United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 15] is granted.
Kara Lee Ford sued the Alotian Club, Inc. and The Alotian
Club LLC (the “Alotian” or “Club”)
alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (“ADEA”). See Compl.,
Doc. No. 1. The Alotian moves for summary judgment. Doc. No.
viewed in the light most favorable to Ford, the nonmoving
party, the pertinent facts are as follows. Ford was 66 years
old when the Alotian, an exclusive golf club, terminated her
because “the [C]lub was going in a different
direction.” DeLozier Dep. 38, 40, Doc. Nos. 15-1, 24-1;
Ford's Brief in Opposition to Summary Judgment
(“Ford's Brief”) at 2, Doc. No. 24. She was
hired by the Club approximately three years before, as
assistant to Chief Operating Officer Dan Snider. Ford Dep.
17, Doc. Nos. 15-4, 24-1; See Charge of
Discrimination, Doc. No. 15-3. Her salary was $45, 000, and
when she was fired, it was about $49, 000. Ford Dep. 17-18.
Her duties included taking staff meeting minutes, managing
concierges and reservations, and communicating reservations
with other departments. Ford Dep. 22-25; DeLozier Dep. 10-11.
Snider retired at the end of 2015, and Patrick DeLozier
became the new COO. Ford Statement of Facts ¶ 2, Doc.
No. 23; DeLozier Decl. ¶ 19, Doc. No. 15-5.
four months before DeLozier was promoted to COO, he hired Amy
Ramage, then 29, as his administrative assistant, to work as
a concierge, and to administratively support the golf course
maintenance department. See Ramage Decl.
¶¶ 6, 8, Doc. No. 15-6; Employee Hiring Chart,
Plaintiff's Ex. C, Doc. No. 24-1 at ¶ 00158; Staff
Meeting Minutes Typed by Ford, August 11, 2015, DeLozier
Decl. Ex. 1. Ramage had undergraduate and graduate degrees in
hospitality management and had worked in hospitality and
event planning since graduating. Ramage Decl. ¶¶
2-3. On the other hand, Ford had decades of experience in
public relations and marketing. Ford Dep. 8-13.
negotiated a one-time $1, 500 clothing allowance when she was
hired, a benefit that Ford did not receive. Ramage Decl.
¶ 5; Ford Dep. 52-53. She also started at a rate of $20
per hour, and later became salaried at $50, 000 per year.
Ramage Decl. ¶ 7; Ford Dep. 52. DeLozier gave Ramage
some new duties that Ford felt were part of her domain in
member preferences. Ford Dep. 23-25; Ramage Decl. ¶ 8.
Although Ford complains that Ramage was also given a better
schedule, see Ford Dep. 58, Ramage worked nearly
three times as many weekends as Ford, which Ford did not
enjoy working. See Weekends Worked, DeLozier Decl.
Ex. 2; Ford Dep. 31-33. During a summer golf tournament,
Ramage worked inside, while Ford kept score outside in the
heat. Ford Dep. 56.
Ford's work performance was mostly satisfactory, she
failed to meet expectations on several occasions. She failed
to notify the other Alotian departments of a dinner
reservation in June 2015. See Cronkhite Decl. ¶
6 & Ex. 2, Incident Report, Doc. No. 15-2; Ford Dep.
44-46. She struggled to recruit and retain concierges.
See 2014 Ford Performance Review, Cronkhite Decl.
Ex. 1, (Ford received a 3 out of 5 for “[i]nspires
others to excel and trains thoroughly”); Ford Dep.
59-63; DeLozier Dep. 23-25, 29-30, 36-37. She resisted and
resented working weekends. See Ford Dep. 31-33;
Cronkhite Decl. ¶ 8. She also failed to notify the other
departments of nearly three dozen reservations before taking
scheduled medical leave. See DeLozier Decl. ¶
30; Ramage Decl. ¶ 17; Ford Dep. 92 (testifying, when
asked why she didn't enter the reservations, “I
don't know that I didn't enter” them); Ford
Statement of Facts ¶ 39 (suggesting guests' plans
were not yet definitive). In addition, Ford apparently did
not respect DeLozier. See, e.g., Sept. 28, 2016 Ford
Email to Dan Snider, DeLozier Decl. Ex. 11 (emailing Snider
that DeLozier was “[f]eathering his own cap rather than
caring about Alotian.”).
Ford was on medical leave, her duties were divided between
several employees. See Duties Assignments, DeLozier
Decl. Ex. G, Doc. No. 15-7, DeLozier Decl. ¶ 29. When
she returned from leave, she was fired, Ford Dep. 76-78,
DeLozier Decl. ¶¶ 38-39, Cronkhite Decl.
¶¶ 11-12, and her former duties remained dispersed,
DeLozier Decl. ¶ 40. Some of those duties were absorbed
into a new position, Director of Member Relations. DeLozier
Decl. ¶ 41 & Ex. 9, Job Description; Ramage Decl.
¶ 21. O n e w e e k a f te r For d w a s fired, Ramage
was promoted to this new position with a salary of $70, 000.
Ramage Decl. ¶¶ 21, 23.
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission and was given her right to sue.
See Charge of Discrimination. She timely sued.
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
249-50 (1986). Once the moving party demonstrates that there
is no genuine dispute of material fact, the non-moving party
may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials in his
pleadings. Holden v. Hirner, 663 F.3d 336, 340 (8th
Cir. 2011). Instead, the non-moving party must produce
admissible evidence demonstrating a genuine factual dispute
requiring a trial. Id.
a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or
fails to properly address another party's assertion of
fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may consider the
fact undisputed for purposes of the motion.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). All reasonable inferences must be
drawn in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
Holland v. Sam's Club, 487 F.3d 641, 643 (8th
Cir. 2007), but a plaintiff's own self-serving,
conclusory allegations in an affidavit or deposition,
standing alone, are insufficient to defeat summary judgment,
Haas v. Kelly Services, 409 F.3d 1030, 1034 (8th
Cir. 2005). The evidence is not weighed, and no credibility
determinations are made. Jenkins v. Winter, 540 F.3d
742, 750 (8th Cir. 2008).
Alotian's motion for summary judgment is granted on
Ford's claim that the Alotian fired her and gave other