United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant
L-3 Army Sustainment LLC (“L-3”) on June 29,
2017. Doc. 41. Having reviewed the motion, the parties'
briefs, the evidentiary record, and the applicable law, the
court finds that L-3's motion is due to be GRANTED, as
set forth below.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
facts are derived from L-3's statement of undisputed
facts, Plaintiff Janet Blackmon's additional statement of
facts, and uncontroverted record evidence. The majority of
the facts are taken from the deposition of Blackmon and from
the corporate documents of L-3. The court must construe the
facts and all reasonable inferences arising therefrom in the
light most favorable to Blackmon as the nonmovant. See
Frederick v. Sprint/United Mgmt. Co., 246 F.3d 1305,
1309 (11th Cir. 2001).
court has reviewed the record, including the parties'
filings and evidentiary submissions, to determine whether
genuine issues of material fact exist to be tried. However,
the court need not “scour the record” to make
that determination. Tomasini v. Mt. Sinai Med. Ctr. of
Fla., 315 F.Supp. 1252, 1260 n.11 (S.D. Fla. 2004)
(internal quotation marks omitted). Indeed, the court's
June 30, 2017 briefing order requires that “any
discussion of evidence in a brief must include the specific
reference, by name or document number and by page and
paragraph or line, to where the evidence may be found in the
supporting evidentiary submission or in any document filed
with the court.” Doc. 42 at 2. To the extent the
parties' filings do not comply with these directives, the
court may refuse to consider the referenced evidence or may
strike it from the record entirely. See Doc. 42.
Against this backdrop, and for summary-judgment purposes
only, see Cox v. Admin. U.S. Steel & Carnegie,
17 F.3d 1386, 1400 (11th Cir. 1994), the court sets forth the
The Parties and the Relationship Between L-3 and the Ft.
is a former aircraft mechanic who was 54 years old at the
time of her termination. Docs. 41-2 at 79 & 46-22 at 24. The
basis of this lawsuit is Blackmon's alleged
discriminatory termination based on her age. Doc. 1.
a military contractor. Doc. 41-1 at ¶ 4. L-3 has a
contract with the United States Army to provide aircraft
maintenance, support, and logistics services in connection
with the Army's operations at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. Doc.
41-1 at ¶ 4. L-3 was awarded the contract to provide
these services at Ft. Rucker in 2003 and has been the prime
contractor for these services since that time. Doc. 41-1 at
workforce at Ft. Rucker is unionized. The bargaining unit is
represented by codefendant United Lodge No. 2003,
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
(“IAMAW”). Doc. 41-1 at ¶ 6.
relationship between L-3 and IAMAW is governed by a
collective bargaining agreement. Docs. 41-1 at ¶ 7 &
41-3. L-3 and IAMAW have also agreed upon a set of work rules
that govern employee conduct. Docs. 41-4, 41-5 & 46-16.
These rules encompassed Blackmon's responsibility to keep
and to record her time accurately, a responsibility this is
“self-policed.” Docs. 41-2 at 29-30, 41-8 &
46-16. Other work rules relevant to Blackmon's claim are:
Work Rule 13 Employees will not leave assigned work area
without authorization for reasons not connected with
performance of their job.
Work Rule 21 Employees will not leave the facility during
working hours without authorization.
Work Rule 38 Employees will not commit any form of dishonesty
or fraud; including falsifying facts to management, or
falsifying employment application, personal, personnel,
company or government records.
Doc. 46-16. The stated consequence for violating Work Rules
13 and 21 is progressive discipline up to discharge. Doc.
46-16. The stated consequence for violating Work Rule 38 is
discharge. Doc. 46-16.
testified that she understood L-3's work rules, that it
was her responsibility to follow them, and that she
understood the consequences if she did not follow them. Docs.
41-2 at 6-9 & 41-6. Blackmon also understood that it was
her duty to follow L-3's Code of Ethics and Business
Conduct, which provides, among other things, that employees
shall accurately record their time and labor charges. Docs.
41-2 at 8-19, 41-7 & 41-9.
Blackmon's Employment with L-3
began working in connection with the contract at Ft. Rucker
in 1989. Doc. 46-22 at 3. From then until 2003, she worked
for two of L-3's predecessor contractors-Sikorsky and
DynCorp. Doc. 46-22 at 3. Blackmon worked on the contract for
as an aircraft mechanic from 2003 until July 13, 2015, when
she was terminated. Doc. 46-22 at 4. From June 2014 through
her termination, Blackmon served as an aircraft mechanic at
Lucas Stagefield, which was only 1.1 miles from her residence
in Elba, Alabama. Doc. 46-22 at 4-6. Blackmon worked the
second shift from 3:00 p.m. until 11:30 p.m. and had a
30-minute meal break. Docs. 41-2 at 22-24 & 46-22 at 14.
As a stagefield mechanic, Blackmon had a large amount of
downtime each shift. Doc. 41-1 at 38-39. During this downtime,
she would usually sit in the stagefield's fire house and
watch television for several hours. Doc. 46-22 at 7.
contends that it was understood that stagefield mechanics
could leave when incoming flights were not scheduled. More
specifically, Blackmon testified that she was told by her
immediate supervisor, Danny Foxworth, that she could leave
early on days when inbound flights to her stagefield were
cancelled without asking a supervisor first. Doc. 46-22 at
8-9 & 13. Even when stagefield mechanics left the field
for an extended period of time or went home early, they still
claimed a full eight hours of work, according to Blackmon.
Docs. 41-2 at 28-29 & 46-22 at 8-10. She contends this
was compensation for hours the stagefield mechanics worked
over their shifts without claiming overtime pay. Doc. 46-22
at 8 & 11. While there is no dispute that this procedure
was a violation of L-3's labor reporting policy, Blackmon
understood it to be the normal operating procedure for
stagefield mechanics. Docs. 41-2 at 28-29 & 46-22 at
Blackmon had two other supervisors during the relevant time
period- Steve Greenwood and Dave Mildenstein. Doc. 46-22 at
9. Blackmon testified that neither Greenwood nor Mildenstein
told her that she could leave her stagefield after inbound
flights were cancelled without asking permission from her
supervisor first. Doc. 41-2 at 32-33. There is also no
evidence that Foxworth or any other supervisor instructed
Blackmon to claim a full eight hours of work on days she left
for an extended period of time or ended her shift early after
inbound flights were cancelled.
The Events ...