United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Melanie Adams worked at Defendant UTC Laboratories, LLC
("UTC") as a sales representative from
January 2014 until her termination in October 2014. Ms. Adams
claims that she was discriminated against because of her age
(53) and gender, and experienced a hostile work environment,
based on treatment from her supervisor, Doug Terry. Ms. Adams
worked under Mr. Terry's supervision for approximately
one month before her termination, which she characterizes as
"abrupt" and which UTC claims was due to Ms.
Adams' lack of necessary medical background and
unwillingness to take the necessary steps to improve her
performance. Ms. Adams asserts claims for age discrimination
and harassment under the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.
("ADEA"), and sexual harassment and discrimination
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-2(b). UTC has moved for summary judgment on all
of Ms. Adams' claims, [Filing No. 52], and the
motion is ripe for the Court's decision.
motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether
a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely
disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing
to particular parts of the record, including depositions,
documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only
consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A
disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law. Hampton v. Ford Motor
Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In other words,
while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary
judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome
determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d
521, 525 (7th Cir. 2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant
to the legal question will not be considered. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence
it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its
version of the events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus.,
325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is
entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable factfinder
could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson
v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court
views the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp.,
512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence
or make credibility determinations on summary judgment
because those tasks are left to the fact-finder.
O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625,
630 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court need only consider the cited
materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit
Court of Appeals has "repeatedly assured the district
courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the
record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the
summary judgment motion before them, " Johnson,
325 F.3d at 898. Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine
issue for trial is resolved against the moving party.
Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th
following factual background is set forth pursuant to the
standards detailed above. The facts stated are not
necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment
standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed
evidence are presented in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff as the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable
inferences in her favor. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
Initial Employment With UTC
Adams began working for UTC on January 22, 2014, as an
independent contractor. [Filing No. 64-1 at 4-5.1
UTC administered a DNA testing program that allowed
physicians to test a patient's genetic makeup to
determine how those patients metabolized medications.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 5.1 Ms. Adams was responsible
for informing physicians and nurses about the program and
getting physicians' offices to participate in the
program. [Filing No. 64-1 at 5.] Ms. Adams would
typically visit between 30 and 50 physicians' offices per
week. [Filing No. 64-1 at 10.] Ms. Adams initially
worked under the supervision of Brian George and Sarj Patel.
[Filing No. 64- 1 at 5.] Ms. Adams
claims that both Mr. George and Mr. Patel "raved"
about her work ethic and success. [Filing No. 64-1 at
Working Under the Supervision of Doug Terry
2014, Ms. Adams became a W-2 employee at UTC and began
serving as a Sales Team Territory Manager. [Filing No.
64-1 at 6-7; Filing No. 64-1 at 31.] She had
the same duties and responsibility as she had when working as
an independent contractor. [Filing No. 64-1 at 7.]
Upon becoming a W-2 employee, Ms. Adams was not given any
information regarding required outcomes or sales quotas for
her position. [Filing No. 64-1 at 7-9.]
September 2014, Doug Terry - Senior District Manager for UTC
responsible for overseeing Sales Representatives in North
Carolina, Indiana, and Southern Illinois - became Ms.
Adams' supervisor. [Filing No. 64-1 at 13;
Filing No. 64-2 at 5-7.] Mr. Terry supervised two
sales representatives in North Carolina, three sales
representatives in Indiana, and two sales representatives in
Illinois. [Filing No. 64-2 at 5-7.] In Indiana, Mr.
Terry supervised Ms. Adams, Tony Dal Santo, and Michelle
Miller. [Filing No. 64-2 at 13-14.] Mr. Terry did
not speak with Ms. Adams' prior supervisors, look at her
prior performance evaluations, or have any knowledge
regarding the training she had received during her time at
UTC. [Filing No. 64-2 at 11-12.]
Adams and Mr. Terry primarily communicated via email
correspondence and text messages. [Filing No. 64-1 at
13.] The first time that they met in person was on
September 18, 2014 at a restaurant in Indianapolis.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 13.] During the meeting, Mr.
Terry told Ms. Adams that she could buy a computer for
herself for the field, but to remember not to save any of her
naked pictures on the computer. [Filing No. 64-1 at
13.] Mr. Terry did not provide Ms. Adams with any
information regarding sales quotas during that meeting.
[Filing No. 64-2 at 15-16.] Mr. Terry, Ms. Adams,
Ms. Miller, and Mr. Dal Santo met the following day, and Mr.
Terry again mentioned that they could purchase computers, but
that they should not save any naked pictures. [Filing No.
64-1 at 14.] Ms. Adams did not complain about either of
these meetings until the day she was terminated. [Filing
No. 52-4 at 15.]
September 25, 2014, UTC provided Ms. Adams with a PowerPoint
presentation relating to the product she was selling, and Ms.
Adams felt that she knew the product well through
self-teaching and with the assistance of her former
supervisors. [Filing No. 64-1 at 12.] On October 13,
2014, Mr. Terry sent Ms. Adams an email that provided her
with a sales quota in writing for the first time. [Filing
No. 64-2 at 18; Filing No. 64-2 at 37.] The
sales quota was similar for each of the three Indiana sales
representatives, and Mr. Terry never discussed with Ms. Adams
what the repercussions might be if she failed to meet the
sales quota. [Filing No. 64-2 at 19-22.]
Adams and Mr. Terry met in person again at an Indianapolis
restaurant on October 16, 2014 and during their meeting Mr.
Terry screamed at Ms. Adams, belittled her, "kind of
flung" the PowerPoint presentation at her, and said
"show me that you have memorized this." [Filing
No. 64-1 at 15.1 When Ms. Adams responded that she had
not memorized the PowerPoint presentation, Mr. Terry cursed
at her and told her that she was "never going to become
anything." [Filing No. 64-1 at 15.1 Ms. Adams
was frightened during the meeting, and left devastated and in
tears. [Filing No. 64-1 at 15.1 She did not report
Mr. Terry's behavior, though, because he was her new boss
and "if I went right away and started complaining about
him, how did that look on me, you know, why couldn't I
handle him, why couldn't I handle the situation. So I
really was trying to give him the benefit of the doubt and
trying to overcome a challenging situation." [Filing
No. 64-1 at 15.] After this meeting, Mr. Terry expressed
concern to Dr. Chris Graf, a UTC General Manager, regarding
Ms. Adams' clinical knowledge. [Filing No. 64-2 at
October 28, 2014, Ms. Adams picked Mr. Terry up from the
Indianapolis International Airport and they drove together to
Evansville. [Filing No. 64-1 at 15.] Ms. Adams had
provided Mr. Terry with an agenda for his visit, and he told
her that the agenda was "BS, " and began
"drilling" her on her product knowledge and
harassing her. [Filing No. 64-1 at 15-16.] Mr.
Terry's harassment reached a point where Ms. Adams told
him it was interfering with her ability to drive safely.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 16.] By the time they arrived at
their first appointment at a physicians' office, Ms.
Adams was shaking. [Filing No. 64-1 at 16.] During
several of their visits to physicians' offices on October
28, 2014, Mr. Terry and Ms. Adams were not able to see the
physicians and so Mr. Terry would leave a brochure and ask
the receptionist or office manager to leave a sticky note on
the brochure stating that UTC was involved with a clinical
trial for Medicare and that there were incentives available
for physicians. [Filing No. 64-1 at 16.] Mr. Terry
informed Ms. Adams that having the receptionist or office
manager write a sticky note was a way to avoid getting in
trouble for mentioning clinical trials with Medicare or
financial incentives. [Filing No. 64-1 at 16.] Ms.
Adams informed Mr. Terry that she was uncomfortable with this
practice, but Mr. Terry told her that as long as they did not
write the sticky notes themselves, they would not get caught.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 16.] Ms. Adams believed that
this conduct amounted to an illegal kickback, yet Mr. Terry
continued to engage in this conduct throughout the day at
different physicians' offices. [Filing No. 64-1 at
16-18.] Mr. Terry told Ms. Adams in a threatening manner
that she would never be successful if she did not engage in
this practice. [Filing No. 64-1 at 18.] When she
told Mr. Terry that this was not the way she does business,
he became irritated and upset. [Filing No. 64-1 at
October 28, 2014, Mr. Terry told Ms. Adams to approach two
younger females at a physicians' office in Clinton,
Indiana and to ask for their business cards for him.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 19.1 When Ms. Adams asked Mr.
Terry why he wanted the business cards, he stated
"[b]ecause they are good looking, they are young, and
maybe I could hire them." [Filing No. 64-1 at
19.] He also stated "[t]hat's what I miss about
the pharmaceutical business so terribly, is all the good
looking girls I used to be able to be around and interact
with, " and "I sure miss seeing those hot
pharmaceutical reps." [Filing No. 64-1 at
evening of October 28, 2014, Ms. Adams and Mr. Terry went to
dinner together. [Filing No. 64-1 at 20.] During
dinner, Mr. Terry discussed the hiring of young sales
representatives and how he loves young representatives
because "they won't backtalk me, they won't tell
me to be quiet.... I can yell at them.... I love this about
these young people." [Filing No. 64-1 at20.]
Mr. Terry continued to reference both young, attractive
female sales representatives and young male sales
representatives, then asked a young, attractive waitress for
her name and phone number in case she wanted to meet with him
about some potential job openings. [Filing No. 64-1 at
20-21.] During the dinner, Mr. Terry was egotistical,
demeaning toward Ms. Adams, angry, yelling, and belligerent.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 20.]
following morning, at their first meeting of the day at a
physicians' office, Mr. Terry started yelling at Ms.
Adams and said "[g]et up here and you start writing down
exactly the answers to the questions I'm giving
you." [Filing No. 64-1 at 21-22.] He then said
"[i]f you don't have your S-H-I-T together, then
when Dr. Graf comes in next week to work with you he's
going to fire you.. ..You're not doing everything I tell
you to do." [Filing No. 64-1 at 22.] Mr. Terry
continued to scream at Ms. Adams, and Ms. Adams began crying.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 22.] After the meeting at the
physicians' office, Ms. Adams and Mr. Terry went to a
coffee shop where Mr. Terry continued to yell at Ms. Adams.
[Filing No. 64-1 at 22.] Mr. Terry then asked Ms.
Adams to take him to the Evansville Airport and said
"[w]e're not going to spend any more time
together." [Filing No. 64-1 at 22.1
next day, on October 30, 2014, Mr. Terry informed Ms. Adams
during a telephone conversation that she was being terminated
because "it is not going to work out." [Filing
No. 64-1 at 25-26.]
Ms. Adams' Complaints About Mr. Terry
to being terminated, Ms. Adams had voiced her concerns during
telephone conversations with her former supervisor, Mr.
George, that Mr. Terry was "a yeller and a screamer,
" was "hard to work for, " and did not return
her phone calls. [Filing No. 64-1 at 23-24.] She
also voiced her concerns to Mr. George and Mr. Patel after
she was terminated. [Filing No. 64-1 at 24.] On the
day of her termination, Ms. Adams wrote and sent a lengthy
letter to Kevin McAndrew, Vice President of Human Resources
at UTC, describing Mr. Terry's behavior and stating
"I am very disappointed and extremely upset about this
experience. I am reaching out to you for assistance."