United States District Court, D. Colorado
KRISTEN L. MIX UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment [#61] (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed a Response [#63] and Defendant filed a Reply [#64]. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#58] is GRANTED.
In short, this is a dispute about termination of Plaintiff’s employment. Plaintiff contends that she was employed as a Director in Defendant Comcast Cable Communications Management, LLC’s (“Comcast”) Mile High Region, that she was viewed as a rising star within the company, that she was wrongfully terminated in violation of Colorado law, and that after termination of her employment, “Comcast held a meeting where it was announced that [Plaintiff] had been terminated for unethical behavior, comparing her actions to disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.” Response [#63] at 1. Defendant contends that Plaintiff’s employment was terminated after an employee submitted an anonymous complaint reporting that she had encouraged her subordinates to enter false prospects into a sales management database to gain an advantage in a company competition. Motion [#61] at 9. Defendant further asserts that it received other complaints about Plaintiff and her department around the same time, including “allegations of bribery, favoritism, retaliation, hostile work environment and other general ethics issues.” Id. at 10. The company conducted an investigation and decided to terminate five employees, including Plaintiff. Id. at 12.
II. Standard of Review
The purpose of a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 is to assess whether trial is necessary. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). An issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the issue in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case under the governing substantive law. Id.
The burden is on the movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670-71 (10th Cir. 1998) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). When the movant does not bear the ultimate burden of persuasion at trial, the “movant may make its prima facie demonstration [of the absence of a genuine issue of material fact] simply by pointing out to the [C]ourt a lack of evidence for the nonmovant on an essential element of the nonmovant’s claim.” Id. at 671. If the movant carries the initial burden of making a prima facie showing of a lack of evidence, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to put forth sufficient evidence for each essential element of his claim such that a reasonable jury could find in his favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Simms v. Okla. ex rel. Dep’t of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Servs., 165 F.3d 1321, 1326 (10th Cir. 1999), abrogation recognized by Eisenhour v. Weber Cnty., 744 F.3d 1220, 1227 (10th Cir. 2014). Conclusory statements based merely on conjecture, speculation, or subjective belief are not competent summary judgment evidence. Bones v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., 366 F.3d 869, 875 (10th Cir. 2004). The nonmoving party’s evidence must be more than “mere reargument of [his] case or a denial of an opponent’s allegation” or it will be disregarded. See 10B Charles Alan Wright, et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2738 at 356 (3d ed. 1998).
Only documents that adhere to the evidentiary requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 may be considered for purposes of summary judgment. Rule 56(c) provides that:
(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials[.] ...
(3) Materials Not Cited. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.
(4) Affidavits or Declarations. An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.
Fed. R. Civ. P. ...