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McGinnis v. Soo Line Railroad Co.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 3, 2014

William McGinnis, Plaintiff,
v.
Soo Line Railroad Company, doing business as Canadian Pacific, Defendant.

Scott Moriarity, Esq. and Lockridge, Grindal, Nauen, PLLP, counsel for plaintiff.

Tracey Holmes Donesky, Esq. and Stinson, Leonard, Street, LLP, counsel for defendant.

ORDER

DAVID S. DOTY, District Judge.

This matter is before the court upon the motion for summary judgment by defendant Soo Line Railroad Company, doing business as Canadian Pacific (Canadian Pacific). Based on a review of the file, record and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court grants the motion.

BACKGROUND

This employment dispute arises out of the March 14, 2011, termination of plaintiff William McGinnis by Canadian Pacific. McGinnis was a conductor trainee with Canadian Pacific and was fifty-seven years old at the time of his termination. Thomson Decl. Ex. U.

McGinnis began his employment with Canadian Pacific on January 3, 2011. Am. Compl. ΒΆ 12. Canadian Pacific requires conductor trainees to undergo a training program, including both classroom training and eight weeks of on-the-job training (OJT). Thomson Decl. Ex. H, at MCG000080-81. After finishing classroom training, McGinnis and five other trainees transferred to the Enderlin, North Dakota railyard for OJT. Id . at MCG000078; id. Ex. U.

During OJT, trainees are monitored by conductor coaches who assess trainees' performance in field placement evaluations (conductor coach evaluations). Id . Ex. I, at CP000583. Additionally, twice during OJT, conductor trainees undergo pass/fail "field placement supervisor student conductor evaluations" (FPS evaluations) administered by Field Placement Supervisors. Id . at CP000588; Lulay Dep. 54:8-25. If a trainee passes the first FPS evaluation, he is eligible to take the final qualification FPS evaluation, which determines whether he was eligible to begin work as a full-time conductor. Lulay Dep. 118:7-13, 119:8-11. If a trainee fails the first FPS evaluation, however, he is given the chance to retake the first evaluation. Thomson Decl. Ex. J, at CP001647.

Thomas Lulay was McGinnis's Field Placement Supervisor at Enderlin. Lulay Dep. 116:23-117:3. On February 22, 2011, McGinnis had his first FPS evaluation. Thomson Decl. Ex. O. McGinnis failed the evaluation, registering "unsatisfactory" scores in six of twenty-six categories. See id. After the evaluation, Lulay told McGinnis, "For a man of your age and experience, I expected more." McGinnis Dep. 303:6-7

McGinnis had his second FPS evaluation on March 14, 2011. Thomson Decl. Ex. P. During the second FPS evaluation, Lulay remarked, "For a man who's not supposed to be too old to do this job, you sure do forget a lot." McGinnis Dep. 266:13-15. McGinnis failed the second FPS evaluation, registering "unsatisfactory" scores in seven categories. Thomson Decl. Ex. P. That same day, Lulay terminated McGinnis. Lulay Dep. 100:13-101:11.

On March 29, 2012, McGinnis filed this action, alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)[1]. Canadian Pacific moves for summary judgment.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

"The court 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); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine if the ...


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