Schallehn v. Central Trust and Sav. Bank

Decision Date17 February 1995
Docket NumberNo. C 93-4088.,C 93-4088.
Citation877 F. Supp. 1315
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of West Virginia
PartiesPatricia SCHALLEHN, Plaintiff, v. CENTRAL TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK and Steve Drennan, Defendants.

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

William Kevin Stoos of Klass, Hanks, Stoos, Stoik, Mugan & Villone, Sioux City, IA, for plaintiff.

Maurice B. Nieland and Michael W. Ellwanger of Rawlings, Nieland, Probasco, Killinger, Ellwanger, Jacobs & Mohrhauser, Sioux City, IA, for defendants.

AMENDED AND SUBSTITUTED ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

BENNETT, District Judge.

                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS
                  I.  INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND ..........................  1319
                 II.  STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ..................................  1321
                III.  FINDINGS OF FACT ................................................  1322
                     A.  Undisputed Facts .............................................  1322
                     B.  Disputed Facts ...............................................  1323
                 IV.  LEGAL ANALYSIS ..................................................  1324
                     A.  Defendants' Joint Motion For Summary Judgment ................  1324
                        1.  Genuine Issues Of Fact ....................................  1325
                        2.  Lack Of Legal Authority For Judgment On The State Law Claim  1328
                     B.  Drennan's Motion For Summary Judgment ........................  1328
                
1.  The Split In Authority On Individual Liability Under The ADEA  1329
                        2.  Plain Meaning And Congressional Intent ......................  1331
                        3.  Agency Principles ...........................................  1334
                            a.  Authorities For Application Of Agency Principles ........  1334
                            b.  Applicable Principles Of Agency Law .....................  1336
                            c.  The Analysis Of Individual Liability Under The ADEA .....  1337
                        4.  Individual Liability Of Drennan .............................  1338
                            a.  Agency ..................................................  1338
                            b.  Agent Of An Appropriate Employer ........................  1338
                            c.  Tortious Conduct By The Agent ...........................  1338
                  V.  CONCLUSION ........................................................  1339
                

Plaintiff, a former employee of a bank's insurance agency, brought this employment discrimination suit against the bank and the bank's vice president in charge of personnel decisions alleging that she was terminated in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and similar provisions of Iowa's Civil Rights Act, Iowa Code Ch. 216. The defendant bank vice president has moved for summary judgment on the ground that, as a co-employee or supervisory employee, he cannot be held individually liable under the ADEA. The bank and the bank vice president have also jointly moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the former employee cannot establish a prima facie case of age discrimination or any evidence of discriminatory intent.

I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Patricia A. Schallehn filed this lawsuit following her termination on January 7, 1993, from her employment as the secretary for an insurance agency within a bank located in Cherokee, Iowa. Schallehn, who had been absent from her employment for some time recuperating from an automobile accident, had informed her employer that she was ready to return to work. However, her immediate supervisor, the insurance agent for the bank's insurance agency, told Schallehn that the bank had no positions available for her. Schallehn's former position had been filled by someone else during the period of Schallehn's recuperation.

Following exhaustion of EEOC and Iowa Civil Rights Commission procedures, Schallehn filed this lawsuit on October 5, 1993. Schallehn named as defendants the Central Trust and Savings Bank (Bank), which was her employer, and Steve Drennan, the Bank's vice president, whom Schallehn identified as the representative of the Bank who initiated the plan and made the decision to terminate her, and who directed Schallehn's direct superior, insurance agent Dan Hickman, to fire her.

Count I of Schallehn's complaint alleges that, at the time she was terminated, Schallehn was 58 years old, and that her termination constituted age discrimination in violation of provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 623. The complaint asserts that Schallehn's termination was despite the fact that during the period of her recuperation she had repeatedly been assured that her position would be kept open for her. The complaint alleges further that Drennan, who was 40 years old at the time, nonetheless decided to terminate Schallehn because he preferred to employ younger people, including the person who had filled Schallehn's position during her recuperation, who was believed to be 42 years old at the time. Count II of the complaint asserts that the same age discriminatory conduct alleged in Count I also violates Iowa Code § 216.6 and that the court may entertain this claim under its pendant jurisdiction.

Defendants answered the complaint on October 25, 1993. The parties filed a scheduling report on November 30, 1993, following which Chief Magistrate Judge John A. Jarvey entered a scheduling order on December 14, 1993. The scheduling order, inter alia, established a deadline for dispositive motions of October 1, 1994.1 However, on December 8, 1994, during a telephonic scheduling conference, Magistrate Judge Paul Deck, Jr., orally granted an oral request for an extension of the dispositive motion deadline to December 30, 1994.

On September 30, 1994, on the eve of the original dispositive motion deadline, defendant Drennan moved for summary judgment, initially on both counts of the complaint. Drennan asserted in his motion that, as a co-employee of the plaintiff, he could not be held individually liable for age discrimination. On October 5, 1994, the court requested that Drennan supplement his motion for summary judgment on the question of the liability under the ADEA of a supervisory employee. On October 14, 1994, before Drennan supplemented his motion for summary judgment, Schallehn filed her resistance. Drennan filed the requested supplementation on October 19, 1994, and in it states that "Defendant Steve Drennan's Motion for Summary Judgment is directed only toward Count I of the Complaint." Defendant Drennan's Brief Statement Of Authorities In Support Of Motion For Summary Judgment, p. 1. The court will therefore consider this motion as a motion for partial summary judgment as to Count I only.

On December 14, 1994, finding that neither party had requested oral arguments on Drennan's motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to the court's local rules,2 the court entered an order requiring any party desiring oral arguments to notify the court of that desire by written motion not later than December 21, 1994. Neither party requested oral argument.3

On December 28, 1994, on the eve of the extended deadline for dispositive motions, both defendants jointly moved for summary judgment on both counts of Schallehn's complaint. This motion for summary judgment asserted that there was no genuine issue of material fact which, even if decided favorably to the plaintiff, would "(1) generate a prima facie case, or (2) meet the Plaintiff's burden of proof to establish discriminatory intent." Defendants' December 28, 1994, Motion For Summary Judgment, p. 1. Schallehn resisted this motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the motion was "belated and untimely," Plaintiff's Supplemental Resistance To The Motions For Summary Judgment, p. 1, and that there were indeed genuine issues of material fact and legal issues precluding summary judgment in favor of defendants.4 Neither party requested oral argument on this second motion for summary judgment either. On January 11, 1995, this court set a jury trial in this matter for three days during the two-week period beginning March 13, 1995, at 9:00 a.m.

The imminent trial date for this matter makes prompt resolution of the motions for summary judgment critical. The parties appear to agree that the court should resolve these motions on the basis of the written submissions, and the court will therefore proceed on that basis.

II. STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recognizes "that summary judgment is a drastic remedy and must be exercised with extreme care to prevent taking genuine issues of fact away from juries." Wabun-Inini v. Sessions, 900 F.2d 1234, 1238 (8th Cir.1990). On the other hand, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have authorized for nearly 60 years "motions for summary judgment upon proper showings of the lack of a genuine, triable issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2555, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Thus, "summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed `to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'" Wabun-Inini, 900 F.2d at 1238 (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2555, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)); Hartnagel v. Norman, 953 F.2d 394, 396 (8th Cir. 1992).

The standard for granting summary judgment is well established. Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states in pertinent part:

Rule 56. Summary Judgment
(b) For Defending Party. A party against whom a claim ... is asserted ... may, at any time, move for summary judgment in the party's favor as to all or any part thereof.
(c) Motions and Proceedings Thereon.... The judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that
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    ...to motions for summary judgment in a variety of employment discrimination cases, with varying results. See Schallehn v. Central Trust and Sav. Bank, 877 F.Supp. 1315 (N.D.Iowa 1995) (finding that genuine issues of material fact precluding summary judgment on an employee's ADEA claim); Naylo......
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    ...precise proposition at issue here. One case expressly recognizes it is taking the minority view. See Schallehn v. Central Trust and Sav. Bank, 877 F. Supp. 1315, 1331 (N.D. Iowa 1995). These authorities are no more or less persuasive than those cited by the district court. All that Purvis h......
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