United States District Court, E.D. New York
June 15, 2005.
DR. ELAINE M. ANCEKEWICZ, Plaintiff,
LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENIS HURLEY, District Judge
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Dr. Elaine M. Ancekewicz ("Ancekewicz"), the above-captioned
Plaintiff, brought the present ERISA suit against Defendant Long
Island University ("LIU"), her former employer. The complaint
alleges that LIU terminated Ancekewicz's employment in
retaliation for her inquiries regarding retirement benefits. LIU
has moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the motion is granted,
and this case is dismissed. BACKGROUND
According to Ancekewicz's complaint, she was hired to work at
LIU on or about September 21, 2001 as the "Director of Non-Credit
and Special Programs" at LIU's C.W. Post campus in Nassau County.
Ancekewicz was interviewed for the position by Dr. Nishan
Najarian, who served as "University Dean of the School of
Continuing Studies," and was apparently her supervisor. In an
affidavit submitted in support of LIU's present motion, Najarian
states Ancekewicz's appointment was for one academic year only,
and that "[a]t no time did I inform plaintiff that she would be
entitled to retirement benefits," and that "[t]he determination
as to whether an employee is eligible to participate in LIU's
retirement plan . . . is made solely by the Payroll Department."
However, Ancekewicz alleges that she would not have accepted
LIU's offer of employment were it not for a promise by Najarian
"that she would be receiving full retirement benefits through
TIAA-CREF, an employee benefit plan." And according to
Ancekewicz, upon commencing employment she was "given a benefits
packet which stated that participation in the TIAA-CREF
retirement plan required 1 year of service but that prior years
of service with an eligible employer could satisfy the 1 year
requirement." Ancekewicz states that she had "many years of prior
service with eligible employers," "provided her TIAA-CREF number"
on the benefits forms as instructed, and "was told by LIU's
benefits and personnel offices that payments would then be made
According to the complaint, in January 2002 Ancekewicz
contacted Joan Liacono, the Director of payroll and personnel
records in LIU's benefits office, as well as Najarian, and advised them that LIU had failed to make any
contributions to TIAA-CREF on her behalf thus far, in
contravention of Najarian's promise and the information contained
in her benefits packet. According to Ancekwicz, Najarian told her
that he would speak about the matter to George Sutton, LIU's
counsel, but when Ancekewicz herself "attempted on several
occasions to meet with Sutton, [she] was referred back to
Ancekewicz's complaint further alleges that when she met with
Najarian on or about February 26, 2002 to discuss her benefits,
"she was presented with a warning letter." She was then informed
in the following month by Elaine Crosson, LIU's associate
counsel, that she was not entitled to retirement benefits. In
April 2002 Ancekewicz spoke with Mary Lai, LIU's treasurer,
regarding her benefits. Hearing nothing further, on May 15, 2002
Ancekewicz sent Najarian an e-mail that stated in relevant part:
"What is the status of my retirement benefits? Do I need to hire
an attorney? I am really not willing to wait any longer."
Approximately eight days later, says Ancewicz, she "received a
check for the amount she would have received had she been in the
TIAA-CREF retirement plan." On June 17, 2002, Najarian and LIU's
Provost met with Ancekewicz, and informed her that her contract
would not be renewed, and that she was terminated, but would
continue to receive her salary until August 31, 2002.
Ancekewicz's complaint alleges that "LIU terminated
Ancekewicz's employment because she exercised her right to
recover retirement benefits contained in an employee benefit
plan." Ancekewicz states that her "job performance was more than
satisfactory," and that she "received positive written and verbal
feedback from her superiors, co-workers, outside colleagues and
prospective students." The Defendants, however, insist otherwise. According to LIU's uncontroverted Rule 56.1 Statement,*fn1
within six weeks of the commencement of Ancekewicz's employment,
Najarian began to receive complaints about her behavior. A
November 12, 2001 memorandum of complaint from Joan Viesta,
Assistant Dean of the School of Continuing Studies, noted
Ancekewicz's "reluctance to assist in the functioning of the
office while the department was short staffed." Another
memorandum from Viesta dated two days later describes a complaint
received from an LIU telephone operator that Ancekewicz treated
him rudely while he attempted to assist her with locating a
telephone number. Another, similar, complaint was filed by the
operator following a similar incident in early December 2001.
LIU's Rule 56.1 Statement states that at about that time,
Najarian "approached plaintiff about the problems concerning her
interaction with other employees," but continued to receive
complaints about Ancekewicz's performance. On February 26, 2002
Najarian wrote Ancekewicz a memorandum noting the complaints of
various LIU employees and faculty members who "feel `insulted' by
the way you talk to them," stating that "[o]ne of the critical
requirements of this position is to have good communication and
interpersonal skills," and warning that "your employment will be terminated if there is
another incident in which you fail to deal with your colleagues
or other constituents in an appropriate and satisfactory manner."
(This is apparently the "warning letter" to which Ancekewicz's
complaint refers.) Ancekewicz responded the following day with
her own memorandum, which states in relevant part that "[m]y
personality is neither rebarbarative nor authoritarian, as is
that of a number of my colleagues, who seem to be doing just
fine," and that "I certainly am more polite and respectful to the
individuals with whom I interact and many have said so."
"[F]or a period of time" thereafter, according to LIU, the
complaints regarding Ancekewicz's interpersonal relations
"subsided." However, complaints regarding Ancekewicz resumed in
June 2002. On June 13, Sue Oatey, Associate Provost for Student
Affairs, wrote to Najarian to inform him that Ancekewicz "was
quite firmly negative in her response to my request for an
emergency contact number," had disregarded certain New York State
vaccination requirements for international students, and had
"reportedly counseled a prospective student to attend classes
prior to receiving an appropriate visa, this being in direct
conflict with what the staff of International Student Services
had told the individual." On the same day, Oatey had apparently
received a letter from Yocasta Brens, a member of International
Student Services, noting that Ancekewicz "suggested that we
simply tell the Immigration and Naturalization Service that [the]
student . . . is not registered for courses . . . but simply
auditing," and had disregarded, or encouraged others to
disregard, other federal regulations regarding the issuance of
student visas. Brens's letter also noted that Ancekewicz "has on
several occasions made comments in regards to all international
students wanting to immigrate to the U.S.," and that "I have been contacted by administrators at other institutions
who feel that her behavior has been inappropriate and not the
image we should be projecting." Also on June 13, 2002, the
employee of an outside food vendor wrote to complain that
Ancekewicz had been "very abrasive" regarding a problem with a
Despite being informed of her termination on June 17, 2002, LIU
states that "plaintiff continued to report to work," and
"[c]onsequently, on June 24, 2002, plaintiff was relieved of her
duties and asked to leave the premises."
Ancekewicz filed the present lawsuit on August 12, 2002. The
Defendants filed the present summary judgment motion on August
26, 2004. Since her original and substitute attorneys have
withdrawn from representation, Ancekewicz has been afforded pro
se status, and was timely served with a "Notice to Pro Se
Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" pursuant to Local
Rule of Civil Procedure 56.2. The first page of the notice states
in relevant part: "THE CLAIMS ASSERTED IN YOUR COMPLAINT MAY BE
DISMISSED WITHOUT A TRIAL IF YOU DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS MOTION by
filing your own sworn affidavits or other papers as required by
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure." The notice then
included the text of Rule 56, and further explained that "Rule 56
provides that you may not oppose summary judgment simply by
relying on the allegations in your amended complaint. Rather, you
must submit evidence, such as witness statements or exhibits,
countering the facts asserted by the defendant and raising a
genuine issue of material fact for trial." The notice further
warns that "[i]f you do not respond to the motion for summary
judgment with affidavits or documentary evidence contradicting
the facts asserted by the defendant, the Court will be required to accept defendant's factual allegations as true."
Ancekewicz has not submitted any memoranda, statement of facts,
or affidavits or other evidence in response to LIU's motion.
Instead, she has sent several letters to the Court arguing that
LIU's motion consists of "blatant bald intentionally fallacious
claims," and that "the crooks at Cullen & Dykman and Ms. Murphy,"
have a conflict of interest in their representation of LIU and
have "continued syphoning . . . funds from my employer," have
"tried to substitute doctored documents for the actual ones," and
have "presented unsubstantiated blatant lies as facts."
Ancekewicz's letters further object to this Court's continued
refusal to meet with her ex parte, a meeting that she claims
"would render moot the question of summary judgment," and to this
Court's refusal to appoint an attorney to represent her.
Ancekewicz has also re-sent copies of a three-page letter dated
October 10, 2003 from Brian K. Saltz, her former attorney
(hereinafter, the "Saltz letter"), written to oppose LIU's
request for a pre-motion conference. (See Denis R. Hurley
Individual Practice Rules 2.A and 2.B.)
I. Summary Judgment: Legal Standards
Summary judgment is generally appropriate where the "pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Viola v. Philips
Med. Sys. of N. Am., 42 F.3d 712, 716 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). The party seeking summary judgment "bears
the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for
its motion," and identifying which materials "it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once the moving party has offered some evidence that no genuine
issue of material fact remains to be tried, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to provide similar evidence indicating that
a genuine, triable issue remains. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
Affidavits submitted in opposition to summary judgment must be
based on personal knowledge, must "set forth such facts as would
be admissible in evidence," and must show that the affiant is
"competent to testify to the matters stated therein." Patterson
v. County of Oneida, N.Y., 375 F.3d 206, 219 (2d Cir. 2004)
(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). When determining whether a
genuinely disputed factual issue exists, "a trial judge must bear
in mind the actual quantum and quality of proof necessary to
support liability," or "the substantive evidentiary standards
that apply to the case." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 254-55 (1986).
In deciding a summary judgment motion, a court must resolve all
factual ambiguities and draw all reasonable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Donahue v. Windsor Locks Bd. of Fire
Comm'rs, 834 F.2d 54, 57 (2d Cir. 1987). But it is
well-established that a non-movant cannot defeat summary judgment
with nothing more than "unsupported assertions," Goenaga v.
March of Dimes Birth Defects Found., 51 F.3d 14, 18 (2d Cir.
1995), or the allegations in its pleadings. Cifarelli v. Vill.
of Babylon, 93 F.3d 47, 51 (2d Cir. 1996); Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e). More particularly, although "summary judgment should be used sparingly" in cases where the material fact at
issue is the defendant's intent or motivation, the plaintiff must
nevertheless offer some "concrete evidence" in his favor, and is
"not entitled to a trial simply because the determinative issue
focuses upon the defendant's state of mind." Dister v. Cont'l
Group, Inc., 859 F.2d 1108, 1114 (2d Cir. 1998). "The summary
judgment rule would be rendered sterile . . . if the mere
incantation of intent or state of mind would operate as a
talisman to defeat an otherwise valid motion." Meiri v. Dacon,
759 F.2d 989, 998 (2d Cir. 1985).
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) provides that if a
non-moving party fails to oppose a summary judgment motion,
judgment shall be entered against that party "if appropriate."
The Second Circuit has warned, however, that "the failure to
oppose a motion for summary judgment alone does not justify the
granting of summary judgment"; rather, when faced with an
unopposed motion for summary judgment, a district court "must
still assess whether the moving party has fulfilled its burden of
demonstrating that there is no genuine issue of material fact and
its entitlement to judgment as a matter of law." Vt. Teddy Bear
Co., Inc. v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d 241, 244 (2d Cir.
Pro se plaintiffs deserve "special latitude on summary judgment
motions," McDonald v. Doe, 650 F. Supp. 858, 861 (S.D.N.Y.
1986), and the submissions of pro se litigants must be
"generously and liberally construed." Kadosh v. TRW, Inc., No.
91 Civ. 5080, 1994 WL 681763, at *5 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 5, 1994).
Nevertheless, a pro se plaintiff's "`bald assertion,' made
without any evidentiary support, `is not sufficient to overcome a
motion for summary judgment.'" Burke v. Royal Ins. Co., 39 F.
Supp.2d 251, 257 (E.D.N.Y. 1999) (quoting Lee v. Coughlin, 902 F. Supp. 424, 429 (S.D.N.Y.
II. As Plaintiff Has Failed To Show the Presence of Any
Material Issue of Fact Tending To Rebut the Defendant's Proffered
Lawful Reason for Her Termination, Summary Judgment Is Granted.
A. ERISA's Section 510: legal standards
Ancekewicz alleges as her sole cause of action that her
employment at LIU was terminated in violation of Section 510 of
the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA),
codified at 29 U.S.C. § 1140. Section 510 states in relevant
It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge,
fine, suspend, expel, discipline, or discriminate
against a participant or beneficiary for exercising
any right to which he is entitled under the
provisions of an employee benefit plan . . . or for
the purpose of interfering with the attainment of any
right to which such participant may become entitled
under the plan . . . The provisions of section 1132
of this title [governing civil actions to enforce
ERISA's provisions] shall be applicable in the
enforcement of this section.
The Second Circuit has held that the plain language of this
provision indicates that in order to state a claim under Section
510, the plaintiff must establish as an "essential element" that
the employer's action was at least partially motivated by the
specific intent to engage in the prohibited retaliatory conduct.
Dister v. Cont'l Group, Inc., 859 F.2d 1108
, 1111 (2d Cir.
1988). There is no cause of action where the loss of benefits
"was a mere consequence of, but not a motivating factor behind, a
termination of employment." Id. Thus, in order to defeat
summary judgment, Ancekewicz must adduce some evidence from which
a reasonable jury could conclude that LIU terminated her
employment with the intent to prevent her obtainment of
retirement benefits. See Lightfoot v. Union Carbide Corp.,
110 F.3d 898, 906 (2d Cir. 1997).
"Because the existence of a specific intent to interfere with
an employee's benefit rights is critical in § 510 cases yet is
seldom the subject of direct proof," courts analyze ERISA
retaliation claims using the familiar "burden-shifting"
methodology first developed for employment discrimination claims
in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-05
(1973). Dister, 859 F.2d at 1111-12.
Under McDonnell Douglas and its progeny, the plaintiff has
the initial burden of demonstrating a prima facie case of
discrimination; if the plaintiff succeeds in doing so, the burden
shifts to the defendant to articulate some legitimate,
non-discriminatory reason for the allegedly discriminatory
action; should the defendant carry this burden, the plaintiff
must then produce sufficient evidence to indicate that the
legitimate reasons offered by the defendant were but a pretext
for discrimination. Id. at 1111 (internal quotations omitted).
At summary judgment, the plaintiff's burden of proving that the
employer's reason is pretextual then merges with her "ultimate
burden" of persuading the trier of fact that she was the victim
of intentional discrimination. Id. at 1112; see also Richane
v. Fairport Central Sch. Dist., 179 F. Supp.2d 81, 86 (W.D.N.Y.
2001). The plaintiff may show pretext directly, by persuading the
court that there are material issues of fact that, if ultimately
resolved in her favor, would demonstrate that a discriminatory
reason more likely than not motivated the employer.
Alternatively, the plaintiff may show pretext indirectly, by
showing that the employer's proffered explanation for her
termination is unworthy of credence. Dister, 859 F.2d at 113.
B. Under the McDonnell Douglas analysis, Plaintiff's claim
fails because she has not identified any evidence tending to show that the
Defendant's proffered explanation for her termination was
LIU devotes considerable space in its brief to its arguments
that under the relevant governing provisions of ERISA, Ancekewicz
lacks standing to bring the present claim and fails to make out a
prima facie case of unlawful termination under Section 510,
because she was never eligible to receive benefits under LIU's
retirement plan, and was thus neither a plan participant nor a
plan beneficiary. See 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a). Rather than delve
into these issues, however, the Court will simply assume
arguendo that Ancekewicz has standing as a plan participant
and has met her burden of demonstrating a prima facie case that
she was terminated in retaliation for inquiring about her
benefits. Ancekewicz's claims still must fail, however, because
LIU has responded to her prima facie showing by offering a
legitimate reason for its decision to terminate her, and
Ancekewicz has failed to offer any indication that LIU's
proffered reason is pretextual.
An ERISA defendant's burden of offering a legitimate
non-discriminatory reason for its actions is "relatively light";
"[t]he employer need not persuade the court that it was motivated
by the reason it provides; rather, it must simply articulate an
explanation that, if true, would connote lawful behavior."
Greenway v. Buffalo Hilton Hotel, 143 F.3d 47, 52 (2d Cir.
Numerous federal discrimination cases analyzed under the
McDonnell Douglas framework have held that legitimate,
non-discriminatory reasons for discharging a plaintiff-employee
can include that individual's poor interpersonal skills,
uncooperative behavior, inability to get along with others, or bad attitude in general.
See, e.g., Thomson v. Saatchi & Saatchi Holdings (USA), Inc.,
958 F. Supp. 808, 822 (W.D.N.Y. 1997) (defendants' legitimate,
non-discriminatory reasons for plaintiff's discharge included
plaintiff's failure to "get along with his colleagues and
subordinates," and "complaints about plaintiff's personality from
one of defendants' largest clients"); Ebbin v. Indep. Television
Network, No. 95 Civ. 10097, 1997 WL 441943, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. Aug.
5, 1997) (personality or attitude are legitimate
non-discriminatory reasons for dismissal); and Reed v. Conn.,
Dep't of Transp., 161 F. Supp.2d 73, 84 (D. Conn. 2001)
(employee's record of "disruptive" and "insubordinate and
uncooperative" behavior, prior written reprimands, and "`needs
improvement' rating for his interpersonal skills" were
legitimate, non-discriminatory rationale for employer's failure
to promote him); see also Simpson v. Ernst & Young,
879 F. Supp. 802, 817 (S.D. Ohio 1994) (legitimate, non-discriminatory
reasons for ERISA plaintiff's discharge included his "poor
attitude"). The federal discrimination statutes bar retaliation
against the exercise of protected rights; "they do `not clothe
the complainant with immunity for past and present inadequacies,
unsatisfactory performance, and uncivil conduct.'" Mesnick v.
Gen. Elec. Co., 950 F.2d 816, 828-29 (1st Cir. 1991) (quoting
Jackson v. St. Joseph State Hosp., 840 F.2d 1387, 1391 (8th
Cir. 1988)) (emphasis added).
It also does not matter whether the plaintiff's attitude was
caused by the behavior of her coworkers. See Allen v. City of
Yonkers, 803 F. Supp. 679, 708 (S.D.N.Y. 1992) ("Conflicts with
those in authority may constitute valid reasons for discharge,
whether or not the conflict entails fault on the part of the
employee."). Further, the mere perception that an employee has a bad attitude is sufficient grounds for his
termination. See Humphreys v. Bellaire Corp., 966 F.2d 1037,
1044 (6th Cir. 1992) (where plaintiff "was perceived as being out
for himself rather than being a company man," defendant had
legitimate reason for terminating him).
Evidence that a plaintiff's co-workers informed her supervisor
that she was deficient are not hearsay and would be admissible at
trial, so long as they are not introduced to prove the truth of
the underlying facts asserted, but merely to show that the
supervisor had reasonable grounds for believing that the
plaintiff was sub-par and worthy of termination; thus, such
evidence may be considered, and weighed in favor of the
defendant, on summary judgment. See DeLeonardis v. Credit
Agricole Indosuez, No. 00 Civ. 138, 2000 WL 1718543, at *12
(S.D.N.Y. Nov. 15, 2000) (finding "no hearsay issue" where
employer seeks to introduce prior statements made to managers
about plaintiff's earlier misconduct, "because what matters is
not what actually occurred," but "what senior management
reasonably believed and relied on in making their decision to
terminate the plaintiff"). In the present case, the exhibits
submitted by LIU indicate that Najarian and LIU had a reasonable
basis to believe that Ancekewicz was a disagreeable person who
was chronically incapable of getting along with others, and thus
had a legitimate and non-discriminatory reason for firing her.
Nothing in the Saltz Letter, or any of Ancekewicz's other
submissions in response to the present motion, remotely suggests
any refutation of LIU's proffered reason for her termination.
However, in an abundance of caution and in light of Ancekewicz's
pro se status, see Cruz v. Gomez, 202 F.3d 593, 597 (2d Cir.
2000), this Court will construe various portions of the unverified complaint as pre-emptive attempts to
show pretext behind LIU's rationales. See also Chambers v. TRM
Copy Ctrs. Corp., 43 F.3d 29, 38 (2d Cir. 1994) ("Pretext may be
demonstrated either by the presentation of additional evidence
showing that the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of
credence, or by reliance on the evidence comprising the prima
facie case, without more.") (emphases added) (citation omitted);
and Lizardo v. Denny's, Inc., 270 F.3d 94, 103 (2d Cir. 2001)
(at summary judgment stage of discrimination case, "the court
must examine the entire record to determine if plaintiffs meet
their ultimate burden of persuading the fact-finder . . .").
Specifically, the Court will treat Ancekewicz's statements (at
Complaint, ¶ 11) that her "job performance was more than
satisfactory," and that she "received positive written and verbal
feedback from her superiors, co-workers, outside colleagues and
prospective students" as attempting to demonstrate pretext, by
suggesting that LIU's proffered grounds for her termination are
false. But even these assertions, broadly construed, fail to
suggest pretext behind Ancekewicz's termination, and thus fail to
defeat summary judgment.
Where an employer's proffered reason for terminating an
employee is the employee's poor attitude or interpersonal skills,
it is immaterial whether the defendant's perception of the
plaintiff's attitude is actually correct; even if an employer is
mistaken as to a plaintiff's bad performance or attitude, his
decision to terminate her is still legitimate and
non-discriminatory, so long as the mistake was in good faith.
See Gandelman v. Aetna Ambulance Serv., Inc.,
48 F. Supp.2d 169, 175 (D. Conn. 1999) ("Defendants may have made a mistake in
thinking that plaintiff had stolen company goods, but that,
without more, does not lead to the conclusion that they were discharging him in order to
be able to obtain less expensive group health coverage.") (citing
Dister, 859 F.2d at 1116).
Similarly, an employee's "opinion about [her] own
qualifications does not suffice to give rise to an issue of fact
about whether [she] was discriminated against," Hines v.
Hillside Children's Ctr., 73 F. Supp.2d 308, 320 (W.D.N.Y.
1999), and "[t]he fact that an employee disagrees with an
employer's evaluation of [her] does not prove pretext." Billet
v. CIGNA Corp., 940 F.2d 812, 825 (3d Cir. 1991) (overruled in
part on other grounds, St. Mary's Honor Ctr., 509 U.S. 502
(1993)). Moreover, it is of no import that the employee had other
good qualities or made other positive contributions to the
workplace, or whether the decision to terminate the plaintiff was
ill-advised overall; "Section 510 protects employees from conduct
designed to deprive them of rights created under employee benefit
plans; it does not cast liability on an employer for misjudgments
respecting an employee's contribution to the company." Dister,
859 F.2d at 1116. Thus, "[e]vidence that an employer made a poor
business judgment in discharging an employee generally is
insufficient to establish a genuine issue of fact as to the
credibility of the employer's reasons." Id. "ERISA's goal of
protecting [pension and other] benefits from interference does
not transform ERISA's statutory scheme into a federal job
protection scheme." Raymond v. Mobil Oil Corp., 983 F.2d 1528,
1539 (10th Cir. 1993).
In the present case, LIU has offered ample evidence that it
received repeated complaints regarding Ancekewicz's behavior and
attitude; those complaints provide a sufficient, legitimate,
non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory reason for her
termination. Ancekewicz has offered no reason why LIU should reasonably have
doubted the veracity of those complaints. Ancekewicz may disagree
with the assessments made in the complaints, and may have had
other positive qualifications for her job. But that is not
sufficient to demonstrate "that a discriminatory reason more
likely motivated [LIU]" or "that [LIU]'s proffered explanation is
unworthy of credence." See Dister, 859 F.2d at 1112-13,
1116-17. Ancekewicz thus fails to demonstrate that the grounds
given for her termination are pretexts for discrimination or
retaliation in violation of ERISA, and therefore fails to
demonstrate the existence of a material factual issue that could
preclude summary judgment. Accordingly, summary judgment for the
Defendant is warranted and granted.
For all of the above reasons, the Defendant's motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED, and Plaintiff's claim is hereby
DISMISSED. The Clerk of Court is directed to CLOSE this case.