Plaintiff cannot demonstrate any nexus between Oliver's comment
that Emanuel should "stop shuffling around like an old man"*fn10
and the decision to discharge him. Plaintiff testified that he
does not remember when Oliver made the comment to him (see
Smith Decl., Ex. 1 at 90-91), and he has not offered any evidence
that the remark was made close to his discharge. In fact,
Emanuel's deposition testimony indicates that Oliver commented on
his shuffling sometime in early 1997, months before Emanuel was
fired.*fn11 Moreover, plaintiff has offered no evidence that the
remark was related in any way to the decision to discharge him.
See Ruane, 1998 WL 292103, at *8 (verbal comments constitute
sufficient evidence of discrimination when such comments are,
inter alia, proximate in time to the adverse employment
decision and related to the employment decision at issue).
With respect to the remaining remark, Drzik's statement that
Emanuel "would have worked out real well here if we hired you ten
or twenty years ago" arguably indicates that Emanuel would have
been more successful at OWC had he been younger.*fn12 As
discussed above, the comment was made by the person who had
authority over the decision to terminate plaintiff at the very
meeting at which plaintiff was discharged, and appears to be
related to the decision to fire Emanuel. See Ruane, 1998 WL
292103, at *8. This fourth remark, therefore, serves as some
evidence of discrimination on the part of OWC.
In response to plaintiff's discrimination claims, defendants
have presented persuasive, largely unrebutted evidence that they
did not discharge plaintiff because of his age but because of his
poor job performance. In light of the sworn statements of several
OWC directors and consultants attesting to plaintiff's
unsatisfactory performance, the contemporaneous documentary
evidence corroborating the directors' and consultants' criticisms
of Emanuel, and plaintiff's own deposition testimony, a
reasonable jury could only conclude that OWC discharged Emanuel
because of his poor performance on the job and not because of his
age. Moreover, as noted above, plaintiff presents no probative
evidence demonstrating that defendants' proffered reason for
terminating Emanuel — his poor job performance — is a pretext for
In the end, plaintiff's evidence of discrimination boils down
to three facts — his age at the time he was fired, the OWC age
statistics, and Drzik's comments. While these facts may
constitute some evidence of discrimination, they are insufficient
to support a jury verdict in Emanuel's favor. See Viola v.
Philips Med. Sys., 42 F.3d 712, 716 (2d Cir. 1994) ("A grant of
summary judgment is proper only if the evidence
of discriminatory intent is so slight that no rational jury could
find in plaintiff's favor.") (citation omitted); Woroski v.
Nashua Corp., 31 F.3d 105, 109-110 (2d Cir. 1994) ("We recognize
that plaintiffs did advance some evidence of age bias in the
testimony about [plaintiff's supervisor's] statements. But some
evidence is not sufficient to withstand a properly supported
motion for summary judgment."). Accordingly, the motion for
summary judgment must be granted.
Defendants motion for summary judgment is granted and the
complaint is dismissed, with prejudice. The Clerk of the Court
shall enter judgment accordingly.