United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
PHYLLIS J. MOORE, Plaintiff,
MACY'S RETAIL HOLDINGS, INC. and JASON UKANDU, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. GODBEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Memorandum Opinion and Order addresses Defendant Macy's
Retail Holdings, Inc. (“Macy's”) motion for
summary judgment . Plaintiff Phyllis J. Moore has failed
to establish that Macy's reason for her termination is
mere pretext. Accordingly, the Court grants Macy's
Origins of the Dispute
Moore worked for Macy's since 1999. In 2017, at the age
of 68, Moore was working in the Women's Fragrances
department. Her supervisor was Jason Ukandu. During a workday
in October 2017, Moore was of the opinion that Ukandu's
pants were hanging too low. Moore approached Ukandu. After a
brief conversation, Ukandu claims Moore smacked him on the
behind and walked away with a smile.
reported the incident to Margie Pena in Human Resources. Pena
discussed the incident with Moore, and then informed her that
she would be suspended while Human Resources investigated the
incident. Based on Pena's investigation, Macy's
terminated Moore for inappropriate conduct on November 8,
first appealed the decision using Macy's internal dispute
resolution process. Moore noted that she disputed the facts
of the allegation and believed she was terminated because of
her age. After a second investigation conducted by Jennifer
Van Ness, Macy's upheld its original decision to
terminate Moore for inappropriate conduct.
2018, Moore filed suit in this Court. She raised three
claims: (1) an Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”) violation against Macy's, (2)
defamation against Ukandu, and (3) conspiracy against both
Macy's and Ukandu. The Court dismissed Moore's
conspiracy claim with prejudice by previous Order .
Macy's now moves for summary judgment on Moore's ADEA
Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
“shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986). In making this determination,
courts must view all evidence and draw all reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing
the motion. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S.
654, 655 (1962). The moving party bears the initial burden of
informing the court of the basis for its belief that there is
no genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the movant has
made the required showing, the burden shifts to the nonmovant
to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact
such that a reasonable jury might return a verdict in its
favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). Factual
controversies are resolved in favor of the nonmoving party
“‘only when an actual controversy exists, that
is, when both parties have submitted evidence of
contradictory facts.'” Olabisiomotosho v. City
of Houston, 185 F.3d 521, 525 (5th Cir. 1999) (quoting
McCallum Highlands, Ltd. v. Washington Capital Dus,
Inc., 66 F.3d 89, 92 (5th Cir. 1995)).
The Court Grants Summary Judgment For Macy's
Legal Standard under the ADEA
claims involving discrimination should be evaluated using the
burden shifting framework articulated in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Squyres
v. Heico Cos., LLC, 782 F.3d 224, 231 (5th Cir. 2015).
Moore must first make out a prima facie case of
discrimination by showing: (1) she was discharged, (2) she
was qualified for the position, (3) she was within the
protected class at the time of termination, and (4) was
either replaced by someone outside the protected class,
someone younger, or was otherwise terminated because of her
age. Jackson v. Cal-Western Packaging Corp., 602
F.3d 374, 378 (5th Cir. 2010). Macy's assumes that Moore
can make out a prima facie case. Br. in Supp. of Def.
Macy's Retail Holdings, Inc.'s Mot. for Summ. J., 8
the burden shifts to Macy's to articulate a legitimate,
non-discriminatory reason for Moore's termination.
McDonnell Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 802. It is
undisputed that it has. Macy's states that it fired Moore
because she engaged in misconduct when she deliberately and
inappropriately touched Ukandu. Mot. at 8. While Moore
disagrees with Macy's decision, she does not dispute that
this was the reason proffered for her termination. Finally,
under the McDonnell Douglas Corp. framework, the
burden then shifts back to Moore to show that Macy's
reason was mere pretext for discrimination. McDonnell
Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 804.
Moore Does Not Raise a Fact Issue ...