United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
FMLA retaliation case is before the Court on defendant
ADTRAN, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 17).
ADTRAN argues that plaintiff Lynne Monse cannot prove her
claim that ADTRAN terminated her employment because she took
leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). For the
reasons stated below, the Court grants ADTRAN's motion
for summary judgment.
court shall grant summary judgment if 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). To demonstrate that there is a genuine
dispute as to a material fact that precludes summary
judgment, a party opposing a motion for summary judgment must
cite “to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). “The court need consider only
the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in
the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). When considering a
summary judgment motion, the Court must view the evidence in
the record and draw reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. White v. Beltram Edge
Tool Supply, Inc., 789 F.3d 1188, 1191 (11th Cir. 2015).
Accordingly, the Court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to Ms. Monse.
is a global provider of networking and communications
equipment. ADTRAN supplies equipment that enables voice,
data, video, and internet communications across a variety of
network infrastructures. (Doc. 19-2, p. 11).
hired Ms. Monse as a buyer in November 2008. (Doc. 19-8,
¶ 3.a). Ms. Monse reported directly to the manager of
Indirect Procurement, Mary Stephenson. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 3).
Ms. Stephenson reported to the Director of Global
Procurement. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 3). When Ms. Monse began her
employment, the director of global procurement was Grady
Broadnax. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 3.b).
Ms. Monse's Early Successes and Contributions to
Monse's first performance review, conducted in January
2010, covers Ms. Monse's first full year of employment
with ADTRAN, the 2009 calendar year. (Doc. 19-6, pp. 6-7,
tpp. 20-21). This review is signed by Ms. Stephenson and Mr.
Broadnax. (Doc. 19-6, p. 61). In the overview section, the
Lynne has worked diligently her first year in this position
getting acquainted with ADTRAN's process of reviewing and
negotiating consulting, service and software agreements. As
one of her first assignments, she readily accepted the
challenge of working with HR on an extensive agreement for
HR's new software system, ADP.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 59). The review indicates that Ms. Monse
“[e]xcels in written communications skills and her
piers [sic] often seek her council in this area.” (Doc.
19-6, p. 59). The supervisor comments section of this review
Lynne has proven in her first year to be a positive
contribution to the MRO group. She is dedicated in performing
her job in a timely manner, being customer oriented, and
conscientious in the details of her work. I encourage Lynne
to look for opportunities to expand her knowledge in all
aspects of software, service, consulting and escrow
(Doc. 19-6, p. 61).
months after Ms. Monse received her first review, she took
FMLA leave. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 9). The leave ran from July
23, 2010 to September 10, 2010. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 9).
Monse's second performance review is dated January 2011.
Like the January 2010 review, the January 2011 review covers
the 2010 calendar year, and the review is signed by Ms.
Stephenson and Mr. Broadnax. (Doc. 19-6, p. 64). In the
overview section, the reviewers state:
Lynne had a significant increase in agreements this year and
has done a very good job processing the contracts. She is
detailed in reviewing the contract terms & conditions in
order to reduce the risk to Adtran.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 62). The “areas for improvement”
section states, “Projects or assignments that are
delegated to Lynne will need to be worked by establishing a
timeline. This will provide small goals to achieve, leading
to completing the project/assignment in a reasonable time
frame.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 62). The review recommends that
Ms. Monse participate ADTRAN's learning program by taking
classes in conflict resolution, project management, and
finance. (Doc. 19-6, p. 63). The supervisor comments section
of the review states:
Lynne is a conscious worker and is always receptive to new
opportunities. She keeps a positive attitude under stressful
circumstances. Lynne will be given more opportunities to
become more involved in projects that are assigned to the MRO
Group. This will allow her to hone her skills in time
management, communication, and other areas that will assist
in her growth as a buyer.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 64).
Monse took FMLA leave for the second time from July 11, 2011
to September 30, 2011. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 9).
Monse's performance review from January 2012 is signed by
Ms. Stephenson and Mr. Broadnax and covers the 2011 calendar
year. (Doc. 19-6, p. 67). The overview section of this review
Lynne has effectively developed her skills in negotiating
terms & conditions as well as pricing in software
agreements. She has gained the confidence of her customers
and has been commended on her quick response to their request
[sic]. Lynne also was one of the significant contributors in
achieving MRO's goal of 10% cost savings.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 65). Under strengths, this review states:
Lynne has continued to expand her knowledge and skills in
negotiating software agreements. These can be very
challenging due to the changes in technology and new terms
& conditions used by software companies to protect their
I.P. She was able to achieve a significant cost savings on
several software procurements in 2011.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 65). The supervisor comments section of this
Lynne continues to be a conscientious worker. She has been
very supportive in taking on new responsibilities when the
MRO group lost a buyer position. Lynne keeps a positive
attitude and remains calm when the workload has been very
stressful. I am confident that Lynne will use her MRO
experience and work towards achieving cost savings goals in
her commodities for 2012.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 67). Ms. Monse reviewers recommended the same
subject areas for educational programs as in the previous
year's review. (Doc. 19-6, p. 66).
Monse's performance review from January 2013, covering
the 2012 calendar year, is signed by Ms. Stephenson and Mr.
Broadnax. (Doc. 19-6, p. 71).
overview section, this review states:
Lynne has contributed to the cost savings goal of the MRO
group in 2012 in areas like capital equipment and software.
She also played a major part in the support of the group in
Germany, which was part of the NSN acquisition. Lynne has
supported her customers in spite of the heavy workload.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 68). Under accomplishments, this review
1. Lynne was instrumental in setting up the order process for
GmbH before and after the acquisition. Lynne has worked with
several new ADTRAN GmbH employees and trained them on how to
submit the proper information which has helped the
turn-around time for EPROC GmbH orders.
2. Due to the NSN acquisition the amount of contracts also
increased, Lynne completed several key contracts pertaining
to the acquisition. The international contracts require quite
a bit more information and formal verifications to complete.
3. Lynne completed IT contracts and purchases related to the
NSN acquisition as well as establishing contracts for our new
4. Lynne was able to get additional cost savings for many
capital equipment purchases and was requested by one
engineering group to get involved in the negotiations early
in the process.
5. Lynne worked with Marty Hunt's group to set up 17 new
suppliers for installation services in Mexico. This included
working with our Mexico lawyer to establish a contract that
would better protect ADTRAN in Mexico.
6. In Q1 Lynne worked diligently in negotiating two
significant cost savings with savings with SumTotal ($120K)
and Spirent ($201K).
7. Lynne made a significant personal accomplishment in 2012
by making cost savings presentation for the MRO group. This
presentation was in front of the Purchasing Department, the
Senior VP of Operations and other invited guests. She was
very creative in her presentation and did an excellent job.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 68).
strengths, the 2012 review states that “[o]ne of the
areas that Lynne has shown her skill and knowledge is in the
area of contracts. She works several IT, software and service
contracts at one time and works with the contracts group as
well as the requestor to obtain the best deal for
ADTRAN.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 68). Under areas for
improvement, this review states:
Lynne has negotiated several small and large purchases in
2012 and obtained cost savings for ADTRAN. I would like for
her to track these areas more closely in 2013 so that we can
see the TOTAL savings she has accomplished. This will also
help the MRO group reach our goal for cost savings.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 69). The listed goals for 2013 include,
“[p]ut the toolcrib items out for bid in Q1/Q2.”
(Doc. 19-6, p. 71). The supervisor comments section of this
The MRO group took on the responsibility of supporting the
GmbH group in Europe. Lynne has been instrumental in training
this group on how to submit their requisitions to allow
quicker turn-around time. She has kept a very positive
attitude in spite of a very heavy workload. Lynne's hard
work and support of the MRO group is very much appreciated.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 71). Ms. Monse reviewers recommended that she
participate in an educational program in statistics. (Doc.
19-6, p. 70).
October 2, 2013, Ms. Monse's title changed to procurement
specialist and some of her duties shifted. (Doc. 19-8, p.5,
¶ 9; compare Doc. 19-7, pp. 15- 17,
with Doc. 19-7, pp. 19-20). She acquired many more
management responsibilities. (Doc. 19-7, pp. 19-20).
Monse's performance review from January 2014, covering
the 2013 calendar year, is signed by Ms. Stephenson and
Michael Martin. (Doc. 19-6, p. 74). At the time, Michael
Martin was “in a contract position at ADTRAN.”
(Doc. 19-7, ¶ 2.a). In the overview section, this review
Lynne has made a significant contribution to the Indirect
Procurement cost savings goal. She has done a good job
supporting the demands of the Indirect Procurement group
while we have been short staffed. Lynne has shown improvement
in her position and overall performance as a buyer.
(Doc. 19-6, p. 72). Under accomplishments, this review lists,
among others, that Ms. Monse “[a]chieved a cost savings
of approx. $475K for the year; which included several
individual cost savings ranging from $70 up to $100K”;
“[n]egotiated with a very difficult supplier . . . to
waive a transfer of a software license of $17K”; and
“received several positive comments this year on a job
well done, ” including a comment that Ms. Monse helped
achieve “pricing lower than we have ever seen
before.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 72). Under strengths, this
review states that “Lynne has improved her negotiating
skills to the level of being a significant contributor to the
MRO cost savings goal. She has gained the confidence of
vice-presidents, managers, and departments in her ability to
obtain additional cost savings.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 72).
Further, the follow-up from Ms. Monse's last review
states that “[i]n the last review Lynne's area of
improvement was to improve in tracking her cost savings. She
has achieved this goal and also improved in the area of total
cost savings.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 72).
only area for improvement stated in the 2013 review is
“[c]ontinue to look for cost savings opportunities and
process improvements in her commodities.” (Doc. 19-6,
p. 72). The goals listed for 2014 are to “[c]omplete
RFP and award of tool crib contract, ”
“[c]omplete MSA with Spirent with a negotiated discount
for all purchases, ” “[c]omplete MSA with Shenick
with a negotiated discount for all purchases, ” and
“[c]ontinue to support the Indirect Procurement Group
in achieving cost saving goals.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 74).
Again, Ms. Monse reviewers recommended that she participate
in an educational program in statistics. (Doc. 19-6, p. 73).
The supervisor comments state that “Lynne has shown
improvement in her overall performance. She is a valuable
part of the Indirect Procurement Group. I encourage Lynne to
continue to grow in her new job title as a Procurement
Specialist.” (Doc. 19-6, p. 74).
Mr. Martin Replaces Mr. Broadnax as Ms. Monse's
Martin replaced Mr. Broadnax as Director of Global
Procurement in February 2014. (Doc. 19-7, ¶ 2.a; Doc.
19-8, ¶ 3.b). When Mr. Martin became Director of Global
Procurement, he “immediately increased the expectations
of the department” because he “did not feel the
team was performing at a high level.” (Doc. 19-7,
¶ 3; see also Doc. 19-6, pp. 3-4, tpp. 8-9).
Mr. Martin revisited some policies. For example, Mr. Martin
asked to sign all insertion orders. (Doc. 19-1, pp. 18-19,
tpp. 67-69). An insertion order is submitted to marketing and
is required to hold a company's place in advertising.
(Doc. 19-1, p. 18, tp. 68).
after Mr. Martin arrived, Ms. Monse took FMLA leave. This was
her third leave; it lasted from April 17, 2014 to May 8,
2014. (Doc. 19-8, ¶ 9). According to Ms. Monse, when she
returned from this leave, Ms. Stephenson's ...