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Tyler v. Diamond State Port Corp.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 26, 2019

RUDOLPH B. TYLER, JR., Plaintiff,

          Samuel L. Guy, Wilmington, DE - Attorney for Plaintiff

          Barry M. Willoughby, Lauren E.M. Russell, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, Wilmington, DE - Attorneys for Defendant.



         Plaintiff Rudolph B. Tyler, Jr. (“Plaintiff or “Tyler”) originally filed this employment suit against Diamond State Port Corporation (“Defendant”)[1] on February 2, 2018. (D.I. 1). He filed a First Amended Complaint (“Amended Complaint”) on April 30, 2018. (D.I. 11). In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that “[t]his action is brought for discrimination in employment pursuant to Jurisdiction conferred through Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as codified, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17 (race, color, gender), Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 [(the ‘ADEA')], as codified, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 to 634, 42 USC 1981 and Constitutional Due Process and Equal Protection.” (D.I. 11 ¶ 5). The Amended Complaint also appears to allege retaliation in violation of unspecified statutory or constitutional protections (D.I. 11 ¶ 54), defamation (id. ¶ 70), and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (id. ¶ 81).

         Pursuant to the Court's Scheduling Order, the parties concluded discovery on January 31, 2019. (D.I. 21). Plaintiff did not request any discovery or take any depositions.[2] (D.I. 33 at 1). On March 26, 2019, Defendant moved for summary judgment on all claims. (D.I. 32). Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's motion.[3] For the reasons set forth below, the Court will GRANT Defendant's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following paragraphs are the facts set forth in Defendant's Statement of Concise Facts (D.I. 34). These facts are supported by the appendix Defendant submitted (D.I. 35), and not disputed by Plaintiff.

1. Plaintiff was employed by Defendant from January 1, 2005 through his termination on May 26, 2016. (D.I. 11 ¶10; D.I. 34 ¶ 1).
2. In the present case, Plaintiff was an at-will employee, who could be terminated at any time, for any reason, with or without cause. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 36).
3. At the time of his termination, Plaintiff was employed as a Warehouse Supervisor. (D.I. 11 ¶10; D.I. 34 ¶ 3).
4. As a Warehouse Supervisor, Plaintiff was responsible for overseeing laborers performing a variety of skilled and unskilled tasks. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 36).
5. At all times relevant to this litigation, the laborers under Plaintiff's supervision fell into one of three categories: A Employees, B Employees, and Casual Laborers. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 36).[4]
6. Casual laborers were used to supplement unionized labor as needed, but especially during the Port's labor-intensive, peak season from late November through late April. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 37).
7. Among his many duties, Plaintiff was responsible for tracking and reporting his subordinates' time worked. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 37).
8. Generally, A and B Employees work regular schedules. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 37).
9. After work assignments are handed out to A and B Employees, any casual laborers who appear for work and are needed to supplement the regular workforce are hired for the day, and their names and start times are entered into the Port's payroll system by Manager of Employment and Employee Relations Andrew Markow. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 37, A39).
10. Once on the job, the Warehouse Supervisors enter the actual time worked by casual laborers. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 37, A39).
11. However, not infrequently and especially during the Port's peak season, casual laborers would arrive when Mr. Markow was not present. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 39).
12. In such instances, Warehouse Supervisors would hire the casual laborers they needed to complete their assigned work for the day, and send an email or text message to Mr. Markow so that the individual(s) hired could be added to the payroll system for the day. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 40).
13. In March 2016, Defendant received an anonymous complaint that Plaintiff's subordinate, Casual Laborer Aketa Rembert, was being paid for time that she had not actually worked. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 9, A42; D.I. 11 ¶13; D.I. 23 ¶13).
14. The Port immediately began an investigation under the supervision of Director of Operations Frank Vignuli. (D.I. 23 ¶14; D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
15. The investigation included the review of badge records for Ms. Rembert, which recorded when she entered and exited the Port's premises. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
16. While the turn style at which employees scan their badges is not a time clock, it does provide an accurate record of when they enter and exit the Port's premises. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
17. Access to the Port, through the use of employee badges, is required and monitored by the U.S. Coast Guard. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
18. When there are issues with the accuracy of the turn style, they are resolved immediately. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
19. At no time has the system been down for months on end. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 42).
20. The investigation also involved review of time records reflecting the periods for which Ms. Rembert was supposed to have been working. (D.I. 35 at ¶ 43).
21. The documents reflected that on more than 40 instances from February through April, 2016, Ms. Rembert was paid for full days of work during which she was not present on Port premises, as well as being paid for full days of work on days when she was present, but arrived late. (D.I. 23 ¶ 25; D.I. 35 at ¶ 43).
22. The time records at issue were all entered under Plaintiff's name. (D.I. 35 at ...

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