The opinion of the court was delivered by: Flannery, District Judge.
Plaintiff Ronald Beeck (hereinafter "Beeck" or "plaintiff")
brought this action alleging two claims: age discrimination in
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"),
29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., and intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Plaintiff has more recently asserted that he
also brings a claim of retaliation in violation of
29 U.S.C. § 623(d), although no such claim is presented in the complaint.
Presently pending before the Court is defendant's motion for
summary judgment. In response to the motion, plaintiff withdrew
his intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. The Court
will therefore address only the discrimination and retaliation
As to the discrimination claim, the Court finds that plaintiff
has not alleged that defendant acted with the sort of
discriminatory motive that is prohibited by the ADEA, and that
the evidence in the record would not support such an allegation
in any case. The Court finds that the retaliation claim is also
invalid on the merits, assuming that the Court were to overlook
the fact that the claim was not alleged in the complaint.
Accordingly, summary judgment is granted as to all remaining
The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party. See Currier v. Radio Free Europe/Radio
Liberty, Inc., 159 F.3d 1363, 1364 n. 1 (D.C.Cir. 1998). This
action arose out of plaintiff's demotion and transfer following
the issuance of three "reminder" (i.e.disciplinary) letters by
plaintiff's supervisors during the summer of 1995. Prior to that
date, plaintiff had been employed by defendant Federal Express
since 1982. In 1993, Douglas McKenna ("McKenna"), the Managing
Director of the Eastern Region Air/Ground Terminals and
Transportation, promoted plaintiff to the position of Senior
Manager at the IAD station at Dulles Airport (hereinafter
"Dulles") in Virginia. As Senior Manager, plaintiff was
responsible for all Federal Express operations at Dulles, which
included unloading express mail packages from incoming flights
and transporting them by tractor-trailer to a "receiving station"
responsible for final distribution.
At the time plaintiff began as Senior Manager, he reported to
McKenna. However, around August of 1994, McKenna was himself
promoted and Edward Kuczma ("Kuczma") replaced McKenna as
Managing Director and plaintiff's immediate supervisor. In April
of 1995. Kuczma asked plaintiff to promote twelve parties into
higher paying positions without first posting the positions, in
violation of company policy. Plaintiff refused to do so unless
Kuczma put the request in writing. Kuczma replied that "if
[plaintiff] didn't do it, he would give [plaintiff] a letter" for
"failure to work as directed." Beeck January 15, 1999 Dep.
(hereinafter "Beeck Dep. I") at 30, 31. After a "heated
discussion," plaintiff still refused to comply unless the request
was in writing because the violation of procedure was grounds for
termination. Id. at 30, 32. Although Kuczma did not issue the
threatened letter at that
time, plaintiff observed that his relationship with Kuczma began
deteriorating after that point, and that "[a]fter that it seems
that they looked for everything they possibly could to try to get
[him] in some type of discipline." Id. at 30.
On June 14, 1995, Kuczma issued a reminder letter to plaintiff
holding him responsible for an incident in which a trailer full
of express packages had been driven from Dulles to the receiving
station in the District of Columbia (hereinafter the "DCA
station") on a Friday and had sat there unloaded over the
weekend. On August 2, 1995, Kuczma issued plaintiff a second
reminder letter, alleging that plaintiff had not fulfilled his
responsibility to chair the meetings of the "CORE Team," a
cross-divisional group meeting to improve service within the area
and over which the Senior Manager was chairperson.
On August 30, 1995, John M. O'Donovan ("O'Donovan"), who had
replaced Kuczma as Managing Director on August 1, 1995, issued
plaintiff a third reminder letter after the Federal Express
station at Dulles had failed a government ramp audit. The next
day, O'Donovan demoted Beeck, allegedly for unacceptable
performance. Plaintiff, who had recently turned 55 years old, was
replaced as Senior Manager at Dulles by Parker Edson ("Edson"),
who was 51. Following the demotion, plaintiff was given the
option of resigning or accepting a transfer to the DCA station as
a Ramp Operations Manager. On September 6, 1995, plaintiff
accepted the transfer although the position required a much
longer commute than his former job at Dulles.
On February 8, 1996, plaintiff requested that he be transferred
back to Dulles to work as an Operations Manager. This request was
denied. However, plaintiff was subsequently transferred to
defendant's facility in Baltimore, Maryland, a roughly 150-mile
commute. Later, plaintiff was transferred again, this time to a
facility in Florida where he was still employed at the
commencement of this action.
Plaintiff alleges that the reminder letters were a pretext, and
that in each case, the alleged problem was either not
attributable to plaintiff or else was wholly a fabrication.
Plaintiff further alleges that the demotion, the subsequent
transfers to locations requiring long commutes and the denials of
plaintiff's requests for transfer to a more convenient position
all constituted a single coordinated effort to induce plaintiff
to accept voluntary resignation.
Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, a party may move for summary judgment if
the record indicates that no genuine issue of material fact
exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Material facts are those which
"might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). To avoid summary judgment, the
non-moving party must demonstrate that a genuine dispute exists,
and provide evidence sufficient for a reasonable trier-of-fact to
return a verdict for that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. A court making a summary
judgment determination must view the facts in a light most
favorable to the non-movant, giving the non-movant the benefit of
all reasonable ...