Holmes v. Marriott Corp., No. 4-92-CV-30004.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States State District Court of Southern District of Iowa
Writing for the CourtPhilip H. Dorff, Jr. and Hugh Cain of Hopkins and Huebner, P.C., Des Moines, IA, for defendant
Citation831 F. Supp. 691
PartiesPhilip W. HOLMES, Plaintiff, v. MARRIOTT CORPORATION, Defendant.
Decision Date31 August 1993
Docket NumberNo. 4-92-CV-30004.

831 F. Supp. 691

Philip W. HOLMES, Plaintiff,
v.
MARRIOTT CORPORATION, Defendant.

No. 4-92-CV-30004.

United States District Court, S.D. Iowa, C.D.

August 31, 1993.


831 F. Supp. 692
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
831 F. Supp. 693
Frederick W. James and Michael J. Carroll of Dwight W. James & Associates, P.C., Des Moines, IA, for plaintiff

Philip H. Dorff, Jr. and Hugh Cain of Hopkins and Huebner, P.C., Des Moines, IA, for defendant.

RULING ON DEFENDANT MARRIOTT CORPORATION'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENNETT, United States Magistrate Judge.

 TABLE OF CONTENTS
                 I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND 694
                 A. Marriott's Summary Judgment Motion 694
                 B. Factual Background 695
                 C. Procedural Background 695
                 D. Burdens of Proof Under the ADEA 696
                 II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS 698
                III. THE INFERENCE OF NONDISCRIMINATION ESTABLISHED IN
                 PROUD V. STONE, 945 F.2D 796 (4TH CIR.1991) AND LOWE V. J.B
                 HUNT TRANSPORT, INC., 963 F.2D 173 (8TH CIR.1992). 699
                 A. Introduction 699
                 B. The Rule Articulated in Proud v. Stone, 945 F.2d 796 (4th Cir.1991) 699
                 C. The Eighth Circuit's Adoption of the Rule in Proud v. Stone, 945 F.2d
                 796 (4th Cir.1991) 700
                 D. Application of the Rule in Proud-Lowe to Marriott's Summary Judgment
                 Motion 701
                 1. Holmes' Intra-Corporate Transfer 701
                 2. The Requirement of the Same Decision Makers 702
                 3. Holmes' Direct Evidence of Discrimination 703
                 IV. STATEMENTS OF MARRIOTT EMPLOYEES — ARE THEY "STRAY
                 REMARKS," REMARKS UNRELATED TO ACTUAL AGE-BASED
                 DISCRIMINATION, REMARKS NOT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE DECISION
                 MAKERS, OR ARE THEY DIRECT EVIDENCE OF DISCRIMINATION. 703
                 A. Introduction 703
                 B. Stray Remarks 704
                 C. The Contents of the Statements at Issue 706
                

831 F. Supp. 694
D. Application of the "Stray Remarks" and the "Diminished Vigor" Rationale to the Statements at Issue 707 V. MARRIOTT'S BUSINESS JUDGMENT 708 VI. MARRIOTT'S OFFER OF REINSTATEMENT—CONDITIONAL OR UNCONDITIONAL? 708 A. Introduction 708 B. The Admissibility of Marriott's Offer of Reinstatement to Holmes 710 C. The May 20, 1991 Offer of Reinstatement to Holmes 711 VII. CONCLUSION 713

This is an age discrimination suit pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634, ("ADEA") with a pendent state law claim under the Iowa Civil Rights Act ("ICRA"), Iowa Code chapter 216 (formerly chapter 601A) (1993). This litigation arises from the termination of Plaintiff Philip W. Holmes' ("Holmes") employment on July 13, 1990, as director of services at the Des Moines Marriott Hotel. Marriott Corporation ("Marriott") has moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(b) on each of Holmes' claims.1

I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND.

A. Marriott's Summary Judgment Motion

Marriott's Motion for Summary Judgment raises four issues: (1) that Holmes cannot prevail on his claims of age discrimination because he can present no genuine issue of material fact concerning discrimination when he was hired at the age of 53 and was fired a little more than 12 months later; (2) that Holmes' claim of direct evidence of age discrimination based upon several statements by Marriott's employees must fail because the statements were not made by the decision maker who terminated Holmes nor are the statements probative of age-based discrimination;

831 F. Supp. 695
(3) that this court should not second guess the business decision by Marriott to terminate Holmes for unsatisfactory job performance as director of services and that Holmes is not able to generate the material fact question to overcome Marriott's asserted legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for his termination; and (4) that Holmes' rejection of Marriott's unconditional offer of reinstatement tolls the back pay period.

Before turning to the merits of each of Marriott's arguments in support of summary judgment, the court will briefly discuss the factual and procedural background of this litigation, comment on the allocation of the burden of proof in ADEA actions and address the appropriate standards to be applied to Marriott's summary judgment motion.

B. Factual Background

Holmes' claims arise from his July 13, 1990 termination of employment by Marriott as the director of services at Des Moines' Marriott Hotel. For purposes of Marriott's Motion for Summary Judgment only, the court finds that the following facts are undisputed. Holmes, was born on December 11, 1935 and began working in 1954 for Marriott as a car hop in a Marriott owned drive-in restaurant. Since then Holmes has held numerous positions with Marriott, including assistant manager of a small restaurant, night manager of a larger restaurant, night manager in the Cafeteria Division, marketing representative for a large Marriott-owned commissary, northeastern regional sales manager of Marriott's Fairfield Farm commissary, opening manager in Marriott's fast food division, a housekeeping trainee, a housekeeping manager, a public space manager and a director of services.

In early 1989, Holmes was working for Marriott's Tan-Tar-A resort property in Missouri as a public space manager. In that position Holmes was responsible for all of the public spaces in the Marriott's resort property.

In late April or early May of 1989, Holmes interviewed for the position of director of services at the Des Moines Marriott hotel. The director of services position was responsible for the complete direction, control and supervision of the hotel's housekeeping, laundry and recreation departments.

Holmes interviewed with resident manager Joseph Duperre, general manager Nick Smart, and other executive management team members of the Des Moines Marriott hotel. Holmes was offered and accepted the position of director of services for the Des Moines Marriott hotel. At the time Holmes interviewed and accepted the Des Moines Marriott hotel position of director of services, he was 53 years of age.

Holmes' initial supervisor was the resident manager, Joseph Duperre. Mr. Duperre's direct supervisor was the general manager, Nick Smart, who was later replaced by Hal Cook. On July 13, 1990, Holmes was terminated by Marriott. Holmes was terminated by general manager Hal Cook. He was the only individual at the Des Moines Marriott hotel facility who had the authority to terminate Holmes. The decision to terminate Holmes was based, in part, on the resident manager, Joseph Duperre's, recommendation to Cook to terminate Holmes. The reason advanced by Marriott for Holmes' termination was unsatisfactory job performance.

C. Procedural Background

On March 9, 1993, the parties filed a consent to proceed before a United States magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). By prior order, April 1, 1993 was the deadline for filing dispositive motions. On July 23, 1993, more than three and one half months after the dispositive motion deadline Marriott filed Defendant's Application to Extend Dispositive Motion Deadline. The motion was unresisted and on July 26, 1993, I granted Marriott's Application to Extend Dispositive Motion Deadline and Marriott's summary judgment motion and supporting brief were filed on that date. As required by Local Court Rule 14(h), Defendant also filed its statement of undisputed facts. On August 13, 1993, Holmes filed his resistance and supporting brief resisting Marriott's motion for summary judgment. On August 24, 1993, I granted Marriott permission to file a reply brief in excess of the page limitation mandated by Local Court Rule 14(g).

831 F. Supp. 696

This litigation is scheduled to commence for trial by jury on September 13, 1993. As is increasingly the case in summary judgment motions in federal court, the briefing and supporting documents filed by the parties are imposing. Here, they easily exceed several hundred pages. A hearing on Marriott's summary judgment motion and other pending motions was held on August 27, 1993. Holmes was represented by Des Moines attorneys Frederick W. James and Michael J. Carroll of Dwight W. James & Associates, P.C. Marriott was represented by Des Moines attorneys Philip H. Dorff, Jr. and Hugh Cain of Hopkins and Huebner, P.C.

The quality of the summary judgment briefs as well as oral argument has been exceptional and of great assistance to the court. Unfortunately, there is precious little time to resolve the important issues raised by the summary judgment motion in the very short period of time between the hearing on the summary judgment motion and trial. This is an excellent example of the conundrum created by allowing parties to move for summary judgment well past the initial deadline for doing so and on the eve of trial. Counsel for both parties have obviously engaged in an enormous amount of work in advancing and resisting summary judgment. This has necessarily consumed considerable time, effort, energy and attorney fees. In this sense, it would be unfair to the parties not to rule on the motion or to artfully dodge it because of the time crunch. Additionally, meritorious summary judgment motions advance important judicial resource concerns by eliminating trials when they are unnecessary. On the other hand, hurriedly addressing last minute summary judgment motions rob the court of the time necessary to carefully evaluate, analyze and cogitate — sometimes necessary even when difficult issues are as well presented as they are here. I have done the best I could given the crushing time constraints.

D. Burdens of Proof Under the ADEA

Under the ADEA, a plaintiff may establish age discrimination "by either direct or indirect methods of proof." Beshears v. Asbill, 930 F.2d 1348, 1353 (8th Cir.1991); Blake v. J.C. Penney Co., Inc., 894 F.2d 274, 278 (8th Cir.1990). "The allocation of burden of proof in ADEA cases ... depends on whether a case is characterized as a `pretext' case or as a `mixed-motive' case." Radabaugh v. Zip Feed Mills, Inc., 997 F.2d 444, 447 (8th Cir. 1993).

The premise of a pretext case "is that either a legitimate or illegitimate...

To continue reading

Request your trial
19 practice notes
  • O'BRYAN v. KTIV Television, No. C 93-4089.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 22 November 1994
    ...substantially assist in defining the contours of the stray remarks doctrine in our circuit. See generally Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 705 (S.D.Iowa 1993) (providing synopses of Eighth Circuit Upon analyzing the statements at issue the court finds that they constitute stray re......
  • Schallehn v. Central Trust and Sav. Bank, No. C 93-4088.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 17 February 1995
    ...substantially assist in defining the contours of the stray remarks doctrine in our circuit. See generally Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 705 (S.D. Iowa 1993) (providing synopses of Eighth Circuit The court notes that the parties have not had the opportunity to brief or argue the......
  • Thomas v. St. Luke's Health Systems, Inc., No. C 93-4051.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 21 November 1994
    ...carefully evaluate, analyze and cogitate ÔÇö sometimes necessary even when difficult issues are ... presented. Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 696 (S.D.Iowa 1993). Neither party has requested a hearing, and in view of the imminent trial date, the court finds that the matter is fu......
  • Kunzman v. Enron Corp., No. C 94-3044.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • 13 September 1995
    ...process by individuals responsible for the very employment decisions in controversy." Id. Similarly, in Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691 (S.D.Iowa 1993), this court concluded that statements concerning the plaintiff's age made by the plaintiff's immediate supervisor, who was not th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • O'BRYAN v. KTIV Television, No. C 93-4089.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 22 November 1994
    ...substantially assist in defining the contours of the stray remarks doctrine in our circuit. See generally Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 705 (S.D.Iowa 1993) (providing synopses of Eighth Circuit Upon analyzing the statements at issue the court finds that they constitute stray re......
  • Schallehn v. Central Trust and Sav. Bank, No. C 93-4088.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 17 February 1995
    ...substantially assist in defining the contours of the stray remarks doctrine in our circuit. See generally Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 705 (S.D. Iowa 1993) (providing synopses of Eighth Circuit The court notes that the parties have not had the opportunity to brief or argue the......
  • Thomas v. St. Luke's Health Systems, Inc., No. C 93-4051.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. Northern District of West Virginia
    • 21 November 1994
    ...carefully evaluate, analyze and cogitate ÔÇö sometimes necessary even when difficult issues are ... presented. Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691, 696 (S.D.Iowa 1993). Neither party has requested a hearing, and in view of the imminent trial date, the court finds that the matter is fu......
  • Kunzman v. Enron Corp., No. C 94-3044.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. Northern District of Iowa
    • 13 September 1995
    ...process by individuals responsible for the very employment decisions in controversy." Id. Similarly, in Holmes v. Marriott Corp., 831 F.Supp. 691 (S.D.Iowa 1993), this court concluded that statements concerning the plaintiff's age made by the plaintiff's immediate supervisor, who was not th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT