Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Schnittgrund v. Denver Public Schools

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 2, 2018

MONICA SCHNITTGRUND, Plaintiff,
v.
DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MARCIA S. KRIEGER CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (# 33) and the Plaintiff's Response (# 35). For the following reasons, the Motion is granted.

         I. JURISDICTION

         The Court exercises jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         II. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Monica Schnittgrund, now 54, was a teacher at Smith Elementary School, part of Denver Public Schools (the District). After teaching with the District for 17 years, her position was eliminated in March 2011.[2] She then worked as a teacher at Steck Elementary School during the 2011-2012 academic year on a temporary basis while she sought a permanent position. At age 48, she applied for 85 teaching positions in the District and received interviews at Steck, Grant Ranch Elementary School, Traylor Elementary School, and Fairview Elementary School. She also applied and received an interview to be a peer observer. She was not hired for any of the positions and remains on indefinite unpaid leave.

         Following the Court's order (## 29, 31) on the District's Motion to Dismiss (# 14), Ms. Schnittgrund brings one claim of discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The District now moves for summary judgment (# 33).

         III. LEGAL STANDARD

         Rule 56 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 Oil Co. 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).

         If the 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.

         If the 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, then the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

         IV. DISCUSSION

         It is unlawful to discriminate against an individual with respect to her terms and conditions of employment because of her age. 29 U.S.C. § 623. The posture of this case is not the standard age-discrimination paradigm where a plaintiff was discharged and a younger person was hired to fill the position. Rather, Ms. Schnittgrund's position was eliminated. She does not contend that the elimination of her job was based on her age. She contends that when she applied for new jobs, she was not selected due to her age. Thus, to establish a prima facie case under the ADEA, Ms. Schnittgrund must prove that (1) she is within the protected age group; (2) she was not selected for positions with the District; (3) she was qualified for the positions; and (4) the positions were filled by younger people. See Rivera v. City & Cty. of Denver, 365 F.3d 912, 920 (10th Cir. 2004).

         If there is no direct evidence of discrimination, the Court applies the burden-shifting framework outlined in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-03 (1973). McDonnell Douglas applies to Ms. Schnittgrund's ADEA claim. See Jones v. Okla. City Pub. Schs., 617 F.3d 1273, 1278-79 (10th Cir. 2010). Under this framework, Ms. Schnittgrund must first make out a prima facie case of discrimination as described. If she is successful, the burden shifts to the District to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its employment actions. If the District proffers such a reason, the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.