292 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 2002), 01-2134, Danville v. Regional Lab Corp.

Docket Nº:01-2134
Citation:292 F.3d 1246
Party Name:Danville v. Regional Lab Corp.
Case Date:June 12, 2002
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

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292 F.3d 1246 (10th Cir. 2002)

Inga F. DANVILLE, Plaintiff-Appellant,


REGIONAL LAB CORPORATION, a New Mexico corporation doing business as Tricore Reference Laboratories, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 01-2134.

United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit

June 12, 2002

Thomas E. Chism, Albuquerque, NM, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

John A. Bannerman and Rikki L. Quintana of Krehbiel, Bannerman & Williams, P.A., Albuquerque, NM, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before MURPHY, McKAY, and BALDOCK, Circuit Judges.

MURPHY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Inga F. Danville appeals from the district court's order granting summary judgment in favor of defendant Regional Lab Corporation, doing business as Tricore Reference Laboratories (Tricore) on her complaint alleging violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 (ADEA). Because we conclude that plaintiff made a sufficient showing of pretext to survive summary judgment on her ADEA claim, we reverse and remand. 1


Plaintiff was born in 1934. She began employment with Presbyterian Hospital (Presbyterian) in 1992. Her title at Presbyterian was "blood bank manager." 2 Her duties in this position included managing the transfusion service, the donor service, and the apheresis unit at Presbyterian Northside, Presbyterian Kaseman, and Downtown Presbyterian.

She was working as Presbyterian's manager of transfusion services in 1998, when Presbyterian's laboratory unit merged with defendant Tricore. Under the terms of the merger, plaintiff's job was scheduled to end on July 1, 1998.

Plaintiff transferred to a Presbyterian facility in Clovis, New Mexico, to work as a laboratory supervisor on June 27, 1998. 3 On March 12, 1999, she applied for the

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position of Manager of Transfusion Services at defendant's Albuquerque office. She was sixty-four years old at the time she applied for the position. This position would be responsible for management of the transfusion service at Presbyterian, at Kaseman, at UNM, and any other transfusion service work at Tricore.

The selection committee for the Manager of Transfusion Services position met on April 29, 1999. The committee members were Dr. Ronnie J. Garner, Marcia Ash, Dr. Mehraboon Irani, Carol Tulenko, Marcia Woolley, Terri Wallis, and Jennifer Tripp. The committee had before it seven resumes. Carol Tulenko had organized the resumes into two groups prior to the meeting.

Five of the resumes, including plaintiff's, were included in Group 1, identified as "highly qualified." Aplt.App. at 46. These candidates had some graduate work or a master's degree, and "[e]xperience in similar to more complex organizations." Id. The remaining two candidates were placed in Group 2; these candidates had experience only in a smaller setting or minimal time in transfusion service. Id.

Carol Tulenko prepared a chart before the meeting, briefly setting out each candidate's experience, education, and years in management. A space was provided for notes next to each candidate's listing. Copies were circulated to each member of the committee. The appellate record contains only one copy of the chart, the one filled in by Ms. Tulenko. On Ms. Tulenko's copy of the chart, next to plaintiff's name, appears a single word: "later." Id. at 47. This was the only one-word entry on the chart; Ms. Tulenko evaluated the other candidates in more specific terms either as lacking in skills (those not interviewed) or as "good" or "strong" candidates (those who ultimately received interviews). Id.

During the April 29, 1999 meeting, the committee discussed the qualifications of each candidate. Marcia Woolley mentioned that some of the blood bank employees had come to her and expressed concerns that plaintiff should not be selected to fill the position. Prior to the meeting, Marcia Ash and Carol Tulenko had discussed the fact that plaintiff was perceived by her co-workers as having an abrasive management style. A decision was made not even to interview plaintiff for the position.

Dr. Garner considered plaintiff a strong candidate. He asked the committee why they had not specifically reviewed plaintiff's resume and why she was not being interviewed for the position. He was told 4 that the decision had simply been made that plaintiff would not be interviewed.

Dr. Garner also remembered somebody on the committee saying "she might not be around very long anyway." Id. at 37 (depo. pp. 8-9). He did not remember who made that comment. Carol Tulenko, Marcia Ash, and Marcia Woolley were each asked at their depositions about the comment and did not recall that any such comment was made. Dr. Garner further stated that he thought the comment was age-related.

The committee decided to conduct telephone interviews with all of the Group 1 candidates except for plaintiff. The committee ultimately selected another of the Group 1 candidates, Cheryl Richards, for

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the position. Ms. Richards was forty-seven years old at the time of her selection.


We review the district court's grant of summary judgment de novo. Summary judgment is proper only when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). We view the evidence and all reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.

Thiessen v. Gen. Elec. Capital Corp., 267 F.3d 1095, 1108 (10th Cir.) (citations omitted), petition for cert. filed, 70 U.S.L.W. 3410 (U.S. Dec. 14, 2001) (No. 01-881).

1. Direct evidence of discrimination

A plaintiff can prove that her employer discriminated...

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