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Brown v. Guardsmark, LLC

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

August 2, 2013

Stacy Brown, Plaintiff,
Guardsmark, LLC, Defendant.


JEFFREY J. HELMICK, District Judge.


Defendant Guardsmark, LLC brings this matter before me on a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56. (Doc. No. 20). Plaintiff Stacy Brown has filed a response brief. (Doc. No. 22). Guardsmark filed a brief in reply. (Doc. No. 27). For the following reasons, Guardsmark's motion is granted in part and denied in part.


Guardsmark, LLC is an international security services provider. (Doc. No. 20 at 1). In May of 2008, Guardsmark hired Stacy Brown. At the time of her hire, she requested assignment to the General Dynamics account in Lima; she wanted to work in Lima because it was closer to her home. (Id.). Guardsmark ultimately denied this request because the transfer would violate Guardsmark's policy forbidding employment of two relatives at one location, as her stepfather currently worked at the General Dynamics location. (Id.). Brown also expressed interest in working full time at the Ford account in Lima; however, there were only part-time openings available. (Id.). Ultimately, Brown accepted a security guard position at a company called BASF. (Id. at 11). While at BASF, Brown was reprimanded on two separate occasions for failing to provide proper paperwork to truck drivers. (Id.). Following these mishaps, BASF asked Guardsmark to remove Brown from their location. (Doc. No. 20-1 at 3).

Heather Frey, the Guardsmark Relationship Manager, staffed Guardsmark locations and hired and fired employees. (Doc. No. 20-1 at 1). After removing Brown from BASF, Frey decided to transfer Brown to General Dynamics because her stepfather no longer worked at that location. (Doc. No. 22 at 3). Brown began work as a fire marshal at General Dynamics in January 2010. (Id.). While at General Dynamics, Brown spoke with her Caucasian co-worker, Kim Wheeler, and learned Wheeler's Caucasian daughter-in-law, Catie Boroff, also worked at the General Dynamics location. (Doc. No. 21 at 24-25). Six months later, Guardsmark removed Brown from General Dynamics because she had failed to obtain the security clearance required to work at that location. (Id. at 37).

In August 2010, after Brown had been unemployed for one month, Frey offered Brown a position at Guardsmark's Veyance location. (Id. at 40). Brown accepted the position and immediately sought a promotion to supervisor. (Id. at 39). Guardsmark filled the open supervisor positions with a Caucasian man named Vince Roth. (Id. at 40-41). After Guardsmark removed Roth from the supervisor position in June 2011, Brown once again sought the supervisor position and, Guardsmark filled it with a Caucasian woman named Ashleigh Huss. (Id. at 42). Several months after her promotion, Huss resigned and Guardsmark gave the supervisor position to Brown. (Doc. No. 20-1 at 6).

On November 19, 2010, Brown filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that General Dynamics discriminated against her by denying her initial transfer to General Dynamics, removing her from General Dynamics, and failing to promote her ahead of two less qualified Caucasian employees. (Doc. No. 21-13). On August 3, 2011, the EEOC notified Brown of her right to sue. (Doc. No. 21-21).


Summary judgment is appropriate where "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). If the nonmoving party bears the ultimate burden of proof at trial, the movant is entitled to summary judgment if the movant shows that the nonmoving party failed to present evidence "to support an essential element of his or her claim." Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

If the movant satisfies this burden, the nonmoving party "must present specific facts setting forth a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The nonmoving party needs only to present evidence from which a reasonable jury could find in that party's favor. Id. at 251. "All of [that] evidence and any inferences that may be drawn from that evidence [must be viewed in a]... light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The nonmoving party, however, must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Id. at 586-87. "The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment...." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

The party opposing the motion must "[present] enough evidence that will be admissible at trial to demonstrate that a genuine issue on a material fact exists, and that a trial is necessary." Alexander v. CareSource, 576 F.3d 551, 558 (6th Cir. 2009). Summary judgment shall be awarded "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 317.


Through careful analysis of the facts, I find that Brown raises three issues for resolution by this court: (1) whether Guardsmark engaged in disparate treatment in violation of Title VII when it initially denied Brown's transfers to General Dynamics and Ford, or when it subsequently removed Brown from her position at General Dynamics; (2) whether Guardsmark violated Title VII by promoting Roth and Huss instead of Brown; and (3) whether Guardsmark ...

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