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TENTHOFF v. MCGRAW-HILL

April 7, 1992

EDWARD J. TENTHOFF, Plaintiff,
v.
MCGRAW-HILL, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LOWELL A. REED, JR.

MEMORANDUM

 Plaintiff Edward J. Tenthoff brings this action against defendant McGraw-Hill, Inc. claiming that defendant terminated him because of his age and/or sex in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.. *fn1"

 Before me is the motion of defendant McGraw-Hill for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. For the reasons outlined below the motion will be granted.

 I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 The material facts of this case are not in dispute. Plaintiff, a forty-eight year old male, born June 2, 1942, was employed by Datapro Research Corp. ("Datapro"), a subsidiary of defendant. Datapro provides comprehensive profiles and specifications of data processing systems, micro computers, hardware and software, voice and data communications, office automation and industry automation. Subscribers to Datapro use the information for competitive analysis, product planning, system design, product procurement and personal education.

 In 1986, plaintiff was placed in charge of developing two new electronic systems within Datapro in order to bring Datapro technologically up to date. The two systems were an automated subscription fulfillment system and a telemarketing system. By 1989 neither project was completed. Defendant admits that plaintiff was not entirely responsible for the failure to complete the installation of the systems.

 In 1989, Datapro hired Perot Systems, an outside consultant to review the technological developments at Datapro. Perot Systems reported that the subscription fulfillment system should be abandoned and that although the telemarketing system could be saved, it would require significant additional resources. Perot Systems concluded that the problems associated with the telemarketing system were, in part, a result of poor management.

 As a result of the report, Bruce Hollows, President of Datapro, since 1988, created a higher level position to take over technological development and implementation. The new Vice President of Technology would handle all technological projects updating Datapro.

 Hollows did not believe plaintiff was qualified for the new position based on plaintiff's performance on the two systems he managed. Hollows thought that plaintiff displayed a lack of initiative and a lack of management capabilities. Although he thought plaintiff would work well under supervision, the vice president position would not be supervised. Hollows informed plaintiff of his decision and, after considering several candidates, hired Susan Buchanan, a thirty-six year old female, for the position of Vice President of Technology, at a salary $ 30,000.00 higher than plaintiff was paid.

 Buchanan completed the outstanding technological projects as well as other substantial projects, demonstrating initiative and high level management abilities, and received the highest rating in each of her evaluations.

 Plaintiff brought this action against defendant claiming that by hiring Buchanan and terminating plaintiff, defendant discriminated against him based on age and/or sex. Plaintiff states that all of his evaluations showed that he was a good employee, that defendant never informed him that it was unhappy with his work, that he was qualified for the Vice President position, and that he overheard or participated in two discussions in which management personnel made negative comments about employees relating to their age. *fn2"

 With respect to the first conversation, plaintiff recalled that James Murray, President of Datapro, made a statement about the work performance of an employee at Datapro, and that comment related to the employee's age. Plaintiff was unable to recall the specific language used by Murray but did recall Hollows responding that the company could not "get rid of Bill just because of his age" and that they would "have to find some other grounds for dismissal." Deposition of Edward J. Tenthoff II [hereinafter Tenthoff Dep. II] at 119.


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