United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
DALE W. DOUTT, Plaintiff,
AIM NATIONALEASE, Defendant.
STEWART CERCONE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dale W. Doutt (“Doutt” or
“Plaintiff”) filed a four (4) count Second
Amended Complaint alleging two (2) counts of age
discrimination (unlawful termination and retaliation) in
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29
U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (the “ADEA”),
and two (2) counts age discrimination (unlawful termination
and retaliation) in violation of the Pennsylvania Human
Rights Act, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 925 et
seq. (the “PHRA”), against Defendant, AIM
Nationalease (“AIM” or “Defendant”).
Aim has filed a motion for summary judgment, Doutt has
responded and the motion is now before the Court.
Statement of the Case
December 24, 2013, at the age of sixty-two (62), Doutt was
hired by AIM as a Service Manager in its Virtual Maintenance
Department in Girard, Ohio. AIM Concise Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts (“AIM CSUMF”) ¶ 1.
Doutt previously worked for AIM in 1986 as a night shop
supervisor, but left after three (3) months taking a position
at Rosedale Technical Institute. AIM CSUMF fn. 1. At the time
of his hire in 2013, Doutt received a copy of AIM's
policy and procedures handbook and signed an acknowledgement
affirming that he read the handbook and that he agreed to
comply with the policies and procedures contained therein.
AIM CSUMF ¶ 2.
Virtual Maintenance Department facilitates preventative
maintenance and service for revenue producing vehicles and
fleets. To accomplish this goal, Service Managers communicate
directly with AIM customers and vendors to address vehicle
maintenance issues or to process vehicle service requests.
AIM CSUMF ¶ 7. The Virtual Maintenance Department is
divided into two separate Facilities or Branches and is
referred to as Facility/Branch 99 and 94. AIM CSUMF ¶ 8.
Facility/Branch 94 was created in December 2013/January 2014
to provide service to a new AIM customer, Matthews Caskett
Company, and Doutt was hired specifically to work as Service
Manager in Facility/Branch 94, when it was up and running.
Id. Doutt, however, was never offered the lead
supervisor position for Facility/Branch 94 or any other
as well as all other Service Managers in the Virtual
Maintenance Department, reported directly or indirectly to
Ken Singleton (“Singleton”). AIM CSUMF ¶ 9.
As a Service Manager, Doutt was responsible for: (1) ensuring
the effectiveness of all repair work on behalf of customers;
(2) reviewing preventative maintenance records to ensure
units are being serviced at proper intervals; (3)
coordinating the creation and preparation of repair orders
for all repair work scheduled; (4) confirming all work
performed is properly recorded on repair orders; and (5)
ensuring that all work orders clearly indicate the nature of
the work performed. AIM CSUMF ¶ 10.
Facility/Branch 94 was not up and running when he was hired
in December 2013, Doutt was assigned to work as a Service
Manager for Facility/Branch 99. AIM CSUMF ¶ 12. There,
Doutt worked under the direct supervision of lead supervising
Service Manager Ken Wells (“Wells”), the head or
for Facility/Branch 99. Id. In January of 2014,
Doutt approached Ken Wells about a January 22, 2014 internal
phone list that incorrectly listed his job title as
“Maintenance Assistant.” AIM CSUMF ¶ 13.
does not employ any individual as a Maintenance Assistant.
AIM CSUMF ¶ 17. Though AIM contends that all new Virtual
Maintenance Department hires are initially classified as
“Maintenance Assistants, ” Crystal Embry Wallace
(“Embry”), who was hired on January 14, 2014, was
listed in the January 22, 2014 internal phone list as
“Branch 94 Service Manager.” See AIM
CSUMF ¶ 16; Doutt Appendix, Patty Durkin Deposition
(“D. App. Durkin Dep.”) pp. 16, 36; Durkin Depo.
Ex. 1. When Doutt brought the internal phone list to
Durkin's attention, the phone list was promptly changed
to correct Doutt's job title to Service Manager. AIM
CSUMF ¶ 19.
about February 14, 2014, Doutt was transferred from
Facility/Branch 99 to Facility/Branch 94, the role for which
he was originally hired. AIM CSUMF ¶ 25. He served in
this capacity until his termination on October 22, 2014.
Id. To memorialize Doutt's transfer to
Facility/Branch 94, AIM issued a Change of Status Form on
February 14, 2014, stating: “Mr. Doutt is a [service]
manager in the virtual facility department. As such, he is a
member of the team and is responsible for all customers,
accounts and objectives for this department. Effective this
date, his primary focus shifted from facility 99 to facility
94 but is not limited to facility 94 activity. In addition to
the change in primary focus, his direct supervisor has
shifted from Ken Wells (99, 96, 95) to Chris
Embry (94).” AIM CSUMF ¶ 27. As
Service Managers functioning as head/lead supervisors of a
Facility/Branch, Embry and Wells attended supervisor
meetings, interacted with customers and had the authority to
authorize higher levels of repairs. AIM CSUMF ¶ 28.
contends that a disciplinary meeting involving Embry,
Singleton and Doutt, with regard to Doutt's performance,
was held on April 7, 2014. AIM CSUMF ¶ 29. Doutt admits
that he asked Embry, “[h]as anyone ever taken a job
that was promised to you?” AIM CSUMF ¶ 31. Doutt
also told Ken Singleton that he did not trust him.
Id. Doutt was very defensive in the meeting, and the
meeting was terminated due to Doutt's disruptive
behavior. Id. Embry prepared a summary of the
meeting, as well as “Notes to File” and an
“Action Plan” for Doutt to incorporate into his
performance. AIM CSUMF ¶¶ 30, 31 & 32. Doutt
contends that he was never presented with the Action Plan.
Doutt Response to Concise Statement of Undisputed Material
Facts (“Doutt Response”) ¶ 32.
same day, Doutt sent a correspondence to AIM's Vice
President of Human Resources, Patty Durkin
(“Durkin”), in which he stated:
I feel I have been subjected to discrimination and
humiliation and request that I be given an opportunity to
transfer to another department where my education, technical
training and hands on experience will be better appreciated
Deposition Ex. N. Doutt also complained that he had been
hired as a Service Manager, but he was identified as a
Maintenance Assistant, and that he had been unfairly
criticized by Embry and Singleton. Id. Durkin met
with Doutt on April 8, 2014, to discuss his complaint. AIM
CSUMF ¶ 35. Doutt reiterated the complaints in his
letter and informed Durkin that he was “hurt”
that he was not given the head/lead supervisor job for
Facility/Branch 94 because he believed he was more qualified
than Embry. AIM ...