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Fabian v. St. Louis Rams Partnership

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

January 21, 2014

LORY FABIAN, Plaintiff,
v.
THE ST. LOUIS RAMS PARTNERSHIP, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN A. ROSS, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 47) The motion is fully briefed and ready for disposition. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part.

As a threshold matter, Defendants move to strike Plaintiff's Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts on the grounds that Local Rule 7-4.01 does not permit such a filing. (Doc. No. 63) Defendants contend Plaintiff is required to submit a statement of material facts as to which she contends a genuine issue exists and yet she has filed a statement of facts as to which she contends a genuine issue does not exist.

Motions to strike are not favored and infrequently granted, because they propose a drastic remedy. Stanbury Law Firm, P.A. v. Internal Revenue Service, 221 F.3d 1059, 1063 (8th Cir. 2000). Nonetheless, resolution of such a motion lies within the broad discretion of the Court. Id . Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(f) authorizes a court to strike from a pleading any "redundant, immaterial, impertinent, or scandalous matter." A "pleading" as defined in Fed.R.Civ.P. 7(a) does not include statements of fact submitted in support of, or in opposition to, a motion for summary judgment. Thus, there is no specific authority in the Federal Rules for striking a party's statement of uncontroverted facts. See Nelson v. Special Administrative Bd. of St. Louis Public Schools, 2012 WL 5508394, at *1-2 (E.D. Mo. Nov. 14, 2012) (citing United States v. Hawley, 812 F.Supp.2d 949, 962 n. 2 (N.D.Iowa 2011) (denying a motion to strike a statement of material facts offered in opposition to a motion for summary judgment)).

The Local Rules of this District do, however, permit the striking of filings which fail to comply with their requirements. Id . Local Rule 7-4.01(E) provides with respect to summary judgment motions:

A memorandum in support of a motion for summary judgment shall have attached a statement of uncontroverted material facts, set forth in a separately numbered paragraph for each fact, indicating whether each fact is established by the record, and, if so, the appropriate citations. Every memorandum in opposition shall include a statement of material facts as to which the party contends a genuine dispute exists. Those matters in dispute shall be set forth with specific references to portions of the record, where available, upon which the opposing party relies. The opposing party also shall note for all disputed facts the paragraph number from movant's listing of facts...

E.D. Mo. L.R. 4.01(E). The Court finds nothing in the Rule to prohibit Plaintiff from submitting the statement of facts that she did. The Court determines that Plaintiff was attempting to demonstrate her belief that there are genuine issues of material fact for trial. See Shepard v. Courtoise, 115 F.Supp.2d 1142, 1145 (E.D. Mo. 2000). Defendants' motion to strike will be denied. The Court will examine the entire record, including Plaintiff's statement of uncontroverted facts and any properly supported factual contentions in opposition, to determine whether there are genuine disputes regarding material facts precluding the entry of summary judgment.

Background

Plaintiff Lory Fabian was employed by Defendant St. Louis Rams Partnership ("the Rams") from 1995 to 2011. She held several jobs during her tenure with the Rams, including Coaching Secretary, Executive Assistant to Public Relations Director, and Alumni Relations Coordinator. Plaintiff alleges she is one of several Rams employees over the age of forty (40) who were either fired, laid off, forced to retire, or terminated between 2008 and 2011 and replaced by younger employees. (Compl., ¶ 18)

According to Plaintiff, after Rams owner Georgia Frontiere died in 2008, the Rams started to push out its older employees. Rams' management often described "changing the culture" of the organization by bringing in "young inexpensive grinders" who could handle the long hours of NFL employment, and commented that they would "like to get rid of all the middle aged women" working for the organization.

Concerned she would lose her job, Plaintiff met with Rams President John Shaw in April 2008. Following that meeting, Shaw arranged to provide Plaintiff with an employment agreement to protect her job until she reached age 55 on June 14, 2011. The agreement provided for a term of employment from January 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, thereby ensuring that Plaintiff would qualify for the NFL JC-1 benefit guaranteeing her health insurance through the Rams until age 65. (Doc. No. 48-3) It is undisputed that Plaintiff was told this agreement was her severance. (Deposition of Lory Fabian ("Fabian Depo."), Doc. No. 48-2, 113:20-23)

On or about April 2009, Plaintiff was moved out of Public Relations/Media and into the newly created position of Alumni Coordinator. Her responsibilities included, but were not limited to, coordinating the Rams' relationships with alumni, setting up personal events with Rams' alumni, and managing all other alumni related activities or tasks. Plaintiff reported to Rams Vice President of Corporate Communication, Molly Higgins and Rams Executive Vice President, Kevin Demoff. Plaintiff characterizes this move as setting her up for failure. She was not given a budget or cell phone allowance, and did not have an office in which to meet with Rams alumni. Plaintiff claims she was intentionally excluded from staff meetings and from Rams events and activities - all in an effort to systematically shut her out and force her to quit her job. (Compl., ¶ 26) Plaintiff alleges Kevin Demoff told her that "no one in the building liked her" and that she was "too old for her job." (Compl., ¶ 25) In September 2010, some of her job duties and responsibilities were reassigned to Kyle Eversgard, age 24.

In addition, Plaintiff claims she was subjected to sexual harassment and discrimination by Bob Reif, Rams Executive Vice President/Marketing and Sales/Chief Marketing Officer.[1] Plaintiff alleges Reif made inappropriate comments and jokes and touched her in an unwelcome and intimidating manner by massaging her shoulders, pressing the front of his body up against her backside, and putting his arms around her. (Compl., ¶¶ 38-42) Plaintiff reported Reif's conduct to Rams management; however, no corrective action was taken. (Compl., ¶ 46) She points out the Rams did not have a Human Resources Department to address such complaints.

On May 20, 2011, Demoff informed Plaintiff that her employment agreement would not be renewed, and that her services were no longer required. He informed Plaintiff that the Alumni Program was not working and that the position of Alumni Coordinator was going to be eliminated. (Deposition of Kevin Demoff ("Demoff Depo."), Doc. 60-1, 85:3-16) Plaintiff was paid her salary and other benefits as a Rams employee through June 30, 2011, and did in fact qualify for the NFL JC-1 health insurance benefit.

On or about July 15, 2011, Plaintiff filed a dual charge of discrimination with the Missouri Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC). On or about March 22, 2012, Plaintiff was mailed her right-to-sue notice pursuant to Title VII. On June 20, 2012, she filed this action alleging age discrimination in violation of the ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 263(A)(1) & (2) (Count I), sexual discrimination, harassment and hostile work environment (Count II) and ...


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