United States District Court, D. Colorado
ERILYN E. APODACA, Plaintiff,
COLORADO NONPROFIT DEVELOPMENT CENTER, a Colorado non-profit corporation in good standing doing business as Families Forward Resource Center, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
S. Krieger, United States District Court Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment (# 79), the
Plaintiff's Response (# 84), and the
Defendant's Reply (# 92); the
Plaintiff's Motion to File Brief Out of Time (#
84), and the Defendant's Motion to Restrict
Access (# 90, 91).
action, Ms. Apodaca brings the following claims: (1) a
violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), (2) retaliation for
reporting child neglect under Colorado law, (3) wrongful
termination in violation of public policy under Colorado law;
and (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress.
(# 56) She also requests an award of
exemplary damages. The second claim for retaliation was
dismissed upon the Magistrate Judge's recommendation.
CNDC now moves for summary judgment on the remaining claims.
Court exercises jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
2005, Plaintiff Jerilyn Apodaca began working as an intern
for defendant Colorado Nonprofit Development Center, which
had done business as the Lowry Family Center and the Families
Forward Resource Center. She was hired in 2007 and became
Director of Programs in early 2012 without a raise but with
an increase in responsibilities. As Director of Programs, Ms.
Apodaca managed four CNDC programs: Family Development,
Parent Education, Youth Development, and Community Health. At
some point, her compensation was increased to $35, 000
annually. In March 2014, she received a cost-of-living
increase to $35, 700 annually, but in 2013 was denied a
merit-based raise due to work performance.
comparator Ron Allen began working for CNDC as a Fatherhood
Coordinator in October 2012 at a salary of $32, 000 annually.
He reported to Ms. Apodaca. In April 2013, Ms. Apodaca and
Mr. Allen asked Dave Bechhoefer, executive director of CNDC,
for an increase to Mr. Allen's salary based on extra
duties that required extra time expenditure. Mr. Allen was
given a 20% increase to $38, 400, which corresponded to the
increase in the number of hours he worked. He still reported
to Ms. Apodaca. Ms. Apodaca concedes that the Fatherhood
Coordinator position did not require the same level of skills
duties supervision, effort, and responsibilities as her
2014, Ms. Apodaca was overwhelmed by her responsibilities. As
a consequence, Mr. Bechhoefer reassigned the supervision of
the Parent Education and Youth Development programs from Ms.
Apodaca to Mr. Allen, and promoted him to be Director of
Programs. In conjunction with his promotion and increased
responsibilities, Mr. Allen's compensation was increased
to $40, 000 annually.
Apodaca continued as the Director of Programs, but oversaw
only the Family Development and Community Health programs.
She received a merit-based raise at her performance review in
early 2015 with delayed implementation until she returned
from medical leave. While she was on medical leave, however,
Ms. Apodaca was terminated for causes not relevant to her
claims. Her raise was made retroactive to the beginning of
2015, resulting in a final annual salary of $37, 485.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure facilitates the entry
of a judgment only if no trial is necessary. See White v.
York Int'l Corp., 45 F.3d 357, 360 (10th Cir. 1995).
Summary adjudication is authorized when there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and a party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive
law governs what facts are material and what issues must be
determined. It also specifies the elements that must be
proved for a given claim or defense, sets the standard of
proof, and identifies the party with the burden of proof.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248 (1986); Kaiser-Francis OilCo. v. Producer's Gas
Co., 870 F.2d 563, 565 (10th Cir. 1989). A factual
dispute is “genuine” and summary judgment is
precluded if the evidence presented in support of and
opposition to the motion is so contradictory that, if
presented at trial, a judgment could enter for either party.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. When considering a
summary judgment motion, a court views all evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, thereby
favoring the right to a trial. See Garrett v. Hewlett
Packard Co., 305 F.3d 1210, 1213 (10th Cir. 2002).
movant has the burden of proof on a claim or defense, the
movant must establish every element of its claim or defense
by sufficient, competent evidence. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(A). Once the moving party has met its burden, to
avoid summary judgment the responding party must present
sufficient, competent, contradictory evidence to establish a
genuine factual dispute. See Bacchus Indus. Inc. v. Arvin
Indus. Inc., 939 F.2d 887, 891 (10th Cir. 1991);
Perry v. Woodward, 199 F.3d 1126, 1131 (10th Cir.
1999). If there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact, a
trial is required. If there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact, no trial is required. The court then applies
the law to the undisputed facts and enters judgment.
moving party does not have the burden of proof at trial, it
must point to an absence of sufficient evidence to establish
the claim or defense that the non-movant is obligated to
prove. If the respondent comes forward with sufficient
competent evidence to establish a prima facie claim
or defense, a trial is required. If the respondent fails to
produce sufficient competent evidence to establish its claim
or defense, ...