The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton, District Judge.
At the close of Teneyck's case-in-chief, defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendant argued that, based solely on the evidence presented in Teneyck's case-in-chief, a reasonable jury could not infer discrimination by defendant based on any of the grounds raised by Teneyck, and, therefore, could not return a verdict in her favor. For the reasons stated herein, the Court granted defendant's motion.
II. Judgment as a Matter
of Law Standard
In relevant part, Rule 50(a) provides:
If during a trial by jury a party has been fully
heard on an issue and there is no legally sufficient
evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for
that party on that issue, the court may determine the
issue against that party and may grant a motion for
judgment as a matter of law against that party with
respect to a claim or defense that cannot under the
controlling law be maintained or defeated without a
favorable finding on that issue.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a)(1). The application of this rule is similar to the standard courts employ when evaluating summary judgment motions, "such that `the inquiry under each is the same.'" Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-251, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). When entertaining a motion for judgment as a matter of law, "the court should review all of the evidence in the record." Reeves, 530 U.S. at 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097. In so doing, the Court may not infringe on the province of the jury. It may not make determinations regarding credibility of witnesses or the weight of the evidence. Id. "[T]he court should give credence to the evidence favoring the nonmovant as well as that `evidence supporting the moving party that is uncontradicted and unimpeached, at least to the extent that that evidence comes from disinterested witnesses.'" Id. at 151, 120 S.Ct. 2097 (quoting 9A Charles A. Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 2529, p. 300 (2d ed. 1995)).
III. Teneyck's burden of proof
One of Teneyck's burdens at trial was to present evidence from which "a reasonable jury could have found . . . intentional discrimination." Dunaway v. Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters, 310 F.3d 758, 763 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (quoting McGill v. Munoz, 203 F.3d 843, 846 (D.C. Cir. 2000)). At all times, it is the plaintiff's burden to "persuad[e] the trier of fact that the defendant intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff." Texas Dep't of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981). In order to prevail at trial, based on the available evidence presented, a jury must be able to:
infer discrimination from the combination of (1) the
plaintiff's prima facie case; (2) any evidence the
plaintiff presents to attack the employer's proffered
explanation for its actions; and (3) any further
evidence of discrimination that may be available to
the plaintiff (such as independent evidence of
statements or attitudes on the part of the
Waterhouse v. District of Columbia, 298 F.3d 989, 993 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (citing Aka v. Washington Hospital Center, 156 F.3d 1284, 1289 (D.C. Cir. 1998)). Such evidence may be either direct or circumstantial. Dunaway, 310 F.3d at 763 (citing United States Postal Serv. Bd. of Governors v. Aikens, 460 U.S. 711, 717, 103 S.Ct. 1478, 75 L.Ed.2d 403 (1983)). Direct evidence in employment discrimination actions may be difficult to produce, however. "[A]pplicants for employment have great informational disadvantages: they cannot reach into the minds of decisionmakers, and therefore they usually can gather only circumstantial evidence of discriminatory motives." Cuddy v. Carmen, 694 F.2d 853, 859 (D.C. Cir. 1982).
Under the familiar framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973), a plaintiff raising an employment discrimination claim may create a presumption of an employer's unlawful discrimination by establishing a prima facie case.*fn2 See Burdine, 450 U.S. at 254, 101 S.Ct. 1089. To establish a prima facie case of race discrimination, a plaintiff must "establish that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (3) the unfavorable action gives rise to an inference of discrimination."*fn3 Stella v. Mineta, 284 F.3d 135, 145 (D.C. Cir. 2002) (citing Brown v. Brody, 199 F.3d 446, 452 (D.C. Cir. 1999)).
The McDonnell Douglas framework is also applicable to age discrimination claims under the ADEA. Reeves, 530 U.S. at 142, 120 S.Ct. 2097 (assumed that McDonnell Douglas framework fully applies to ADEA action); O'Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp., 517 U.S. 308, 311, 116 S.Ct. 1307, 134 L.Ed.2d 433 (1996) (same). Accordingly, to make out a prima facie case of age discrimination, plaintiff must establish her membership in the protected age group, her qualifications for the position, and that she was not selected for the position. Cuddy, 694 F.2d at 857. At bottom, "a plaintiff must ...