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Dorsey v. CHS, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Colorado

April 13, 2017

MARK R. DORSEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CHS, INC., a Minnesota Corporation, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          R. Brooke Jackson United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on defendant CHS Inc.'s motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 30]. For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.

         BACKGROUND

         Mark Dorsey was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2009. See Boulder Neurological Associates, Prof. LLC Records at 2, ECF No. 30-1. In March 2012 he underwent deep brain stimulation surgery to ease the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but this procedure put him at risk of developing severe speech difficulties. Id. at 3. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Dorsey began having issues with his speech intelligibility and was diagnosed with dysarthria, a motor speech disorder. Center for Neurorehabilitation Services, P.C. Records at 6, 11, ECF No. 30-2. Despite his trouble speaking, he interviewed with CHS and was hired for an open position. See Dorsey Dep. 51:7-13, ECF No. 30-3; Strum Dep. 73:11-74:10, ECF No. 30-5. He sought speech therapy to manage his disorder until he started his new job. See Center for Neurorehabilitation Services, P.C. Records at 11, ECF No. 30-2; Dorsey Dep. at 51:7-13, ECF No. 30-3.

         In September 2012 Mr. Dorsey began working for CHS as a nutrition consultant. Dorsey Dep. at 51:7-13, 65:17-20, ECF No. 30-3. The official job description summarizes Mr. Dorsey's responsibilities as follows: “Provide salesmanship to an assigned area to obtain customer feed and service orders. Call on livestock producers in an assigned territory[] to promote and obtain profitable product and service sales. Services include value-added programs supported by the company.” Nutrition Consultant Job Description at 1, ECF. No. 30-4. The role's specific duties include:

1) Make farm calls on livestock producers to sell and detail product information along with company services.
2) Provide salesmanship to selected dealers or direct accounts according to sales management and assigned dealership manager.
3) Responsible for individual travel and company promotion expenses to remain within approved budget guidelines.
4) Provide daily route schedule to supervisor.
5) Submit weekly and daily reports to management for review.
6) Report customer complaints to supervisor. Investigate immediately customer's complaint and provide written information, along with samples.
7) Participate in establishing sales goals for assigned territory for sales management.
8) Assist in developing marketing plans and strategies for assigned territory.

Id. The job description also lists the following “Special Job Characteristics”:

• Incumbent must possess good customer service and communication skills, both written and interpersonal.
• Incumbent should possess a sound understanding of agriculture production.
• Incumbent must be motivated to reach and obtain sales goals ...

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