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Davidson-Seidel v. Denver Athletic Club

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 16, 2016

JUDIE DAVIDSON-SEIDEL, Plaintiff,
v.
THE DENVER ATHLETIC CLUB, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

RAYMOND P. MOORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

On June 23, 2015, plaintiff Judie Davidson-Seidel (“plaintiff”) filed a Complaint against The Denver Athletic Club (“defendant”) (ECF No. 1), raising the following claims: (1) age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; (2) sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); (3) associational discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“the ADA”); (4) retaliation in violation of the ADA; and (5) discrimination under the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act. (ECF No. 1 at ¶¶ 32-77.) Plaintiff’s claims are essentially premised upon defendant’s termination of her employment. (See id. at ¶¶ 7-31.)

Pending before the Court are two separate, but related motions. First, two months after the filing of the Complaint, defendant filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to plaintiff’s claims under the ADA and Title VII (Claims 2-4) (“the motion for summary judgment”) (ECF No. 9) and statement of undisputed material facts (ECF No. 9-1). Plaintiff filed a response to the motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 16), and a response and additional facts to defendant’s statement of undisputed material facts (ECF No. 16-1). Defendant then filed a reply (ECF No. 23) and a reply statement of undisputed material facts (ECF No. 23-1).

Second, on the same day as filing her response to the motion for summary judgment, plaintiff also filed a motion to defer ruling on the motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d) (“the Rule 56(d) motion”) (ECF No. 17) and an affidavit in support of the Rule 56(d) motion (“the affidavit”) (ECF No. 17-1). Defendant filed a response to the Rule 56(d) motion (ECF No. 21), and plaintiff then filed a reply (ECF No. 26).

Because the Rule 56(d) motion requests that the Court defer ruling, or alternatively deny without prejudice, the motion for summary judgment, the Court will address that motion first.

I. Legal Standard for a Motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d)

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) (“Rule 56(d)”), formerly Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(f) (“Rule 56(f)”), provides as follows.

If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:

(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to take discovery; or
(3) issue any other appropriate order.

“The crux of Rule 56(f) is that ‘summary judgment should be refused where the nonmoving party has not had the opportunity to discover information that is essential to his opposition.’” Hackworth v. Progressive Cas. Ins. Co., 468 F.3d 722, 732 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 n.5, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986)) (alteration omitted). Further, the Tenth Circuit has interpreted Rule 56(f) to require the summary-judgment nonmovant to “submit an affidavit identifying the probable facts not available and what steps have been taken to obtain these facts and must explain how additional time will enable him to rebut movant’s allegations of no genuine issue of fact.” Id. (quotation omitted).

II. Discussion

Here, plaintiff has met her burden of identifying the probable facts not available, the steps she has taken to obtain those facts, and how additional time may allow her to rebut defendant’s submitted evidence. As an initial matter, plaintiff asserts that her need for additional discovery time pertains to defendant’s summary judgment argument that it is a bona fide private membership club under Title VII and the ADA. (ECF No. 17-1 at ¶ 4.)[1] Plaintiff then identifies facts that are unavailable; specifically, the following alleged facts: (1) defendant’s common practice of allowing members to purchase guest passes, spa treatments, and dining services as gifts for guests, who then use the same without being accompanied by a member; (2) local hotel managers purchasing memberships for ...


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