University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hodczak v. Latrobe Specialty Steel Company EE-PA-0238
Docket / Court 08-649 ( W.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Case Summary
On May 13, 2007, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Latrobe Specialty Steel Company. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and damages on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated claiming that Latrobe ... read more >
On May 13, 2007, the plaintiffs filed this lawsuit in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Latrobe Specialty Steel Company. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief and damages on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated claiming that Latrobe violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621.

The plaintiffs alleged that Latrobe engaged in practices that discriminated against its older work force in conducting terminations and forced retirements over an extended period time. The four plaintiffs named in the complaint are all over the age of fifty and had worked at Latrobe for a number of years. They were all terminated after sending and receiving inappropriate material on their Latrobe email accounts, and were replaced by younger employees. The plaintiffs claimed that they suffered disparate treatment under the ADEA in that Latrobe's stated justifications for terminating the plaintiffs were a pretext for willful age discrimination, as well as disparate impact under the ADEA, because Latrobe favored younger employees and targeted older ones in deciding who would be terminated following the discovery of the emails. The plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the second claim regarding disparate impact on June 17, 2008.

The court denied the defendant's motions for summary judgment on March 31, 2009, and April 23, 2009. The court then granted the defendant's motions to exclude any claims under the ADEA that accrued before May 17, 2007.

Latrobe contended that it was entitled to summary judgment because the plaintiffs were unable to show any evidence that age was a determinative factor in its decision to terminate their employment. Latrobe conceded that the plaintiffs established a prima facie case of discrimination, but maintained that their decision to terminate the plaintiffs was based on their violations of Latrobe policy. The court found that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that "but for" their ages, Latrobe would not have terminated their employment for sending sexually explicit and pornographic emails. Additionally, the plaintiffs admitted that they sent the emails and could not dispute that doing so violated Latrobe's policies.

On December 29, 2010, the Court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment was granted and dismissed the collective action claims. 761 F.Supp.2d 261 (W.D. Penn. 2010). The plaintiffs appealed this order.

The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed the Western District of Pennsylvania's holding on November 17, 2011. The Third Circuit held that a reasonable jury could not find that the plaintiffs would not have been fired but for their ages. Additionally, given the conduct in which the plaintiffs engaged and the lack of sufficient evidence suggesting an atmosphere of age discrimination at Latrobe, there was no basis for a finding that Latrobe's proffered rationale was a pretext for age discrimination. 451 F. App'x 238 (3d Cir. 2011). The plaintiffs were subsequently taxed $21,863.88 in favor of the defendant.

Anna Jones - 10/25/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discipline
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
General
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq.
Defendant(s) Latrobe Specialty Steel Company
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs, all over fifty, are former employees of Latrobe.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:08−cv−00649 (W.D. Pa.) 09/26/2012
EE-PA-0238-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Collective Action Complaint 05/13/2008
EE-PA-0238-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Partial Motion to Dismiss 06/04/2008
EE-PA-0238-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Brief in Support of Partial Motion to Dismiss 06/04/2008 (2008 WL 2977026)
EE-PA-0238-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Count II of Plaintiffs' Complaint 06/16/2008
EE-PA-0238-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on All Collective Action Claims 06/30/2008 (2008 WL 4524448)
EE-PA-0238-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation 01/23/2009
EE-PA-0238-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation 03/09/2009
EE-PA-0238-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/31/2009 (2009 WL 911224) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 03/31/2009 (2009 WL 911311) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order 04/23/2009 (M.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Order 04/23/2009 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/11/2009 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0012.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/06/2010 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0013.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment 05/06/2010
EE-PA-0238-0014.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order 10/05/2010 (2010 WL 3927510) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion 12/29/2010 (761 F.Supp.2d 261) (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/29/2010 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0017.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 12/29/2010 (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0018.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment 11/17/2011
EE-PA-0238-0019.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion of the Court 11/17/2011 (451 Fed.Appx. 238)
EE-PA-0238-0021.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Taxation of Costs 09/26/2012
EE-PA-0238-0020.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Fisher, D. Michael (Third Circuit)
EE-PA-0238-0019 | EE-PA-0238-0021
Hay, Amy R. (W.D. Pa.) [Magistrate]
EE-PA-0238-0008 | EE-PA-0238-0009 | EE-PA-0238-0013 | EE-PA-0238-9000
McVerry, Terrence F. (W.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0006 | EE-PA-0238-0007 | EE-PA-0238-0010 | EE-PA-0238-0011 | EE-PA-0238-0012 | EE-PA-0238-0013 | EE-PA-0238-0015 | EE-PA-0238-0016 | EE-PA-0238-0017 | EE-PA-0238-0018 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Roth, Jane Richards (Third Circuit, D. Del.)
EE-PA-0238-0019 | EE-PA-0238-0021
Vanaskie, Thomas Ignatius (Third Circuit, M.D. Pa.)
EE-PA-0238-0019 | EE-PA-0238-0021
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Fabian, Rudy A. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-0001 | EE-PA-0238-0004 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Fox, Bruce C. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-0001 | EE-PA-0238-0004 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Evans, Melissa L. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-9000
Giotto, Thomas S. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-0002 | EE-PA-0238-0003 | EE-PA-0238-0005 | EE-PA-0238-0014 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Hornak, Mark Raymond (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-0014 | EE-PA-0238-9000
McLaughlin, Erin J. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-9000
Quinn, Joseph M. (California)
EE-PA-0238-0002 | EE-PA-0238-0003 | EE-PA-0238-0005 | EE-PA-0238-0014 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Tuite, Jaime S. (Pennsylvania)
EE-PA-0238-0002 | EE-PA-0238-0003 | EE-PA-0238-0005 | EE-PA-0238-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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