Sempier v. Johnson & Higgins

45 F.3d 724 (3rd Cir. 1995), cert denied, 515 U.S. 1159 (1995)


P joined D. In 1984, D created a new position of Chief Financial Officer and the Board of Directors elected P to that post. In 1985, one year after P assumed his duties as CFO, an outside audit of the Finance Department criticized the department's operations. Despite criticisms, D unanimously elected P to the Board of Directors in 1986. In May 1987, D removed P from his responsibilities as CFO and made him Chief Administrative Officer ('CAO') in charge of Management Information Systems ('MIS'), Human Resources, Professional Development, and Real Estate and Facilities. P was unanimously re-elected to the Board in 1989. D eventually hired Thomas Carpenter, who is four years younger than P, to assume responsibility for Human Resources and Professional Development, starting in May 1990. Carpenter's arrival left P with significantly reduced responsibilities. In May 1989, D had instituted an early retirement program to retire 'redundant' and 'poorly performing' employees who were 55 years of age or older. In April 1990, Hatcher, who was still the Chairman of D, advised P to retire early with certain enhancements to his existing retirement package. Hatcher claimed that P had 'lost credibility' with unnamed senior managers. P refused to retire. Hatcher responded, using strong and unequivocal language, that P had no choice but to retire or to be forced out. P was forced out and told that he should no longer return to work. P then filed an age discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, received a right to sue letter, and instituted an ADEA suit. P served two sets of interrogatories, and a series of document requests on D. D refused to respond, and P sought an order from the magistrate judge which would have compelled D to respond. The magistrate judge denied the motion, and on appeal, the district court judge vacated the order of denial but remanded the dispute to the magistrate judge without entering an order compelling discovery. The magistrate judge relieved D from answering the original two sets of interrogatories and required that P draft a third set of interrogatories. D refused to answer, and P again sought a second order compelling discovery. The magistrate judge denied P's motion to compel answers and ordered D to provide information responding to a 'Bill of Particulars' drafted by the court. The district court affirmed the magistrate judge's order and added one question of its own to the 'Bill of Particulars.' The discovery dispute was never ending, and P filed more motions to compel and for partial summary judgment and D filed its own motion for summary judgment. The district court granted D's summary judgment and dismissed the remaining pendent claims without prejudice. The district court held that P had not produced sufficient evidence to allow a jury to find that D’s alleged nondiscriminatory reasons were a pretext for discrimination. P appealed.