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Unformatted text preview: Sheet1 Page 1 FindLaw | Legal Professionals | Students | Business | Public | News E-mail@Justice.com | MY FindLaw [Image] [FindLaw.com for Legal Professionals] Cases & Codes | Forms | Legal Subjects | Federal | State | Library | Boards Lawyers | Lawyer Jobs | CLE FindLaw: Laws: Cases and Codes: SUPREME COURT Opinions [options] Email a Link to This Case http://laws.findlaw.com/us/000/99-536.html Jump to: [Opinion] [Concurrence] REEVES v. SANDERSON PLUMBING PRODUCTS, INC. certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the fifth circuit No. 99-536. Argued March 21, 2000--Decided June 12, 2000 Petitioner Reeves, 57, and Joe Oswalt, in his mid-30's, were the supervisors in one of respondent's departments known as the "Hinge Room," which was managed by Russell Caldwell, 45. Reeves' responsibilities included recording the attendance and hours worked by employees under his supervision. In 1995, Caldwell informed Powe Chesnut, the company's director of manufacturing, that Hinge Room production was down because employees were often absent, coming in late, and leaving early. Because the monthly attendance reports did not indicate a problem, Chesnut ordered an audit, which, according to his testimony, revealed numerous timekeeping errors and misrepresentations by Caldwell, Reeves, and Oswalt. Chesnut and other company officials recommended to the company president, Sandra Sanderson, that Reeves and Caldwell be fired, and she complied. Reeves filed this suit, contending that he had been terminated because of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). At trial, respondent contended Reeves had been fired due to his failure to maintain accurate attendance records. Reeves attempted to demonstrate that this explanation was pretext for age discrimination, introducing evidence that he had accurately recorded the attendance and hours of the employees he supervised, and that Chesnut, whom Oswalt described as wielding "absolute power" within the company, had demonstrated age-based animus in his dealings with him. The District Court denied respondent's motions for judgment as a matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50, and Sheet1 Page 2 the case went to the jury, which returned a verdict for Reeves. The Fifth Circuit reversed. Although recognizing that Reeves may well have offered sufficient evidence for the jury to have found that respondent's explanation was pretextual, the court explained that this did not mean that Reeves had presented sufficient evidence to show that he had been fired because of his age. In finding the evidence insufficient, the court weighed the additional evidence of discrimination introduced by Reeves against other circumstances surrounding his discharge, including that Chesnut's age-based comments were not made in the direct context of Reeves' termination who recommended his firing were motivated by age were over 50 recordkeeping Reeves was fired....
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