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Kinser v. United Methodist Agency for Retarded-Western North Carolina, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

August 15, 2014

BOBBY J. KINSER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED METHODIST AGENCY FOR THE RETARDED-WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA, INC., d/b/a UMAR, Defendant.

ORDER

ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Defendant United Methodist Agency for the Retarded - Western North Carolina, Inc., d/b/a UMAR's (UMAR) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. 23), Plaintiff Bobby J. Kinser's (Kinser) Response in Opposition, (Doc. 30), Defendant's Reply to Response to Motion, (Doc. 33), Defendant's Motion to Strike, (Doc. 34), and Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 40). For the reasons below, the Court grants the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural Background

Plaintiff Bobby J. Kinser brought this action for sex and age discrimination against his former employer, UMAR, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq., the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621, and wrongful discharge based on North Carolina law. (Doc. 1).

On April 11, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination against UMAR with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), (Doc. 23), alleging that he was discriminated against on the bases of his age and sex. (Doc. 23-1). On December 20, 2012, the EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights regarding Plaintiff's Charge. (Doc. 1-1). On March 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed suit in this Court. (Doc. 1).

B. Factual Background

UMAR is a non-profit organization that serves individuals with emotional, intellectual, and physical disabilities. (Doc. 23). Plaintiff Kinser began working for UMAR in 1991, eventually reaching the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO). (Doc. 1). He was approximately forty-five years old (45) when he was terminated on March 7, 2012. (Id.) From July 2011 until October 2011, Kinser served as UMAR's interim President until the position was filled by Ann Church (Church) in October 2011. (Id.). Upon being promoted to the position of interim President, Kinser was given a $7000 raise. (Doc. 30-5). After Church was hired as President, Kinser returned to his role as COO. (Doc. 23). At that time, the three people in charge of managing UMAR were Kinser, Teran Morrow (Morrow), and Marilyn Garner (Garner). (Id., Doc. 30-6).

Performance as COO

During her deposition, Church addressed several incidents involving Kinser which led to his eventual firing. (Docs. 30-6; 33-1). She stated that within her first week at UMAR, Kinser suggested that she sign a Medicaid attestation letter without disclosing that UMAR was undergoing a Department of Labor Investigation, thereby putting UMAR in danger of losing its license. (Id.).

Church also mentioned one occasion in which Kinser disobeyed her directions regarding a female UMAR employee whom Church planned to terminate, when he suggested to the employee that she resign before Church could terminate her. (Id.). Finally, Church related an incident in which Kinser failed to provide help to one of UMAR's vans that broke down in inclement weather while transporting residents. (Id.). Kinser was supposed to call a fleet management company to request a cab or limousine pick up the staff and residents, but no cab or limousine ever arrived. As a result, the residents and staff were stranded on the side of the road for several hours before being transported illegally on the back of a flatbed truck. (Id.). Church sent him several emails addressing various deficiencies in his performance and suggesting improvements. (Docs. 24: Exhibits D-F, 30-5; 30-6).

Kinser contests Church's account of events. Instead, he maintains that he acted in good faith, consulting with Medicaid to get a recommendation of the proper course of action, (Doc. 30-5); that his role in the conversation with the employee was limited to informing her of the meeting, (Id.); and, that he called the fleet management company to arrange for transportation and was never informed that it did not arrive. (Id.). As evidence, Kinser includes performance reviews covering several years in which his performance was evaluated as meeting or exceeding expectations. (Doc. 30-8). Finally, he claims that he never received any warning or notice that his performance was not conforming to Church's expectations.

Termination

On March 7, 2012 Kinser was terminated after 21 years of employment. (Doc. 30-12). During the meeting, Church informed Kinser that she was building her team and did not see him as part of it. She did not state that the dissolution of the ...


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