604 F.Supp. 730 (W.D.Va. 1985), Civ. A. 83-0686, Felty v. Graves-Humphreys Co.

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 83-0686
Citation:604 F.Supp. 730
Party Name:Felty v. Graves-Humphreys Co.
Case Date:March 14, 1985
Court:United States District Courts, 4th Circuit, Western District of Virginia
 
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Page 730

604 F.Supp. 730 (W.D.Va. 1985)

N. Brown FELTY, Plaintiff,

v.

GRAVES-HUMPHREYS COMPANY, Defendant.

Civ. A. No. 83-0686.

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia.

March 14, 1985

Page 731

Donald W. Huffman, Nate L. Adams, III, Bird, Kinder & Huffman, Roanoke, Va., for plaintiff.

Bayard E. Harris, William P. Wallace, Jr., Woods, Roger, Muse, Walker & Thornton, Roanoke, Va., for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

TURK, Chief Judge.

This case is before the court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the defendant, Graves-Humphreys Company. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. The action was filed by the plaintiff, N. Brown Felty, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. On August 14, 1984, the court entered an order taking the defendant's motion under advisement to consider the issue of equitable tolling of the statutory filing period. The parties have submitted briefs, the court has heard oral argument, and the matter is ripe for a decision by this court.

I.

The facts relevant to the motion for summary judgment are not in dispute.1 Mr. Felty worked for Graves-Humphreys Company for forty-two (42) years. A letter of recommendation from the defendant describes Mr. Felty as loyal and dependable, and it states that he had an excellent attendance record and that he often went beyond what was expected of him. (Exhibit B to Plaintiff's Answers to Defendant's Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents filed February 20, 1985.) On November 12, 1982, Mr. Felty received notice that he was being terminated due to a reduction in the work force. The notice stated: "As of today, November 12, 1982, notice is being given that your last work day will be March 31, 1983." The notice was unequivocal and was neither modified nor rescinded. The notice also included an incentive plan for terminated employees who continued to work through March 31, 1983, and provided for paid time off to look for employment elsewhere.

At the time Mr. Felty received his notice of termination, he was told by the Vice President and General Manager of Graves-Humphreys not to discuss his termination with anyone else in the company on penalty of immediate dismissal. In his deposition in March of 1984, Mr. Felty admitted that on November 12, 1983, he had in fact discussed his termination with a fellow employee. At that time Mr. Felty learned that the younger employee, Mr. Harry Dooley, was being retained:

Q. You knew on November 12 that Mr. Dooley was being retained, did you not?

A. Yes.

Q. So, did you feel at that time that after having received notice of your discharge that you were being discriminated against because of your age?

A. Yes, sir.

Deposition of N. Brown Felty, March 2, 1984, pp. 39-40.

Mr. Felty filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on...

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