Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gipson v. Wells Fargo N.A.

October 24, 2006

YVONNE GIPSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WELLS FARGO N.A., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John M. Facciola United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

In her amended complaints in these consolidated cases,*fn1 plaintiff alleges that her employer discriminated and retaliated against her on the basis of race, sex, and age in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and then retaliated against her in violation of the D.C. Human Rights Act ("DCHRA"), D.C. Code. Ann. §§2-1402.01, et seq.*fn2 Both cases have been referred to me for all purposes including trial. I now resolve Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Defs. Mot.") on all claims in the consolidated cases pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion will be denied.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Yvonne Gipson, was formerly employed by what is now known as Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. ("Wells Fargo"), as a Home Mortgage Consultant and Renovation Specialist, or loan originator. In November 2000, plaintiff brought suit against Wells Fargo, alleging discrimination and retaliation on the basis of age, sex, and race when she was not selected for promotion to the position of Branch Manager in a new branch of Wells Fargo to be located in Washington, D.C. As that suit was pending, plaintiff brought suit in July 2005, alleging retaliation when she was discharged by Wells Fargo on July 12, 2004.

MATERIAL FACTS NOT IN DISPUTE

1. In 1998, under supervision of Area Manager Charles Vance, Wells Fargo opened a new branch office in Washington, D.C., which required the hiring of a Branch Manager to lead the office. Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Defs. Mem.") at 27. At that time, Mr. Vance advertised the position internally and externally. Id.

2. External candidates were required to submit resumes directly to Mr. Vance, and later provide applications for employment, while internal candidates were not required to re-submit job applications. Id. at 27-28. After an initial screening of qualified candidates and initial interviews, Mr. Vance selected three finalists for consideration in additional interviews to be conducted by Mr. Vance and his direct supervisor, Regional Manager Mr. Cliff Frohn, who would also head the new office. Id. at 28; Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Pls. Opp.") at 7. The three finalists selected and interviewed by Mr. Vance and Mr. Frohn were John Settles, Kenneth Brown, and plaintiff. Defs. Mem. at 28.

3. At the time of selection, plaintiff, an African American, worked as a Home Mortgage Consultant ("HMC") and Renovation Specialist for Wells Fargo and was fifty-eight years old. See Pls. Opp. at 25. She had been with Wells Fargo since 1996. Defs. Mem. at 4. Also at that time, Mr. Vance served as plaintiff's second-line supervisor, and Mr. Frohn as plaintiff's third-line supervisor. Pls. Opp. at 6.

4. At the time of selection, Mr. Settles, the individual ultimately selected for the position, also an African American, worked for National City Mortgage as Rehab and non-profit specialist and was twenty-nine years old. See Pls. Opp. at 26; Defs. Mem., Ex. 16, Decl. Vance, Ex. 2.

5. In October 1998, prior to publication of the branch manager position opening, plaintiff entered into an Agreement and Release to resolve an internal complaint of discrimination against Wells Fargo, specifically relating to claims against Mr. Vance. Pls. Opp. at 6.

6. Mr. Vance and Mr. Frohn interviewed the candidates together, took separate notes on each interview, ranked the applicants, and compared notes. Pls. Opp. at 8. The interview notes of Mr. Frohn are gone, and the interview notes of Mr. Vance are limited. Id.; Defs. Mem., Ex. 16, Decl. Vance, Ex. 1.

7. Following the interviews, Mr. Vance offered the position to Mr. Settles. Defs. Mem. at 29-30.

8. In 1999, plaintiff transferred to the Greenbelt office of Wells Fargo, where she reported directly to Greenbelt Office Branch Manager Stephen Harper. Pls. Opp. at 9.

9. Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on November 3, 1999, alleging retaliation in connection with her non-selection to the position of Branch Manager. Defs. Mem., Ex. 17.

10. On November 29, 2000, plaintiff filed her first lawsuit against Wells Fargo in connection with her discrimination and retaliation claims on the basis of race, sex, and age. Defs. Mem. at 1.

11. As the suit was pending, between 1999 and 2004, plaintiff continued working for Wells Fargo as an HMC, or loan originator. See Pls. Opp. at 9.

12. In November 2003, Wells Fargo's California-based National Renovation Draw Center, which administers and disburses draw loan payouts for renovation loans (the area of Gipson's specialty), detected "possible problem files" concerning loans originated by Gipson. Defs. Mem. Ex. 26. The "red flags" dealt with loans administered by plaintiff in the District of Columbia during a brief period of time with one builder-contractor, Teka Construction. Defs. Mem. at 10.

13. Wells Fargo's Fraud Risk Management Department, based in Iowa, began an internal investigation regarding Gipson's activities in connection with the flagged loans. Defs. Mem. at 11.

14. A preliminary review of the matter by the Fraud Risk Management Department led to an interview conducted by fraud examiner Lloyce Gentry, who also reviewed Gipson's loan files. Pls. Opp. at 11. At a minimum, the investigation of Ms. Gentry concluded that Gipson had violated Wells Fargo's policy regarding acceptance of faxed documents. Id.

15. An on-site interview of Gipson was conducted by Ms. Gentry on July 9, 2004. Statement of Facts, ¶ 34.*fn3 Following the interview, a conference call took place between Ms. Gentry and other members of the Fraud Risk Committee, which generally meets to discuss issues concerning fraud and to make recommendations regarding actions to take on cases which the Fraud Risk Management Department is investigating. Statement of Facts, ¶¶ 36-37. Those involved in the conference call included Lloyce Gentry, Tamara Pattison, Ann Tankus, and Denise Brennan. Defs. Mem. at 15.

16. After discussing termination of Gipson, Ms. Pattison, the Human Resources representative on the Fraud Risk Committee, contacted Mr. Frohn to recommend termination. Pls. Opp. at 13; Defs. Mem. at 15.

17. On July 12, 2004, Gipson was terminated. See Defs. Mem. at 8. At the time of her termination, Gipson's second-line supervisor was Mr. Leo Natali, Area Manager for Southern Maryland, and her third-line supervisor was Mr. Frohn, who continued in his position as Regional Manager. Pls. Opp. at 9. Her termination was communicated to her in a meeting with Mr. Natali and Mr. Brian Foss, Gipson's Renovation Sales Manager. Statement of Facts, ¶ 41.

18. Plaintiff initiated a second suit in D.C. Superior Court against Wells Fargo on May 25, 2005, alleging retaliation in violation of the DCHRA. Defs. Mem. at 2. That case was removed by Wells Fargo to this court on June 14, 2005. Id. The cases were ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.