responsible for training the new worker in those tasks that Ms.
Freitas performed at the time. Id. at 44-45. When Ms. Freitas
asked Richard where this new worker would sit, she claims that
he explained that the new worker would take over Ms. Freitas'
desk. Id. at 45. Richard allegedly explained that he was "not
happy and people still complain[ed] about [Ms. Freitas] on the
phone." Id. at 46. Despite Ms. Freitas' claim that the new
worker, Ida, was an inferior worker, it was Ms. Freitas who was
asked to leave Gypsum for the third time in 6 months (the first
time being in May, the second was directly before Rose was
hired). Id. at 62, 67. See also id. at 63 (May firing);
Id. at 66 (Rose).
Ms. Freitas claims that in late August, Richard Phillips fired
her, but that that other Gypsum workers asked her to stay. See
Freitas Aff. ¶ 52-68. Nonetheless, she was told "don't worry, go
home." Id. at ¶ 68.
It is undisputed that Ms. Freitas subsequently sent two
letters to Gypsum, dated September 2, 1999 and 7, 1999,
respectively. See Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 4. See also
Freitas Aff. Exhs. D, E. In the September 2nd letter, addressed
to Stephen Phillips, Ms. Freitas writes, "[a]s per our last week
conversation, we agreed that from August 20 trough [sic]
September 3, I would take time off." Freitas Aff. Exh. D. In the
September 7th letter, also addressed to Stephen Phillips, Ms.
Freitas writes, "[a]s per Mr. Richard W. Phillips decision on
August 25, 1999, I am filling [sic] for unemployment started
[sic] September 7, 1999." Freitas Aff. Exh. E.
Defendants Gypsum and Richard W. Phillips deny all claims of
discrimination, retaliation, and maintaining a hostile work
environment. Specifically, they claim the their employment of
Ms. Freitas was riddled with problems. Defendants claim that
Plaintiffs work was "extremely weak," and reflected deficiencies
in her work and communication skills. S. Phillips Aff. ¶¶ 7-9.
They point to the errors in the September 1999 letters as
examples of the poor grammar and spelling they say plagued the
communications that Ms. Freitas composed while at Gypsum. Id.
at ¶ 13. Defendants claim that they received complaints
regarding Plaintiffs communication skills from their clients.
Id. at ¶ 12. Defendants claim that Ms. Freitas was not in fact
fired, but rather took a voluntary leave of absence from which
she never returned. Id. at ¶ 15.
Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine
issues of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-50, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A genuine issue for trial exists if, based
on the record as a whole, a reasonable jury could find in favor
of the non-movant. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248, 106
S.Ct. 2505. In making its determination, the court must resolve
all ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of
the non-movant. See id. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505. To defeat
summary judgment, the non-moving party must go beyond the
pleadings and "must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct.
1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). When opposing a motion for summary
judgment, it is not sufficient for the non-moving party to
present evidence that is conclusory or speculative, with no
basis in fact. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50, 106
It is clear that at the very least there are several material
facts in dispute
regarding the reasons for Ms. Freitas' termination. While Ms.
Freitas claims that her termination was related to her accent
and her national origin, the Defendants instead argue that they
were simply making a business decision with an eye to satisfying
their clients, who they claim had complained about Ms. Freitas's
accent. Ms. Freitas in turn argues that Defendants cannot
produce evidence of any client complaints regarding her work at
Gypsum. Furthermore, and more fundamentally, there is an issue
of fact as to whether Ms. Freitas was actually terminated by the
Defendants, or whether she left by her own choice.
Given these and other material facts in dispute, summary
judgment is inappropriate at this time. Insofar as facts adduced
at trial might be insufficient to support some or all of
plaintiffs federal and state law claims, the Court will address
those issues at the appropriate time.
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants motion for summary
judgment is DENIED.
This constitutes the decision and order of the Court.