United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
RICHARD L. YOUNG, UNITED STATE DISTRICT COURT
Guthrie Michael Nance, is a former employee of Defendant, Ira
E. Clark Detective Agency, Inc. (“Clark
Security”). He alleges his termination was the product
of age discrimination, in violation of the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and
disability discrimination, in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.,
as amended by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008
(“ADAAA”). He further alleges Defendant
interfered with his right to take medical leave under the
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Defendant now
moves for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below,
the motion is GRANTED.
\ I. Background
\ Clark Security provides security guards and services for
clients in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
(Filing No. 29-21, Deposition of Guthrie Michael Nance
(“Plaintiff Dep.”) at 53-54). Between June 2012
and January 2013, the company's management consisted of
Richard Curby, the sole owner and President; Christy Brake,
Corporate Office Manager; and Jeff Arntz, Director of
Security. (Filing No. 29-22, Deposition of Richard Curby
(“Curby Dep.”) at 9). Plaintiff and Mike Minton
were managers who reported to Arntz, and Lesa Osborne served
as Director of Human Resources. (Id. at 9-10).
Clark Security employees are over 40 years old. (Id.
at 6). Curby was 79; Arntz was 53; Osborn was 61; Plaintiff
was 59; Minton was 66; and Brake was 40. (Id. at 4;
Plaintiff Dep. at 49; Filing No. 29-23, Deposition of Jeff
Arntz (“Arntz Dep.”) at 7; Filing No. 29-2,
Affidavit of Mike Minton, Ex. 2; Filing No. 29-24, Deposition
of Lesa Osborne (“Osborne Dep.”) at 4; Filing No.
29-25, Deposition of Christy Brake (“Brake Dep.”)
Dep. at 4).
began his employment at Clark Security as a security officer
in October 2002. (Plaintiff Dep. at 54-55). His resume
included “over 25 years of law enforcement experience,
over 35 years of firefighter experience, 7 years of EMS, and
4 years general security as supervision [sic].” (Filing
No. 29-3, Plaintiff's Resume).
2008, Curby promoted Plaintiff to Field Operations Manager, a
salaried position. (Plaintiff Dep. at 75-76). In that role,
he and Minton helped supervise and train security officers,
traveled to sites to perform inspections, and ensured each
site had the necessary supplies and paperwork. (Filing No.
29-4, Plaintiff's Job Description; Arntz Dep. at 43-44).
Nance and Minton were “the link of communication”
between the company's employees in the field and the
corporate office. (Plaintiff Dep. at 240-45).
attended management meetings on Friday mornings at Clark
Security's headquarters in Evansville, Indiana, but
otherwise traveled from his home office in Beaver Dam,
Kentucky to security sites in Kentucky, Tennessee, and
Illinois. (Id. at 112; Arntz Dep. at 36). Minton
operated out of Clark Security's Evansville office and
worked during the day. (Arntz Dep. at 43-44).
approximately May 2012, Plaintiff served as interim Director
of Security following the termination of the previous
director, Thomas Ruck. (Plaintiff Dep. at 91). Plaintiff did
not want the position permanently because he “like[d]
being out and moving around and doing what needed to be done
out here at these different locations, different
Jeff Arntz, Director of Security
2012, Curby hired Arntz to replace Ruck as Director of
Security. (Id. at 90; Curby Dep. at 21). Plaintiff
described the company as being in a “stalemate”
when Arntz was hired because it “wasn't gaining any
new employment, wasn't gaining any new job sites.”
(Plaintiff Dep. at 116). To break this stalemate, Arntz began
visiting and assessing every client site and working with
Plaintiff and Minton on an “idea sheet” of 39
possible improvements for the company. (Arntz Dep. at 38-39).
Arntz's ideas included, but were not limited to,
publication of a company newsletter, instituting a safety
reward program, and improving communication between sites and
company management, especially regarding personnel matters.
(Id. at 125; Curby Dep. at 23, 25). Osborne
[Arntz] spent about a month observing how we did things. We
had a major meeting early in July. He did a Powerpoint
presentation. Had handouts of how we were going to do this.
It was very exciting. I can't tell you details at [this]
point. Asked us all to buy in, and if we could not buy in, to
let him know now because we were going to have to - he would
have to address that as well. And he was - it was pretty
exciting. Recognition for employees in it. Advancement
opportunities for our uniformed officers. He was developing a
training team of out of [on-site supervisors] that had had
successful posts. There was quite a bit of excitement from
not just those of us in the corporate office . . . .
(Osborne Dep. at 49-50).
the management team supported Arntz's ideas. (Curby Dep.
at 23, 25; Brake Dep. at 27-28; Osborne Dep. at 50 (“Q:
So everybody was on board with this? A: I can't say
everybody was. The people I spoke to were.”)).
Plaintiff was not as supportive. With respect to the 39-topic
idea sheet, Arntz testified:
At that point [Plaintiff's] [sheet] just about had 39
negative comments on that form. Everything that we were going
to try to do he didn't believe could be done, and at that
point I counseled [Plaintiff] several times verbally. We had
discussions and he just never wanted to seem to go in the
direction that the president wanted the company to go.
Dep. at 39; see also Plaintiff Dep. at 115
(“[W]hen [Arntz] brought some of these things up . . .
I told him, I said, look, man. This has already been tried.
But I said, let me print off what I said and where I
presented it and how I presented it so that you can have an
idea of where I went.”)). Plaintiff thought Arntz was
“green behind the ears. He didn't know what it was
to be running a security agency. . . . But he's in
charge. It's his decisions.” (Plaintiff Dep. at
mid-November 2012, Curby asked Plaintiff to assist Arntz in
reaching his goals. (Id. at 124, 234). Plaintiff
described the conversation as follows:
[Curby] said that Arntz needs some help, and he's been
complaining that he has not been getting enough help out of
you. He said, would you just please try to help him and help
him along in any way you can. My response was that, boss, I
am doing everything I can for him, but I can't reinvent
(Id. at 124).
Plaintiff's Back Injuries
injured his back while working from home on September 24,
2012, and injured it again when he slipped and fell at a
client site on October 19, 2012. (Id. at 184; Filing
No. 29-12, Dec. 14 Memo). In October 2012, Plaintiff told
Osborne and Brake about his back injury in Brake's
office. (Plaintiff Dep. at 184). He also apparently told
others in the office. (Id. at 125). Plaintiff
described his injury at that point in time as “a joking
matter.” (Id.). He testified: “We had
actually laughed about it and some of them even laughed and
said, you know, we're going to have to get you a
cane.” (Id.; see also Id. at 184
(“We were just laughing about it and, you know, talking
Arntz's Alleged Discriminatory Comments
around the October 2012 time frame, Arntz told Plaintiff he
was “too old to be out here trying to run up and down
the road and do these other things and run all these security
sites. You can't keep up with the pace that I expect . .
. .” (Id. at 126; see also Id. at
113-14). Arntz also told Plaintiff that Minton “was too
old to be doing the type of job that he expected him to be
doing.” (Id. at 24-25). Plaintiff never
informed Curby nor Osborne about Arntz's
“ageist” comments. (Id. at 25, 26, 125,