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Michael Chittick Wins Summary Judgment in Age Discrimination Case

Michael Chittick won summary judgment in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island on behalf of our client, Cox Communications, in an age discrimination case.  The decision is Michael Jardin v. CoxCom, LLC d/b/a Cox Communications New England, C.A. No. 17-097-JJM (D.R.I., July 30, 2018).  U.S. District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. ruled that the plaintiff, Michael Jardin, failed to prove that Cox Communications had terminated his employment because of his age, rather than because of misconduct.  Judge McConnell’s decision is significant because it re-emphasizes that at the summary judgment stage, a plaintiff in an employment discrimination case must produce evidence demonstrating both that the employer’s stated reason for terminating the plaintiff’s employment was pretextual and that unlawful discrimination was the real motive for the decision.  Quoting established law in the First Circuit, Judge McConnell noted as follows:  “Courts may not sit as super personnel departments, assessing the merits or even rationality – of employers’ nondiscriminatory business decisions.”  Concluding that Mr. Jardin had offered insufficient evidence to demonstrate both that the termination decision was pretextual and that the termination was actually motivated by discriminatory animus, Judge McConnell GRANTED Cox Communications’ motion for summary judgment.

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