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Wilson v. Cox

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

June 3, 2014

THEODORE R. WILSON, APPELLANT
v.
TIMOTHY C. COX, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, ARMED FORCES RETIREMENT HOME AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEES

Argued, October 24, 2013

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. (No. 1:06-cv-01585).

Eric D. McArthur, appointed by the court, argued the cause as amicus curiae in support of appellant. With him on the briefs was Jeffrey T. Green, appointed by the court.

Sobia Haque, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, argued the cause for appellees. With her on the brief were Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney, and R. Craig Lawrence, Assistant U.S. Attorney. Jane M. Lyons, Assistant U.S. Attorney, entered an appearance.

Before: KAVANAUGH and SRINIVASAN, Circuit Judges, and EDWARDS, Senior Circuit Judge. Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge SRINIVASAN.

OPINION

Page 245

Srinivasan, Circuit Judge

Theodore Wilson, a former employee of the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington, alleges tat his termination from his position as a security guard was motivated by discrimination based on age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The district court, determining that no reasonable factfinder could conclude that Wilson was discharged because of his age, granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Wilson, however, introduced evidence of two statements made by the person who effected his termination, both of which are indicative of a discriminatory motive. Because those statements, if proven to have been made, would permit a reasonable factfinder to conclude that age-based discrimination led to Wilson's ouster, we reverse and remand for trial proceedings.

I.

We consider the facts in the light most favorable to Wilson, the party against whom summary judgment was granted. See Hampton v. Vilsack, 685 F.3d 1096, 1099, 401 U.S.App. D.C. 472 (D.C. Cir. 2012).

Page 246

Wilson retired from the military in 1974 after having accumulated more than twenty-three years of service in the Air Force and Army. In May 2001, when Wilson was sixty-nine years old, the Armed Forces Retirement Home-Washington (the Home) hired him as a security guard. The Home is one of two facilities operated by the Armed Forces Retirement Home (AFRH), an executive agency. See 24 U.S.C. § 411(a). The other AFRH facility is located in Gulfport, Mississippi. Both facilities provide " residences and related services for certain retired and former members of the Armed Forces." Id. § 411(b).

When he began his work as a security guard at the Home, Wilson did not reside there. In December 2002, Wilson became a resident. At the time, the Home operated a resident employee program under which residents could work at the Home in various positions, including in security and health care services. Wilson decided to become a resident in part because he could continue his employment at the Home as a security guard. The Home's chief of security described Wilson as a " very good employee."

In 2002, Timothy Cox became the AFRH's Chief Operating Officer. Cox decided to replace the resident employee program with a resident stipend program. Under the stipend program, residents could earn no more than $120 per month for twelve hours of work in a " supportive role." Any additional work would be considered an uncompensated donation to the Home. In January 2004, as a result of the dissolution of the resident ...


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