United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case involves allegations of discrimination by Tobey Hospital
(“the Hospital”) and its operator Southcoast
Health Systems, Inc. (collectively “defendants”)
against Lee Kuznarowis (“Kuznarowis” or
“plaintiff”), a registered nurse, . Plaintiff
asserts that defendants 1) violated the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §
621 et seq., (Count I) 2) discriminated against him
based on age in violation of M.G.L. c. 151B § 4, (Count
II) 3) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., (Count III) 4)
discriminated against him based on gender in violation of
M.G.L. c. 151B § 4, (Count IV) 5) retaliated against him
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), (Count V) 6) retaliated against him
in violation of ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.,
(Count VI) and 7) retaliated against him in violation of
M.G.L. c. 149 §185 (Count VII).
moves for summary judgment on all claims. Because no genuine
issues of material fact exist as to any claim,
defendant's motion for summary judgment will be allowed.
1993, the Hospital hired Kuznarowis, then 33 years old, as a
Respiratory Therapist. He began working as a Registered Nurse
at the Hospital in approximately 2000. He was first assigned
to the Intensive Care Unit as an ICU RN but then reassigned
to the Perioperative Department. In 2013 and 2014, his staff
performance evaluation rated him between a “good, solid
performer” and an “excellent performer”.
Bordwick (“Bordwick”), the Perioperative
Department Nurse Manager at the Hospital, became
plaintiff's manager in 2006. Bordwick informed the Post
Anesthesia Care Unit (“PACU”) that length of stay
was a concern and that patients should be discharged from
PACU once they met clinical criteria.
October, 2013, plaintiff applied for a Team Leader position
at the Hospital, for which he was qualified. Bordwick was
responsible for hiring the Team Leader. Tara Ignacio
(“Ignacio”), a female nurse with less experience
than plaintiff was ultimately selected for the position.
August, 2014, Ignacio yelled at Kuznarowis to move a female
patient along more quickly. Kuznarowis responded that he was
charting and that he would move the patient when he was
finished. Kuznarowis complained of Ignacio's behavior to
Sue Gillis (“Gillis”), the lead RN.
October, 2014, plaintiff, Bordwick, Associate Chief Nursing
Officer Susan Mangini (“Mangini”) and Human
Resources representative Janet Peirce (“Peirce”)
met to discuss Bordwick's concerns about plaintiff.
Bordwick told Mangini that Kuznarowis tended to keep his
patients longer than other RNs and that her prior experience
indicated that extended patient stays and missing
documentation were indicative of possible drug diversion. The
parties dispute whether, during that meeting, plaintiff was
accused of having a substance abuse problem. At the
conclusion of the meeting, Kuznarowis was placed on leave.
November 20, 2014, plaintiff was terminated. The person hired
to replace him in PACU was Scott Rounseville, a male five
years older than Kuznarowis. Mangini prepared a complaint
against Kuznarowis which a Southcoast HR manager filed with
the Board of Registration in Nursing (“BORN”) in
December, 2014. Plaintiff maintains that the Hospital used
manipulated data to demonstrate that he was dispensing more
controlled substances than the other nurses. He argues that
the standard deviation analysis used by the Hospital to
document deficiencies in his performance was attributable to
the entire staff, not solely to his practices.
September 8, 2015, Kuznarowis filed a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”). In July, 2016, plaintiff
brought this suit against defendants. They subsequently filed
their pending motion for summary judgment which is the
subject matter of this memorandum.
role of summary judgment is “to pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 950 F.2d 816, 822 (1st Cir. 1991). The burden is on
the moving party to show, through the pleadings, discovery
and affidavits, “that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine issue
of material fact exists where the evidence with respect to
the material fact in dispute “is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
moving party has satisfied its burden, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine, triable issue. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view
the entire record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and indulge all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor. O'Connor v.
Steeves, 994 F.2d 905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). Summary
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the record in the
non-moving party's favor, the Court determines that no
genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
the relevant statutes of limitations, plaintiff is required
to file a charge of discrimination within 300 days after the
unlawful employment practice occurred. 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(e)(1) (“. . . within three hundred days after
the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred . .
.”); cf. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1)(B)
(“. . . within 300 days after the alleged unlawful
practice occurred . . .”); M.G.L. c. 151B, § 5
(“Any complaint filed pursuant to this section must be
so filed within 300 days after the alleged act of