United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER AND OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE
is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. #31. For
the following reasons, Defendants' motion is granted.
Domingo Flagg brings this employment retaliation lawsuit
against Maxi-Seal Harness Systems, Inc. and Peterson
Manufacturing Company. Maxi-Seal designs and manufactures
custom harness systems for vehicles. Doc. #32-2, at 2.
Peterson, which produces and markets vehicle safety lighting
systems, is Maxi-Seal's parent company. Doc. #15; Doc.
#32-1, at 2.
February 2018, Plaintiff applied for a position with
Maxi-Seal. Doc. #32-2, at 3; Doc. #32-4, at 15. After
interviewing Plaintiff, Maxi-Seal's human resources
manager, Erica Armacost, hired him. Doc. #32-2, at 2-3; Doc.
#32-4, at 32, 35. Before beginning his employment, Plaintiff
signed several Maxi-Seal documents, agreeing to not disclose
confidential information and acknowledging he received and
reviewed Maxi-Seal's policies. Doc. #32-2, at 3, 5-6,
11-13, 26-35; Doc. #32-4, at 16-19, 25-27, 36-37.
21, 2018, Plaintiff began working as an assembler. Doc.
#32-2, at 3; Doc. #32-3, at 2. Plaintiff, like all new
employees, was evaluated during the first three months of
employment. Doc. #32-2, at 6, 35; Doc. #32-4, at 26-28.
During the evaluation period, a new employee's supervisor
continually evaluates the employee's “performance
and compatibility with Maxi-Seal.” Id.
Plaintiff understood if his “performance did not meet
the standards set forth by Maxi-Seal, ” his employment
would be terminated. Id.
each month during the evaluation period, a new employee's
supervisor completes a performance evaluation. Doc. #32-2, at
6. On June 21, 2018, Plaintiff was evaluated by his immediate
supervisor, Scott Knight, a Maxi-Seal employee. Doc. #32-2,
at 2, 4-6; Doc. #32-4, at 35. Knight gave Plaintiff a
“3” rating for quantity of work, which appears to
indicate he was above expectations. Doc. #32-2, at 24. Knight
found Plaintiff met expectations (a “2” rating)
in all other areas: quality of work, knowledge of job,
relations with supervisor, cooperation with others,
attendance and reliability, initiative and creativity, and
capacity to develop. Id.
21, 2018, Knight again evaluated Plaintiff's performance.
Id. at 2-6, 24. Plaintiff's ratings in all but
two areas remained unchanged. Id. at 24. For
knowledge of job and cooperation with others, Knight gave
Plaintiff a “1” rating, meaning he was
“below expectations.” Id.
July 2018, Maxi-Seal received written complaints from three
individuals about Plaintiff “degrad[ing] the lead and
production supervisors, claiming they only do their jobs
half-way”; “insult[ing]” the
“character, integrity, and intelligence” of a
trainer; being insubordinate and disrespectful;
“boast[ing] he had paperwork in his portfolio that
Scott Knight hasn[']t seen”; being condescending;
telling a trainer “how and what” to do; saying
“special needs, slow people” were sent to work on
a certain piece of equipment; “[c]onstantly stat[ing]
he was smarter than…the trainer…and smarter
than most in the warehouse”; stating he has been
assured by Maxi-Seal's vice president and human resources
manager that he “cannot be fired”; and making
comments about “fat women” and “that they
stink.” Doc. #32-2, at 3-4, 15-17, 19-20, 22; Doc.
#32-3, at 2-5, 9-11, 13-14, 16. Maxi-Seal also received
several verbal complaints from employees about
Plaintiff's “unprofessional behavior and
communication.” Doc. #32-3, at 2.
who witnessed Plaintiff's “unprofessional and
disruptive behavior and communication, ” recommended
Plaintiff's employment be terminated. Doc. #32-2, at 2-3,
5; Doc. #32-3, at 5. “Based on the employee complaints
about Plaintiff, Knight's observations about
Plaintiff's performance, and Knight's recommendation,
” Jim Rush, a vice president of Maxi-Seal, decided to
terminate Plaintiff's employment. Doc. #32-2, at 5; Doc.
#32-3, at 2-5. On July 30, 2018, Plaintiff's employment
was terminated. Doc. #32-2, at 2; Doc. #32-3, at 2, 5-6; Doc.
#32-4, at 21.
2018, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit against Maxi-Seal and
Peterson. Plaintiff contends he was employed by Maxi-Seal and
“under the Authority of” Peterson or the two
companies are “one company.” Doc. #5, ¶ 2;
Doc. #32-4, at 42. He alleges Maxi-Seal and Peterson
retaliated against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act and section 287.780 of the Missouri Revised
Statutes when his employment was terminated on July 30, 2018.
Doc. #5, ¶¶ 1, 58-59; Doc. #32-4, at 20-22.
Maxi-Seal and Peterson move for summary judgment on all of
moving party is entitled to summary judgment on a claim only
if there is a showing that “there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled
to a judgment as a matter of law.” Williams v. City
of St. Louis, 783 F.2d 114, 115 (8th Cir. 1986).
“[W]hile the materiality determination rests on the
substantive law, it is the substantive law's
identification of which facts are critical and which facts
are irrelevant that governs.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Thus,
“[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Wierman v.
Casey's Gen. Stores, 638 F.3d 984, 993 (8th Cir.
2011) (quotation omitted). The Court must view the evidence
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, giving
that party the benefit of all inferences that may be
reasonably drawn from the evidence. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 588-89
(1986). “[A] nonmovant may not rest upon mere denials
or allegations, but must instead set forth specific facts
sufficient to raise a genuine issue for trial.”
Nationwide Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Faircloth,
845 F.3d 378, 382 (8th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted).
Summary Judgment Briefing
Plaintiff's Response to ...