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.

Baker v. Weathersfield Management, LLC

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

March 26, 2019

TONYA WILSON BAKER, Plaintiff,
v.
WEATHERSFIELD MANAGEMENT, LLC, formerly known as AccuForce Staffing Services, LLC, and ACCUFORCE HR SOLUTIONS, LLC, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          W. Carleton Metcalf United States Magistrate Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 26). The issues have been fully briefed, and the matter is ripe for ruling. For the reasons addressed below, Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff initiated this employment discrimination action on September 15, 2017 in the Superior Court Division of the General Court of Justice of Burke County, North Carolina. Defendants removed the case to this Court, and the parties consented to the jurisdiction of a United States Magistrate Judge. See (Doc. 7).

         On July 11, 2018, Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 16) and Brief in Support (Doc. 17). Plaintiff subsequently responded (Doc. 23), and Defendants replied (Doc. 24).

         On August 28, 2018, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment was denied without prejudice. See (Doc. 25).

         On September 11, 2018, Defendants filed the instant Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 26) and a supporting brief (Doc. 27). Plaintiff filed a memorandum in opposition (Doc. 28), and Defendants replied (Doc. 29).

         On November 20, 2018, the undersigned conducted a hearing on Defendants' Motion. Plaintiff and her attorney, James B. Hogan, appeared, as did counsel for Defendants, Michael S. Lattier.

         II. Factual Background

         For the purpose of Defendants' Motion, the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         A. Defendants' Business

         The details of the relationship between the two Defendants, Weathersfield Management, LLC (formerly known as AccuForce Staffing Services, LLC) and AccuForce HR Solutions, LLC, are not entirely clear. At the hearing, Defendants' counsel indicated that a single individual had owned several companies which were later consolidated after bankruptcy proceedings. Further clarification was not offered, and defense counsel admitted that the companies' history was “confusing.” See also Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) 10-19. Nonetheless, Defendants appear to be closely related, and Defendants concede that Plaintiff was employed by one or both companies for purposes of her claims, see Defs.' Mem. Supp. (Doc. 27). Consequently, this Order will refer to both Defendants jointly as “Defendants” or the “Company.”

         Defendants operate as an employment agency, supplying employees to other companies. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 14; Compl. (Doc. 2-1) ¶ 9. Defendants conduct business in Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) Dep. at 20; Fleenor Dep. (Doc. 28-3) at 13. The Tennessee region does the most business of any in the Company and is also the home of the corporate offices. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 20; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 3.

         B. Plaintiff's Employment

         On March 21, 2001, Plaintiff was hired as a Staffing Supervisor in Defendants' office in Morganton, North Carolina, which office is part of the Company's North Carolina region. Compl. (Doc. 2-1) ¶¶ 11, 20; Baker Aff. (Doc. 28-9) ¶ 2. Initially, Plaintiff was hired on a part-time basis, but by April 2, 2001, she was working full-time. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 49-50; Baker Aff. (Doc. 28-9) ¶¶ 3, 4. When Plaintiff's status changed to full-time, she was made a salaried employee. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 52.

         In August of 2013, Defendants' owner passed away, and Dreama Parsons (“Parsons”) assumed the role of COO, the most senior position in the Company. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 12, 21-22; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 2.

         At some point prior to 2014, Plaintiff became the Regional Manager for the Company's North Carolina region. Baker Aff. (Doc. 28-9) ¶ 6; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 6. The Regional Manager position was one of the highest positions in the Company. Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 6.

         In 2014 and 2015, the Company was struggling financially. Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 8. The Company lost several major customers, and the North Carolina region was a financial drain on the Company. Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 8. In both 2014 and 2015, the North Carolina region's losses exceeded $100, 000. Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 7.

         Amid these problems, Parsons advised Plaintiff that the North Carolina region had to improve its sales in order to continue operations. Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 59; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 8. Parsons explained to Plaintiff that something had to happen to turn things around, or Parsons would have to “make a decision.” Parsons Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 60. Possible closure of the North Carolina offices was also discussed at managers' meetings. Parson Dep. (Doc. 28-1) at 65.

         At some point between mid-summer and October of 2015, Plaintiff was named the Director of Risk Management for the Company, a position that was created for her. Baker Aff. (Doc. 28-9) ¶ 8; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶¶ 9, 15.

         Plaintiff held the Director of Risk Management position and the North Carolina Regional Manager position simultaneously, with no change in salary, until October of 2015, at which time she was removed from the Regional Manager position. Baker Aff. (Doc. 28-9) ¶ 8; Compl. (Doc. 2-1) ¶ 25; Baker Dep. (Doc. 27-2) at 87; Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 9.

         The North Carolina Regional Manager duties were assigned to Kim Muncy (“Muncy”), who was a Regional Manager for the Company in Tennessee. Parsons Aff. (Doc. 27-1) ¶ 10; Baker Dep. (Doc. 29-1) at 87.

         In November of 2015, the Company's Chief Financial Officer made it clear that something had to be done about the financial issues the North Carolina region was creating for the Company, and Parsons decided that a complete evaluation of the future and viability of the ...


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.