United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
KATHLEEN KAY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 55] filed
pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
by Ingevity Corp., formerly known as MWV Specialty Chemicals
Co. (“MWV, ” “defendant”), the sole
remaining defendant in this action. The plaintiff, Ron Kern,
opposes the motion. Doc. 74. The defendant's Motion for
Oral Argument [doc. 64] was granted, and this matter was
heard on October 12, 2017, at 11:00 am. Doc. 65.
following reasons, the Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 55]
will be GRANTED, and the action
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE by accompanying
judgment, each party to bear its own costs.
was employed at MWV as a full-time lead process chemist at
that company's facility in DeRidder, Louisiana, from
August 2011 until October 2014. Doc. 55, atts. 3, 33. He
received a poor performance review in December of 2013 and
expressed his disagreement with same. Doc. 55, att. 7; doc.
55, att. 8, pp. 7, 11. In February 2014 plaintiff was
diagnosed with shingles. See doc. 55, att. 10.
Though he attempted to return to work on a few occasions, he
largely remained on leave from February 21, 2014, onward.
Id.; see doc. 55, atts. 12-14, 16;
see doc. 74, att. 2, pp. 3-4; doc. 55, att. 33.
this time Kern continued to express disagreement with his
2013 performance review to his manager and sent a request for
assistance to the MWV ethics line on March 23, 2014. Doc. 55,
atts. 15-17. On March 26, 2014, Kern sent another email to
the MWV ethics line, stating that he “fear[ed] the
worst” as he had heard nothing to date and that, as he
was “a 59 year old male with ongoing medical issues,
” he had contacted the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) for assistance. Doc. 55, att.
22. He completed an EEOC intake questionnaire that same date,
alleging discrimination on the basis of age and disability
based on his 2013 performance review and the resulting
performance improvement plan. Doc. 55, att. 29. This
questionnaire resulted in a discrimination charge
(“2014 EEOC charge”), to which MWV responded.
See doc. 55, atts. 30, 31. On July 15, 2014, the
EEOC dismissed the charge and informed Kern of his right to
file suit within ninety days. Doc. 55, att. 32.
September 26, 2014, a human resources representative from MWV
sent a letter to Kern, informing him that a recent medical
release, allowing him to begin working part-time, was
insufficient for his full-time position and pointing out that
he would run out of his short-term leave allowance on October
10, 2014. Doc. 55, att. 33. Accordingly, she stated, his
employment at MWV would end once his leave was exhausted.
Id. On that same date, a termination request was
processed by MWV, effective October 10, 2014. Doc. 74, att.
1, p. 29. In December 2014 Kern applied for another position
with the defendant but the position was never filled due to a
reduction in force. Doc. 74, att. 2, p. 12; doc. 55, att. 23,
March 2, 2015, Kern submitted another intake questionnaire to
the EEOC, alleging retaliation for his 2014 EEOC charge and
discrimination on the basis of age and disability. Doc. 55,
att. 38. His case was recommended for closure after he failed
to provide a required signature within the allotted time.
Doc. 55, att. 40. The EEOC issued a dismissal and notice of
suit rights on June 3, 2015. Doc. 55, att. 41. Kern filed
suit in the 36th Judicial District, Beauregard Parish,
Louisiana, on September 1, 2015, alleging that defendant had
violated federal statutes forbidding retaliation, and
discrimination on the basis of age and disability, as well as
Louisiana statutes forbidding same. Doc. 1, att. 1, pp. 4-9.
In relief he seeks compensatory and exemplary damages, as
well as an award of attorney's fees. Id. at 8-9.
now moves for summary judgment on all claims, asserting that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact on
Kern's claims of discrimination and retaliation and that
the defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law and
dismissal of this action at plaintiff's cost.
Specifically, it maintains that Kern failed to exhaust the
claims raised in the 2015 EEOC charge and that the claims
raised in the 2014 EEOC charge have prescribed. Doc. 62.
Should this court disagree on either front, defendant asserts
that plaintiff does not show a right to relief on the merits.
Id. Kern opposes the motion. Doc. 74.
should grant a motion for summary judgment when the
pleadings, including the opposing party's affidavits,
“show that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553 (1986). The party
moving for summary judgment is initially responsible for
demonstrating the reasons justifying the motion for summary
judgment by identifying portions of pleadings and discovery
that show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact for
trial. Tubacex, Inc. v. M/V Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954
(5th Cir. 1995). The court must deny the moving party's
motion for summary judgment if the movant fails to meet this
the movant makes this showing, the burden then shifts to the
non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986). The burden
requires more than mere allegations or denials of the adverse
party's pleadings. The non-moving party must demonstrate
by way of affidavit or other admissible evidence that there
are genuine issues of material fact or law. Celotex,
106 S.Ct. at 2553. There is no genuine issue of material fact
if, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, no reasonable trier of fact could find for
the non-moving party. Tolan v. Cotton, 134 S.Ct.
1861, 1866 (2014). Furthermore, a court may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence in ruling on
a motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson
Plumbing Prods., Inc., 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2110 (2000).
However, the nonmovant must submit “significant