United States District Court, D. Connecticut
December 19, 2016
LAURIE W. BOCZAR, Plaintiff,
THE ANTHEM COMPANIES, INC. Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION GRANTING DEFENDANT'S
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [DKT. 30]
Vanessa L. Bryant United States District Judge
Laurie W. Boczar (“Boczar” or
“Plaintiff”) brings this employment
discrimination action against her former employer, The Anthem
Companies, Inc. (“Anthem” or
“Defendant”), formerly known as Wellpoint, Inc.
Her complaint raises claims for age and gender discrimination
in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act
(“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46a-60 et
seq. Plaintiff initially filed this action in
Connecticut state court, and the case was removed to this
Court on June 1, 2015 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§
1332. Defendant now moves for summary judgment on all claims.
For the reasons stated below, the Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
following undisputed facts are drawn primarily from the
Defendant's 56(a)1 Statement.
is a woman who previously worked for Anthem as Web Creative
Director. [Dkt. 26, Rule 56(a)(1) Statement of
Facts, ¶ 3]. Boczar was hired in March 2009, and at all
relevant times, Boczar was over the age of 40 years old when
she worked for Anthem. [Dkt. 1, Ex. A, Complaint, ¶ 3;
Dkt. 12, Answer, at p. 1; Dkt. 26, ¶ 3]. Boczar's
employment was terminated on October 1, 2013, when she was 51
years old. [Dkt. 26, ¶¶ 8, 77.] Anthem is a
corporation transacting business in Connecticut with a
principal place of business in Indiana. [Dkt. 1, ¶ 2;
Dkt. 12, at pp. 1-2]. Anthem provides health benefits as an
independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Association to members across the country. [Dkt. 26, ¶
Anthem, Boczar was part of the User Design Experience
(“UXD”) team, which was responsible for the
information architecture and visual design associated with
Anthem's web and mobile assets. [Id. ¶ 10;
Dkt. 26, Ex. 4, Tollis Decl. ¶ 3]. She was the highest
ranking person on the UXD team with a level of E14 and
therefore would have received a higher salary than any of her
peers at a lower level (E13 or below). [Dkt. 26, ¶ 11].
Giulia Tollis (“Tollis”), Boczar's manager in
2012, stated that she held Boczar to a “higher standard
for her performance, gave her additional responsibilities,
and expected her to be a thought leader for her peers when it
came to creative design and strategy.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 4,
¶ 4]. One of Boczar's responsibilities was to
maintain Anthem's Style Guide, an internal guide used by
the Web Design team and other internal groups to make sure
the Anthem brand looked and felt consistent in all
publications. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 13]. As Boczar's
supervisor, Tollis had concerns regarding her performance,
because she struggled to meet deadlines, failed to
effectively communicate her deadlines and workload, and spent
time on junior tasks as opposed to senior thought leader
roles. [Id. ¶ 14]. On October 17, 2012, Tollis
provided critical feedback to Boczar and followed-up with an
email that same day expressing her disappointment in
Boczar's performance. [Id. ¶¶ 15-16].
Specifically, Tollis stated, “As we discussed, I have
concerns whether this is the right role for you based on
these observations. You expressed a desire to be focused on
more Senior level tasks - icons, style guide, etc. To do that
effectively, it's important that you understand the
expectations of your role and that you improve and sustain
your performance.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 5, Email (Oct. 17,
2012), at p. 2].
the critical feedback, Boczar continued to miss deadlines. On
December 6, 2012, Tollis sent Boczar another email
documenting her failure to meet status report deadlines from
October 3, October 11, October 24, and December 5, as well as
her failure to submit any report at all on November 14. [Dkt.
26, Ex. 6]. Tollis concluded, “As we've discussed
in the past, I expect that all deadlines are met, unless
otherwise discussed and agreed upon in advance of the miss.
It's important that you understand the expectations of
your role and that you improve and sustain your performance
moving forward.” [Id.] This warning prompted
no change in Plaintiff's performance, as she failed to
submit another status report, prompting Tollis to remind
Boczar on January 10, 2013, that another missing report may
result in a written warning. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 23].
February 2013 Tim Brown (“Brown”) was hired to
manage the UXD team, reporting to Tollis. [Id.
¶ 24]. Boczar's complaint alleges “[w]ithin a
very short period from Mr. Brown's hiring, Plaintiff went
from a consistently and highly successful employee who was
rewarded a[s] such in each of her four years with [Anthem] to
an employee who ‘consistently fails to meet
expectations' with respect to any of Mr. Brown's
stated criteria in the PIP.” [Dkt. 1, Ex. A,
¶ 18]. Boczar described Brown's management style as
“overbearing nitpickiness” and that he was
“trying to set [her] up.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, Boczar
Dep., 36:17, 114:4-5]. In her deposition testimony, the
Plaintiff challenges the Defendant's assertion that she
missed deadlines, testifying, “I might have had a
misspelling, I might have had an overall date on it that, you
know, was not the correct date even though he receives it on
the correct day.” [Id. at 114:20-23].
April 2013 Plaintiff received her 2012 annual performance
appraisal. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 26]. Tollis rated Boczar a 3.18
out of 5, an average rating at Anthem, but compared to her
peers Boczar it was “the lowest rated member of the UXD
team.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 4, ¶ 24]. The performance
review specifically stated,
• “[A]n area of improvement is more broadly
communicating & educating to her peers and interested
parties the changes that have been made.” [Dkt. 26, Ex.
7, 2012 Performance Coaching, at p. 5].
• “Would like to see Laurie bring more to the
table with her designs in rendering visual designs that are
more interesting and where she is pushing the bounds of her
work.” [Id. at p. 6].
• “Areas of opportunity for Laurie would be with
her verbal communication and presence in meetings. Laurie is
of a quiet nature. She tends to be reserved and holds back
from responding in meetings. Due to our highly virtual
environment, this is perceived as a lack of participation by
project teams. Additionally, Laurie needs to become her own
voice in the team. I'd like to see Laurie take a more
active, vocal role. Communicating her thoughts an opinions to
help drive change.” [Id. at pp. 7-8].
• “Additionally, Laurie will need to work on
communicating her workload to leadership and where she stands
with projects. At times, it has been difficult to gauge where
or what she's really got for deliverables.”
[Id. at p. 10].
concedes that “there were a couple of things that could
have slipped through that were fixed ultimately, ” and
justifies them because “[i]t is human to err.”
[Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, 77:22-78:7]. As a result of the performance
review, Boczar received “one of the lowest AIP rating
and bonuses on the team.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 4, ¶ 24].
supervisor, Brown conducted 1:1 meetings with UXD team
members and continued to require weekly written status
reports. [Dkt. 26, Ex. 8, ¶¶ 9-10]. Brown observed
errors in her status reports and noticed they were less
detailed than those of others. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 37]. Tollis
spoke with Brown regarding her concern about Boczar's
performance, and Brown came to the same opinion: that she
lacked sufficient creative design skills, leadership skills,
and transparency in her communication with him. [Id.
at ¶ 38].
result, on May 21, 2013, Brown placed Boczar on a 60-day PIP.
[Id. ¶ 39; Dkt. 26, Ex. 9, PIP]. The PIP
reiterated the concerns shared by Tollis and Brown, which had
been communicated to Boczar on several occasions.
[See Ex. 9]. Nonetheless, Boczar responded in a
Memorandum to Human Resources that she was “surprised
and taken aback when [she] was given, quite out of the blue,
” the PIP. [Dkt. 26, Ex. 10, at p. 1]. Boczar
acknowledged that Tollis had informed her of her past
performance deficiencies and further acknowledged that she
was challenged by the managerial transition and new
expectations. [See id. at pp. 1-2]. Boczar also
stated that some of the standards raised in the PIP
“appeared to [her] to be directed towards [her] and on
a person-targeted basis and to [her] knowledge are not
requirements of [her] peer co-employees.” [Id.
at p. 2]. These status report standards were, however,
required for her peers. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 43]. Brown met with
Plaintiff twice a week after issuing the PIP. [Id.
¶ 47]. Brown communicated to Boczar that there was a
“disconnect” on how she perceived her progress
with the PIP, but Boczar attributed this to “his point
of view” and instead believed things were going
“swimmingly.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, 197:14-22].
Halfway through the PIP, Brown provided written feedback,
[Dkt. 26, Ex. 11, Interoffice Memorandum] highlighting her
continued failure to produce satisfactory work despite some
improvements in submitting weekly status reports. [Dkt. 26,
¶ 51; Ex. 11, at p. 2].
17, 2013, Boczar submitted a response to Brown's written
feedback. [Dkt. 26, Ex. 12, Associate Updates]. She stated,
“Given the breadth of the level of style changes I am
now making in order to more closely align with your
expectations, I am very encouraged by my progress thus
far.” [Id. at p. 5]. Boczar posited that a
“60-day timeframe might be a bit ambitious”
relative to the material changes requested, and as a result,
Brown granted her a 21-day extension the following week.
[Dkt. 26, Ex. 13, PIP Extension, at p. 1]. Brown further
reiterated details regarding her performance shortcomings in
his response. [See id.]
August 14, 2013, Brown documented in an e-mail a 1:1
conversation he had with Boczar regarding her continued
unsatisfactory performance. [Dkt. 26, Ex. 14, Boczar Email].
Specifically, he wrote, “I'm concerned because you
communicated that you felt things were going well. Therefore,
to ensure mutual understanding of the performance
deficiencies, I'm summarizing our discussion and the
areas that still require improvement.” [Id. at
p. 1]. Prior to this e-email on August 6, 2013, Boczar
produced an incomplete first draft of the Style Guide
communication plan, which she had been told was a
“priority” at the initial PIP. [Dkt. 26, ¶
60]. Brown documented her need to improve communication,
stating, “As discussed, it is not a bother and is
something that I've communicated multiple times as has
Giulia that you must keep me informed of your work and
provide updates as appropriate.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 14, at
p. 2]. Boczar responded, “I appreciate the concern and
effort involved in the performance improvement
process.” [Id. at p. 1].
weeks later, Boczar was given a final warning through a
Corrective Action Form, which notified her that failure to
improve could result in employment termination. [Dkt. 26,
¶¶ 65, 67]. The Corrective Action Form granted
Boczar 30 days to improve on transparent communication,
completing the Style Guide plan, and producing high qualify,
error-free work product. [Id. ¶ 66].
Boczar failed to do so, Tollis and Brown consulted with Human
Resources and decided to terminate her employment.
[Id. ¶ 72]. On September 26, 2013, Paul Parente
(“Parente”), the Human Resources Director who is
also located in Connecticut, informed Boczar in person of her
employment termination. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 75; see Ex.
2, Parente Decl., ¶ 2]. Boczar was given the option to
resign with two-weeks of severance or be terminated for
performance, and Parente allowed her to discuss the decision
with her husband over the weekend. [Dkt. 26, ¶¶
75-76]. On October 1, 2013, Boczar decided that she would not
resign and as a result her employment was terminated.
[Id. ¶ 77].
asserts that a younger man, Andrew Mork (“Mork”),
replaced her after her termination. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 78]. She
based this belief on the fact that she looked at Mork's
LinkedIn page after her termination wherein his position was
listed as Creative Director. [Id. ¶ 79]. In
reality, Mork did not replace Boczar because he instead
reported to Tollis; Brown's role was divided in half and
he was Brown's peer. [Id. ¶ 81]. The second
half of Brown's position was eventually filled by
Christine Fitzgerald, a 46-year old woman. [Id.]
Boczar's position was also replaced by a 46-year old
woman, Marissa Hereso (“Hereso”), who took on
Plaintiff's former daily responsibilities, including the
responsibility for the Style Guide. [Id. ¶ 82].
Brown recommended Hereso because they previously worked
together. [Id. ¶ 83].
Standard of Review
judgment should be granted if “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
moving party bears the burden of proving that no genuine
factual disputes exist. See Vivenzio v. City of
Syracuse, 611 F.3d 98, 106 (2d Cir. 2010). “In
determining whether that burden has been met, the court is
required to resolve all ambiguities and credit all factual
inferences that could be drawn in favor of the party against
whom summary judgment is sought.” Id. (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). Where, as here,
“a motion for summary judgment is unopposed, the
district court is not relieved of its duty to decide whether
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Vt. Teddy Bear Co. v. 1-800 Beargram Co., 373 F.3d
241, 242 (2d Cir. 2004). “If the evidence submitted in
support of the summary judgment motion does not meet the
movant's burden of production, then ‘summary
judgment must be denied even if no opposing evidentiary
matter is presented.'” Id. at 244
(emphasis omitted) (quoting Amaker v. Foley, 274
F.3d 677, 681 (2d Cir. 2001)).
order to defeat a summary judgment motion that is properly
supported by affidavits, depositions, and documents as
envisioned by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e), the opposing party is
required to come forward with materials envisioned by the
Rule, setting forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue of material fact to be tried.”
Gottlieb v. Cty of Orange, 84 F.3d 511, 518 (2d Cir.
1996) (internal citation omitted). A plaintiff may not rely
solely on “the allegations of the pleadings, or on
conclusory statements, or on mere assertions that affidavits
supporting the motion for summary judgment are not credible.
Id. (internal citations omitted). “At the
summary judgment stage of the proceeding, [a plaintiff is]
required to present admissible evidence in support of her
allegations; allegations alone, without evidence to back them
up, are not sufficient.” Welch- Rubin v. Sandals
Corp., No. 3:03CV481 (MRK), 2004 WL 2472280, at *1 (D.
Conn. Oct. 20, 2004) (citing Gottlieb, 84 F.3d at
518); see Martinez v. Conn. State Library, 817
F.Supp.2d 28, 37 (D. Conn. 2011).
Age Discrimination Claim
prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee
“because of” her age. Conn. Gen. Stat. §
46a-60(a)(1). Although comprised of state statutory law, the
claim is evaluated under the same standard as the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, which applies the
burden-shifting framework from McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 (1973). Rubinow v.
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., 496 F. App'x 117,
118 (2d Cir. 2012) (citing Gorzynski v. JetBlue Airways
Corp., 596 F.3d 93, 96 (2d Cir. 2010)); Fasoli v.
City of Stamford, 64 F.Supp.3d 285, 313 (D. Conn. 2014)
(citing same). The plaintiff bears the initial burden to
establish a prima facie case of discrimination, and if this
is accomplished the burden then shifts to the defendant
“to articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reason for its action.” Rubinow, 496 F.
App'x at 118.
first step, the plaintiff must produce evidence tending to
show: “(1) that she was within the protected age group,
(2) that she was qualified for the position, (3) that she
experienced adverse employment action, and (4) that such
action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an
inference of discrimination.” Gorzynski, 596
F.3d at 107 (citation omitted). Here, it is
undisputed that Boczar is over 40 years old (and therefore a
member of a protected class) and that she experienced an
adverse employment action when her employment was terminated.
However, Plaintiff has failed to respond to Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment or submit her own Motion for
Summary Judgment and therefore does not address the other
elements of the prima facie case.
is insufficient evidence establishing a prima facie case of
age discrimination, even accepting as true the allegations of
the Plaintiff's complaint. As Web Creative Director,
Boczar was held to a higher standard than her peers with whom
she worked, because she ranked at a higher level and would
have received a higher pay. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 11]. As early as
October 2012, her supervisors began to express their concerns
as to whether she understood the expectations of her role and
would improve and sustain her performance. [Dkt. 26, Ex. 5,
at p. 2]. Notably, Tollis, a woman who supervised Plaintiff
before the alleged discrimination occurred, is the person who
initiated Plaintiff's critical performance reviews.
Boczar stated in her deposition, “I was the oldest in
my group. I was singled out with, you know . . . all this
paper buildup.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, 148:12-15]. However,
Plaintiff has provided no concrete examples of situations
where she was singled out. The closest Boczar comes to
providing such an example is in her Memorandum to Brown
regarding the initial PIP, in which she states that standards
raised in the PIP “appeared to [her] to be directed
towards [her] and on a person-targeted basis and to [her]
knowledge are not requirements of [her] peer
co-employees.” [Dkt. 26, Ex. 10, at p. 2]. This is pure
speculation. These weekly status report standards were,
however, required by her peers. [Dkt. 26, ¶ 43].
Moreover, Boczar never personally learned about conversations
Brown had with other employees and thus can do no more than
make what she characterizes as “logical
assumptions” of her being singled out. [See
Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, 67:20-68:13]. Without factual support for her
conclusion, the Court is unable to determine that a
reasonable jury could reach such a conclusion. Therefore, the
Court finds there is insufficient evidence to conclude
Plaintiff established a prima facie case for age
Boczar's failure to meet her initial burden, Anthem
sufficiently produced a “legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reason” as required by the second step for terminating
her employment. Anthem provides numerous examples of her
supervisors, Tollis and Brown, documenting Boczar's poor
performance. [See, e.g., Dkt 26, Exs. 5-7, 9,
11-15]. Evidence shows that Tollis began documenting
Boczar's unsatisfactory work product as early as October
17, 2012, [Dkt. 26, ¶¶ 15- 16], and Brown continued
to document similar issues after he became Boczar's
supervisor in February 2013. [See, e.g., Id.
¶¶ 24, 37]. Moreover, the Court finds it compelling
that Boczar's ultimate replacement was a 46-year old
woman only a few years younger than she, noting that such an
appointment tends to undermine, and to the extent an
inference exists, to rebut the inference of intentional age
discrimination. Inguanzo v. Hous. & Servs.,
Inc., 621 F. App'x 91, 92 (2d Cir. 2015) (noting the
plaintiff's replacement of a woman of the same race and
gender undermines her race and gender discrimination claims);
Meyer v. State of New York Office of Mental Health,
174 F.Supp.3d 673, 688 (E.D.N.Y. 2016) (“Moreover,
while also not dispositive, there is an inference against
discrimination where the individual hired to replace a
plaintiff alleging discrimination is within the same
protected class.”); Stouter v. Smithtown Central
School Dist., 687 F.Supp.2d 224, 233 (E.D.N.Y. 2010)
(granting plaintiff's Title VII disparate treatment
gender discrimination claim in part because her replacement
was also female); Nieves v. AvalonBay Communities,
No. 3:06CV00198 (DJS), 2007 WL 2422281, at *11 (D. Conn. Aug.
23, 2007) (“[A] replacement within the same protected
class cuts strongly against any inference of
discrimination”) (citing cases in support). Plaintiff
has provided no evidence to rebut this evidence. Plaintiff
also has not presented a triable issue of fact to support her
claim that she was discriminated against on the basis of her
age. Accordingly, the Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment as to age discrimination and DISMISSES
Plaintiff's age discrimination claim.
Gender Discrimination Claim
also prohibits an employer from discriminating against an
employee “because of” her sex, Conn. Gen. Stat.
§ 46a-60(a)(1). Like a state age discrimination claim, a
state gender discrimination claim proceeds under its federal
corollary, which in this circumstance is the Title VII claim
analysis. Kaytor v. Elec. Boat Corp., 609 F.3d 537,
556 (2d Cir. 2010). As such, the McDonnell Douglas
burden-shifting test also applies to state gender
discrimination claims. Hoffman v. Schiavone Contracting
Corp., 630 F. App'x 36, 39 (2d Cir. 2015) (citing
Dawson v. Bumble & Bumble, 398 F.3d 211, 216-17
(2d Cir. 2005)); Gran v. TD Bank, NA, No.
3:14-cv-1632 (VAB), 2016 WL 4599895, at *5 (D. Conn. Sept. 2,
2016) (applying McDonnell Douglas in a CFEPA gender
discrimination case). The plaintiff must show the following
prima facie elements: “(1) that [s]he belonged to a
protected class; (2) that [s]he was qualified for her
position; (3) that [s]he suffered an adverse employment
action; and (4) that action occurred under circumstances
giving rise to an inference of discriminatory intent.”
Sassaman v. Gamache, 566 F.3d 307, 312 (2d Cir.
2009) (applying the prima facie test to a gender
discrimination claim); Gran, 2016 WL 4599895, at *5
(quoting Abrams v. Dep't of Public Safety, 764
F.3d 244, 251 (2d Cir. 2014)).
Plaintiff's age discrimination case, the absence of any
evidence in support of Plaintiff's gender discrimination
claim militates in favor of granting summary judgment. The
overwhelming evidence before the Court indicates that
Plaintiff was not discriminated on the basis of her gender,
but rather her employment was terminated because of poor
performance. Most significantly, in Plaintiff's
deposition, she affirmatively acknowledged that she did not
believe Brown discriminated against her on the basis of her
Q: During this time that you worked for Mr. Brown, do you
believe that the attitude and meanness he had towards you was
driven, at all, by discrimination because of your gender?
A: I would have to say, no. I believe, no.
[Dkt. 26, Ex. 3, 39:21-40:1]. That Tollis, a woman,
supervised Boczar and shared the same concerns as Brown,
[Dkt. 26, Ex. 8, ¶ 13], that they communicated these
concerns in various forms of feedback, and that Anthem
replaced her position with another woman, demonstrates that
no discriminatory intent existed with respect to gender. For
these reasons, the Court finds Plaintiff's gender
discrimination case should be DISMISSED.
Court GRANTS Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and
enters judgment in Defendant's favor. The Clerk is
directed to close this case.
 The Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment was filed on April 26, 2016. On June 15, 2016, the
Plaintiff had not filed an objection to the Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and on that date the Court issued
an order for the Plaintiff to show cause why summary judgment
should not be granted by filing an objection on or before
June 29, 2016, fourteen days after the order and nearly three
times the time allotted by the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure to respond to a motion. On the deadline, the
Plaintiff's counsel filed a motion for a further fourteen
day extension of time citing the fact that he was a solo
practitioner, had recently completed an unidentified trial of
unidentified duration which took longer than expected and
traveled out of state on an unexpected unidentified personal
matter. [Dkt. 28, Mot. Ext. Time (June 29, 2016)]. The Court
denied the motion finding that the reasons cited did not
constitute good cause to grant the Plaintiff three times the
period allotted to respond to a motion and because counsel
failed to determine there was an objection to his motion,
which are both required by the D. Conn. Local Rule 7(b)2.
[Dkt. 29, Order Denying Dkt. 28]. The Court has reviewed
Plaintiff's 56(a)1 Statement to ensure “that each
statement is, in fact, supported by admissible
evidence.” See Wilson v. McKenna, No.
3:12-cv-1581 (VLB), 2015 WL 5455634, at *1 (D. Conn. Sept.
15, 2015) (observing that the failure to oppose summary
judgment does not relieve the Court of its duty of ensuring
that the moving party offers admissible evidence in support
of its motion).
 Boczar is a Connecticut resident and
worked in Anthem's Connecticut office. [Dkt. 1, Ex. A,
¶ 1; Dkt. 12, at p. 1].
 “PIP” stands for
Performance Improvement Plan. Defendant denies
Plaintiff's allegation but admits that Plaintiff
consistently failed to meet the expectation of Mr.
Brown's stated criteria in the PIP. [Dkt. 12, at p.
 The Court need not determine whether
the federal “but for” causation standard applies
under Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557 U.S. 167,
180 (2009), or the “motivating factor test” still
applies in CFEPA cases, as Plaintiff's failure to provide
any evidence in support of her age discrimination claim makes
it clear that she has not met her burden under either
standard. The Second Circuit has applied the federal
Gross “but for” test in CFEPA cases in
summary orders. See, e.g., Rubinow, 496 F. App'x
at 118; Timbie v. Eli Lilly & Co., 429 F.
App'x 20, 22 n.1 (2d Cir. 2011). Although Second Circuit
summary orders do not have precedential effect, the district
courts cannot “consider itself free to rule differently
in similar cases.” Vale v. City of New Haven,
No. 3:11-cv-00632 (CSH), 2016 WL 3944684, at *7 (D. Conn.
July 19, 2016) (quoting Jackler v. Byrne, 658 F.3d
225, 244 (2d Cir. 2011)). The application of the appropriate
test in a CFEPA analysis remains undetermined within this