Luth v. OEM Controls, Inc.

CourtAppellate Court of Connecticut
Citation252 A.3d 406,203 Conn.App. 673
Decision Date06 April 2021
Docket NumberAC 43702
Parties Diane LUTH v. OEM CONTROLS, INC.

203 Conn.App. 673
252 A.3d 406

Diane LUTH

AC 43702

Appellate Court of Connecticut.

Argued February 8, 2021
Officially released April 6, 2021

Zachary T. Gain, with whom, on the brief, was James V. Sabatini, Newington, for the appellant (plaintiff).

Jody N. Cappello, with whom was Sidd Sinha, Stamford, for the appellee (defendant).

Bright, C. J., and Elgo and Alexander, Js.


203 Conn.App. 674

In this action, brought pursuant to the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (act), General Statutes § 46a-51 et seq., the plaintiff, Diane Luth, appeals from the summary judgment, rendered by the trial court, in favor of her former employer, the defendant, OEM Controls, Inc. On appeal, the plaintiff claims that the court erred in rendering summary judgment on her two count complaint sounding in gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

The following facts and procedural history are revealed by the record. The plaintiff, who is a woman, began working for the defendant in January, 1996, as a sales administrator. At approximately the same time, Jay Monahan also began working for the defendant. According to the plaintiff, Monahan helped to establish the data delivery unit of the company; "he was the sales person going out there. And then—he's the one [who] started installing." Monahan was involved with engineering designs, had engineering ability that permitted him to assist with software and hardware issues, and he also focused on sales. The plaintiff believed that Monahan was paid more than she was paid. Monahan revealed at his deposition that he had an annual base salary of less than $100,000, which was augmented by commissions on sales.

In the years that followed, the plaintiff was promoted to various positions with the defendant, and, at some point after 2004, she was promoted to implementation manager in the data delivery department, where her annual salary increased from less than $50,000 to between $88,000 and $92,000. The plaintiff and Monahan shared certain roles, but Monahan was responsible for handling the technical aspect of the projects, including making sales, while the plaintiff handled customer

203 Conn.App. 675

related issues but not sales. The plaintiff had wanted to move to New Hampshire and work for the defendant remotely for quite some time.

252 A.3d 411

The defendant, however, was reluctant to permit the plaintiff to do so and did not give her an answer. Finally, in or about 2011, the defendant approved the plaintiff's request, and she moved to New Hampshire, where she worked remotely for the defendant. She still was expected to work in Connecticut every six to ten weeks or so.1

In 2015, the defendant began to experience financial difficulties, of which the plaintiff was aware. The defendant implemented layoffs and a freeze on raises. In an attempt to increase sales, the defendant hired a male, Mick Lauer, a former customer, whose salary consisted of a base salary of approximately $125,000 plus commission, generally totaling approximately $160,000. The plaintiff believed Lauer's salary was $170,000. The plaintiff complained to her manager, Samuel Simons, about the compensation of Monahan and Lauer. Simons conducted a review of the salaries and determined that the employees were being paid appropriately. The plaintiff recognized that the job responsibilities of Monahan and Lauer were different from her own job responsibilities, including the fact that Monahan worked on and developed hardware, trained clients, and made sales, and that Lauer primarily worked in sales. The plaintiff often referred to Monahan and Lauer collectively as the "sales team." Although the plaintiff was not subject to the initial round of layoffs in 2015, the defendant laid off four additional people in October, 2016, including three men and the plaintiff. Many of those laid off in both rounds of layoffs had been with the defendant for more than twenty years. The plaintiff's job title was eliminated and her duties were absorbed by others, including Monahan.

203 Conn.App. 676

The plaintiff initiated a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities, where she received a release of jurisdiction on August 31, 2017, and then commenced an action in the Superior Court. On December 3, 2018, the plaintiff filed a revised complaint against the defendant, alleging one count each of gender discrimination and retaliatory discharge. On April 15, 2019, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, attaching to its accompanying memorandum of law various documents in support thereof, including portions of the depositions of the plaintiff, Simons, Monahan, and Lauer. The plaintiff filed a memorandum in opposition, attaching portions of the same depositions, among other things. On July 22, 2019, the trial court heard oral argument on the motion for summary judgment.2

On December 6, 2019, the court, Stevens, J ., issued a memorandum of decision on the defendant's motion for summary judgment. In its decision, the court set forth the uncontested facts, the plaintiff's claims, and the relevant legal authority, followed by a thorough analysis of the legal issues presented. The court then concluded that the defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We carefully have reviewed the record, the parties’ briefs, and their oral argument before this court. Applying the well established principles that govern our review of a court's decision to grant a motion for summary judgment in cases alleging violations of the act; see, e.g., Stubbs v. ICare Management, LLC , 198 Conn. App. 511, 520–22, 233 A.3d 1170 (2020) ; we conclude that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed.

252 A.3d 412

We adopt the trial court's comprehensive and well reasoned decision as providing a proper statement and analysis of the applicable law on the issues presented. See

203 Conn.App. 677

Luth v. OEM Controls, Inc ., Superior Court, judicial district of Ansonia Milford, Docket No. CV-17-6025657-S (December 6, 2019) (reprinted at 203 Conn. App. 673, 252 A.3d 406 ). It would serve no useful purpose for us to repeat the thorough discussion contained therein. See, e.g., State v. Sebben , 201 Conn. App. 376, 380, 243 A.3d 365 (2020) ; Gawlik v. Semple , 197 Conn. App. 83, 86, 231 A.3d 326, cert. denied, 335 Conn. 953, 238 A.3d 730 (2020), cert. denied, ––– U.S. ––––, 141 S. Ct. 1713, 209 L. Ed. 2d 479 (2021) ; Samakaab v. Dept. of Social Services , 178 Conn. App. 52, 54, 173 A.3d 1004 (2017) ; Hayes v. Yale-New Haven Hospital , 82 Conn. App. 58, 60, 842 A.2d 616 (2004).

The judgment is affirmed.



Superior Court, Judicial District of Ansonia-Milford

File No. CV-17-6025657-S

Memorandum filed December 6, 2019


Memorandum of decision on defendant's motion for summary judgment. Motion granted.

James V. Sabatini , for the plaintiff.

Jody N. Cappello and Sidd Sinha , for the defendant.




The plaintiff, Diane Luth, filed a two count revised complaint against the defendant, OEM Controls, Inc., on

203 Conn.App. 678

December 3, 2018, alleging gender discrimination and retaliation. The complaint alleges the following facts. The defendant hired the plaintiff in January of 1996 as a sales administrator. Throughout the plaintiff's employment, she held different titles. Her most recent position was implementation manager in the data delivery department where she made $88,000 to $92,000 annually. The plaintiff is the only female in her job position. The defendant allegedly hired Mick Lauer in October, 2015, to perform the same or substantially similar job duties as the plaintiff. The defendant allegedly pays Lauer $170,000 annually in compensation. Lauer was not the plaintiff's manager, nor was he in charge of the data delivery team. The defendant also employs Jay Monahan. Monahan shares some of the same job functions as the plaintiff, and he allegedly is paid more than the plaintiff.

When the plaintiff found out about the difference in pay, she expressed her concerns to the defendant. The defendant stated that it was going to look at all the salaries of individuals on the data delivery team. The plaintiff asked about her salary again a few months later, and she was told to not take it personally and that it was not her concern. On October 6, 2016, the plaintiff's employment with the defendant was terminated.

The first count of the plaintiff's complaint alleges gender discrimination. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant discriminated against her because of her gender by paying her unequally and by constructively discharging her. In the second count, the plaintiff's complaint alleges that

252 A.3d 413

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4 cases
  • Trejo v. Yale New Haven Hosp., AC 45207
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • April 18, 2023
    ...233 A.3d 1170 (2020); we conclude that the judgment of the trial court should be affirmed. See, e.g., Luth v. OEM Controls, Inc., 203 Conn.App. 673, 252 A.3d 406 (2021). Because the court's memorandum of decision aptly addresses the plaintiffs arguments, we adopt its thorough and well reaso......
  • Fiveash v. Conn. Conference of Municipalities, AC 44824
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 4, 2022
    ...OEM Controls, Inc. , Superior Court, judicial district of Ansonia-Milford, Docket No. CV-17-6025657-S (December 6, 2019) (reprinted at 203 Conn. App. 673, 686, 252 A.3d 406 ) (granting summary judgment in favor of defendant when "the defendant has provided a nondiscriminatory reason for the......
  • Boyd-Mullineaux v. Mullineaux, AC 43509
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • April 6, 2021
    ...distributions received by the defendant were not included in the clear and unambiguous definition of gross annual earned income from 203 Conn.App. 673 employment, as set forth in the parties’ separation agreement.The judgment is affirmed.In this opinion the other judges concurred.--------No......
  • Fiveash v. Conn. Conference of Muicipalities, AC 44824
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • October 4, 2022
    ...OEM Controls, Inc., Superior Court, judicial district of Ansonia-Milford, Docket No. CV-17-6025657-S (December 6, 2019) (reprinted at 203 Conn.App. 673, 686, 252 A.3d 412) (granting summary judgment in favor of defendant when "the defendant has provided a nondiscriminatory reason for the pl......

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