations in staffing needs at each of the four locations.” Id.

         The employee who allegedly told Plaintiff he was “too old” was employed by the LLC to work at the Yogurt Hut restaurant in Ashland, Oregon, in 2017 and 2018. Aversa Orrego Supp. Aff.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Summary judgment is appropriate if the record shows that “there is no genuine dispute as to any materials fact and the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive law on an issue determines the materiality of a fact. T.W. Elec. Servs., Inc. v. Pac. Elect Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987). Whether the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party determines the authenticity of the dispute. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).

         The moving party has the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the moving party shows the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and identify facts which show a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

         Special rules of construction apply when evaluating a summary judgment motion: (1) all reasonable doubts as to the existence of genuine issues of material fact should be resolved against the moving party; and (2) all inferences drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. T.W. Elec., 809 F.2d at 630-31.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff brings a claim for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1) (“ADEA”). Defendants move for summary judgment on the basis that neither Defendant is an “employer” within the meaning of the ADEA. Plaintiff seeks to defer resolution of the present motion until discovery can take place.

         I. “Employer&rdqu ...


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