United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the court on a motion for summary judgment
filed by the defendant, Ball M Beverage Container Corp.
(“Ball”), on November 16, 2016. The plaintiff,
Jerry Morgan (“Morgan”), filed his response on
January 9, 2017, to which Ball responded on February 2, 2017.
following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be
judgment must be granted when “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). A
genuine issue of material fact exists when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every
dispute between the parties precludes summary judgment,
however, since “[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law”
warrant a trial. Id. To determine whether a genuine
issue of material fact exists, the court must construe all
facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and
draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.
Heft v. Moore, 351 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003). A
party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion
may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own
pleading, but rather must “marshal and present the
court with the evidence she contends will prove her
case.” Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc.,
621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010).
has sued his employer, Ball, alleging violations of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the
Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), and the Age
Discriminaiton in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Morgan
alleges discrimination and retaliation.
manufactures aluminum beverage cans and bottles at its
Monticello, Indiana plant. (Declaration of Paula Thoennes
(“Thoennes Decl.”) ¶4). Morgan, who was born
in 1954, worked for Ball and its predecessor companies from
September 1991 until his resignation in October 2002.
(Thoennes Decl. ¶9; Morgan Dep. 11:8-9). On or around
May 5, 2007, Ball rehired Morgan as a Maintenance Supervisor
at the Monticello plant. (Thoennes Decl. ¶9; Morgan Dep.
41:20-22, 96:2-16); Dkt. 1, ¶14). As a Maintenance
Supervisor, Morgan supervised approximately fourteen
employees and managed the maintenance function at the
Monticello plant. (Thoennes Decl. ¶7). From May 5, 2007
until his termination on November 25, 2014, Morgan reported
to Freddy Spencer, Engineering Manager, who was born in1956.
(Morgan Dep. 41:25-42:2, 68:3-15; Declaration of Freddy
Spencer (“Spencer Decl.”) ¶¶2, 4, 5;
Dkt. 1, ¶¶ 14, 28). Morgan received Ball's
Hourly Employee Handbook by at least January 4, 2011. (Morgan
Dep. 131:23-132:12, Ex. 8).
around April 2010, Chris Czajkowski, who was born in 1968,
became the Monticello Plant Manager. (Declaration of Chris
Czajkowski (“Czajkowski Decl.”) ¶¶2-3).
Czajkowski implemented heightened standards for employee
performance across all levels. (Czajkowski Decl. ¶4).
Ball communicated to all employees that they would be held to
higher performance expectations moving forward.
(Id.). Morgan believed Czajkowski “came in . .
. getting rid of everybody.” (Morgan Dep. 61:21-25).
received several performance-related disciplinary warnings
between 2010 and 2014. (Morgan Dep. 42:18-24). On July 2,
2010, Morgan received a performance memorandum addressing his
poor leadership skills and work performance. (Morgan Dep.
138:5-19, 2 Ex. 13; Thoennes Decl. ¶10, Ex. 13). The
warning cautioned Morgan to immediately improve his
performance in the following areas:
1. You must gain control of your associates and show your
leadership skills to gain the confidence from your
department. You must demonstrate to your associates that you
are trustworthy and honest.
2. You must have follow-up and follow-through techniques
making sure jobs are thoroughly and accurately completed.
3. You must be self-motivated. Your motivation reflects on
4. You must be focused on paying attention to details.
Failing to pay attention to details leads to unnecessary
downtime, missed deadlines, delays, etc.
5. You must plan & pre-plan for work. You must get out on
the floor and assess jobs, work with the production group to
minimize downtime, and take advantage to correct multiple
issues when downtime is available.
6. You must be professional in all you do and with all levels
in our organization. i.e. Provide answers instead of excuses,
no sarcastic remarks, etc. . .
Dep., Ex. 13). The memorandum noted “We explained a few
months ago that we were ‘raising the bar' for the
entire engineering department.” (Morgan Dep., Ex. 13).
his July 2, 2010, warning, on September 16, 2010, Morgan
received another disciplinary warning for a serious safety
violation. (Morgan Dep. 134:22-135:7, 137:23-138:4, Ex. 12).
The warning provided that Morgan had failed to follow crucial
safety procedures. (Morgan Dep., Ex. 12). Morgan received a
five day suspension, without pay, for the violation.
October 15, 2010, Morgan and Ball executed a Last Chance
Dep. 43:21-44:13, Ex. 4). The LCA provided
Jerry, please be advised that your performance as it relates
to Employee Relations is unacceptable. You have failed to
keep our work environment free from workplace harassment. You
have received training regarding your responsibilities as it
pertains to preventing and stopping harassment. . .
Regardless, you did not fulfill your responsibilities as a
member of management. . . .
As you are aware, you are an at-will employee and may be
terminated by the Company at any time, with or without cause.
By signing this agreement, you understand that the
Company's willingness to continue your employment is
dependent upon you fulfilling your EEO managerial
Dep., Ex. 4). Morgan and Czajkowski signed the LCA on October
15, 2010. (Morgan Dep., Ex. 4). Morgan does not believe the
LCA had anything to do with his age or medical condition.
(Morgan Dep. 45:14-46:18).
December 2010, Morgan received an overall “needs
improvement” rating on his 2010 performance review.
(Spencer Decl. ¶¶8-9, Ex. A). He also received
“needs improvement” ratings in the individual
areas of integrity and trust, building effective teams, and
managing and measuring work. (Spencer Decl., Ex. A). Spencer
specifically noted Morgan's subordinates did not trust
him. Id. Spencer also counseled Morgan that he
needed to work on building an effective team by better
managing his team members. Id. With regard to
organization, Spencer noted “[Morgan] is sloppy in his
work area and being disorganized hampers his efforts to
manage his work effectively.” Id. ...