United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
AMENDED ORDER 
Honorable Alfred H. Bennett, United States District Judge.
the Court is Defendant SAIA Motor Freight Line, LLC's
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #16), Plaintiffs Response
to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. #17),
and Defendant's Reply (Doc. #20). After reviewing
counsels' arguments and the applicable legal authority,
this Court grants Defendant's Motion for Summary
has voluntarily dismissed all claims except his Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") claim.
Accordingly, the Court will not consider Plaintiffs other
was born in September of 1951, meaning he was sixty-one years
old at the time of his termination. Plaintiff was first
employed by SAIA as a dock worker on or about October 21,
1976. In approximately 1980, after obtaining his commercial
driver's license ("CDL") he became a "city
driver" for Defendant. Plaintiff remained a city driver
until approximately 2009 when he was first assigned line haul
routes. During his time as a city driver, Plaintiff was
involved in three separate accidents on: January 19, 2006,
March 28, 2006, and October 7, 2008. Sam Lynch, Regional
Sales Manager for the Houston, Texas Regions, conducted the
internal investigation on behalf of Defendant for each of
these accidents and determined that each incident was
about October 24, 2008, after Plaintiffs third
"preventable" accident, Plaintiff was issued a
"Performance Improvement Plan" (PIP), which was
signed by Dwayne Neff, Houston, Texas Terminal Manager. At
that time, Plaintiff was advised that if further improvement
in his driving was not shown, his employment could be
terminated. Plaintiff testified that he never felt Neff
discriminated against him.
afterwards, on November 10, 2008, Plaintiff was issued
another PIP for exceeding the speed limit in a construction
zone. In 2009, after Plaintiff became a line haul driver,
Plaintiff was again involved in another
"preventable" accident on October 29,
2011.While all of these accidents were
preventable, none were considered as serious by the company.
on November 1, 2012, Plaintiff was involved in his first
serious accident. Plaintiff claimed that another vehicle ran
in front of him on the highway and in the process of avoiding
a collision, he was forced to pull to the right off of the
road and onto the shoulder. He alleges that when he tried to
come back on the road, his trailer flipped over and became
disconnected from the lead tractor.
conducted an independent investigation and reached a result
that was at odds with Plaintiffs story. The accident
investigation was done by Sherman McCabe, Regional Sales
Manager for the Memphis, Tennessee Region. McCabe had never
met or had any dealings with Plaintiff before this
investigation. Plaintiff relayed his story about the accident
to McCabe. Nevertheless, McCabe reached the conclusion that
Plaintiff was not forced off the road, but rather, Plaintiff
had fallen asleep at the wheel.
investigation report was then reviewed by Tom Lillywhite,
Regional Human Resources Manager. Lillywhite was the HR
management representative responsible for making the
termination decision in November 2012. Lillywhite reviewed
Plaintiffs handling of the situation, including whether the
brakes had been properly applied during the accident.
accident, as opposed to Plaintiffs previous accident was
considered a "major accident" by SAIA. Pursuant to
SAIA policy, drivers involved in an accident classified as a
"major accident" could be immediately terminated.
At least 10 other drivers had also been terminated as a
result of major accidents, including drivers under the age of
at SAIA, any termination decision was ultimately made by a
representative of Defendant's Human Resources Department.
Based on the investigation of the accident, Lillywhite, the
Regional Human Resources Manager, gave Plaintiff the choice
of resigning or being fired. Plaintiff maintained he had done
nothing wrong and was subsequently fired by Lillywhite.
one week after Plaintiffs termination on November 28, 2012,
Plaintiff completed an Appeal Review Committee Request Form.
In the Form, Plaintiff alleged that "this accident
should not have caused me to be terminated. These local
supervisors Delbert Breyer and Sam Lynch hate me with a
passion." Plaintiff did not raise any concern that his
termination was based on his age.