Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Gagliardi v. Sacred Heart University

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 16, 2019

PAUL GAGLIARDI, Plaintiff,
v.
SACRED HEART UNIVERSITY, INC. Defendant.

          RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          VICTOR A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Paul Gagliardi (“Plaintiff”), the head coach of the men's tennis team at Sacred Heart University (“Sacred Heart” or “Defendant”) from 2006 to 2016, claims to have been paid significantly less and provided fewer resources than female head coaches. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 16-17, ¶¶ 33-48.

         After ultimately being fired, Mr. Gagliardi sued Sacred Heart for gender discrimination under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), et seq., ; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000, et seq.; and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq. Compl., ECF No.1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 7.

         Defendant now moves for summary judgment. Def. Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 30.

         For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion for summary judgment, ECF No. 30, is GRANTED.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         A. Factual Allegations

         In the fall of 2006, Mike Guastelle, Sacred Heart's senior associate athletic director, director of tennis, and women's tennis coach, hired Mr. Gagliardi to coach the men's tennis team. Partial Tr. of Dep. of Paul Gagliardi (Mar. 16, 2018, “Gagliardi Dep.”), ECF No. 30-3 at 5. Sacred Heart initially paid Mr. Gagliardi an annual salary of $5, 000. Id. at 6. His employment that year and in subsequent years was “at will.” Id.; see, e.g., Robert M. Hardy Letter to Paul Gagliardi (Feb. 3, 2016), ECF No. 30-16 (“Your employment at Sacred Heart is employment “at will;” that is, you have the right to terminate at anytime, and the University has the right to terminate you with or without cause at any time.”) (emphasis omitted). Each year, his tennis team had about ten athletes. Gagliardi Dep. at 13.

         From the start, Mr. Gagliardi viewed the position as “a full-time position with part-time pay, ” id. at 5-6, [1] and began asking for a raise and a full-time appointment. Id. at 17.

         In 2014, Mr. Gagliardi applied for a full-time head coaching job at Fairfield University, but was not selected. Id. at 16. By then, he received an annual salary of $12, 500 from Sacred Heart. Paul Gagliardi e-mail to Julia Nofri (May 23, 2014), Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. H, ECF No. 30-10.

         In the spring of 2014, Mr. Gagliardi directly raised the issue of his pay and hours with the Human Resources Department. Gagliardi Dep. at 22; Paul Gagliardi e-mail to Julia Nofri (May 23, 2014). A few months later, he received a favorable annual performance review. Gagliardi Dep. at 21 (Q. “And in each of those categories, he either gave you an “S” or he gave you a 3 or a 4, which signified either solid or performs above expectation, is that accurate? . . . . A. Yes[.]”); Sacred Heart University: Partnering for Performance Summ. (June 20, 2014), Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. I, ECF No. 30-11.

         The next year, Mr. Gagliardi again received a positive performance review (i.e., Supervisor Ratings of “Solid Performance” in four categories, “Above Expectation” in one category, and an Overall Performance Rating of “Solid Performance”). Sacred Heart University: Partnering for Performance Summ. (July 23, 2015), Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. J, ECF No. 30-12. In the Reviewer's Comments, Brad Hurlbut, Deputy Director of Athletics, explained to Mr. Gagliardi that his position would “not be made full-time in the near future.” Gagliardi Dep. at 25. Mr. Hurlburt advised Mr. Gagliardi to “embrace the program and be more positive.” Sacred Heart University: Partnering for Performance Summ. (July 23, 2015).

         In October of 2015, Mr. Gagliardi wrote and delivered by hand a letter to Rob Hardy, Director of Human Resources. Id. at 27. In that letter, Mr. Gagliardi claimed that his pay was lower than it should be because of gender discrimination. Id. By then, he received $13, 800 per year. Id. at 32. A few weeks later, Mr. Gagliardi met with Mr. Hardy and reiterated that the female coaches were paid and treated better. Id. at 30; see also id. at 12 (explaining that from 2006 to 2011, Mr. Gagliardi had a volunteer assistant coach, and after that, he had a paid part-time coach, who also worked with the women's tennis team).

         In late December of 2015, Mr. Hardy convened a meeting with Mr. Gagliardi, Mr. Hurlbut, and Robert Valentine, the Athletic Director, to discuss Mr. Gagliardi's discrimination claims. Id. at 30-31. Around the same time, Mr. Gagliardi also met with Mr. Hurlbut, Mr. Valentine, and Julia Nofri of Human Resources. Id. Several days later, Mr. Gagliardi received a raise; effective January 1, 2016, his annual salary increased to $20, 000 and he became eligible to receive part-time employee health, retirement, and tuition assistance benefits. Id. at 32.

         In late July of 2016, Mr. Gagliardi again wrote to Mr. Hardy about his compensation. Id. at 34. Around the same time, Mr. Gagliardi received a lower performance review than the year before (i.e., Supervisor Ratings of “Solid Performance” in two categories, “Needs Improvement” in one category, and an Overall Performance Rating of “Needs Improvement”). Sacred Heart University: Partnering for Performance Summ. (n.d), Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. P (“Final Performance Review”), ECF No. 30-18; Pl. Local Rule 56(a)(2) Statement of Facts, Fact 58 (“In summer 2016, Plaintiff refused to sign his 2015-2016 performance review . . . . Response: Admit.”).

         That summer, Mr. Gagliardi pursued work outside of Sacred Heart, including “teaching, running a [non-affiliated] tennis camp at Sacred Heart for four weeks . . . running tennis tournaments on the weekends, and teaching tennis as a self employed tennis instructor.” Gagliardi Dep. at 35. For one of the weeks of his tennis camp, Mr. Gagliardi had someone else, an assistant director, run the camp because he was vacationing in Cape Cod. Id. at 36-37.

         In August of 2016, Mr. Gagliardi started a full-time position at Emmett O'Brien High School in Ansonia. Id. at 41-42. Shortly after starting the job, he sent an e-mail and met with Sacred Heart administrators regarding his coaching hours. Id. at 39 (“And that was the gist of the conversation in terms of if I'm part-time, then I'm going to work part-time hours, and how that was going to play out.”).

         In roughly the first six weeks of the 2016 season, Mr. Gagliardi arrived late to every practice and missed several practices. Id. at 54-55. He did not attend the first day of the three-day UConn Men's Invitational tournament. Id. at 52-53 (“I had just started a new job in teaching. And I didn't want to go into my first couple weeks of teaching and take a sick day or a personal day for another job, considering that information was publicly available on the Sacred Heart website. And so I felt that would not be a good idea. And also I [had] stated in the summertime and in the fall that I was not going to exceed 25 hours of work as a coach. And I felt as though that if we had, if I went on Friday and on Saturday and on Sunday, which we didn't, we didn't make it to Sunday, then I would be way above being part-time. And I made that readily apparent to the admin - - to Mike. And I said ‘Hey, you know, you're going to have to find someone to go to this day.'”); id. at 62 (“Q. [I]n the fall of 2016, was there ever a time where you waited to the last minute to tell Mike Guastelle that you were not going to be present for one of the matches? A. Yes. Q. And which one was that? A. The UConn Invitational. I waited until that week.”). He missed most of the first day of the Yale Invitational. Id. at 54 (explaining that he had his assistant coach oversee the team from 10:00am to 3:00pm that day).

         In late September of 2016, Sacred Heart fired Mr. Gagliardi. Id. at 44. Mr. Guastelle assumed his coaching responsibilities for the rest of the season. Id. at 57.

         In 2017, the head coaching positions for men's and women's tennis were consolidated into a single full-time job with a $50, 000 salary. Def. Mem. at 15. William Boe Wiegaard serves as the head coach of both teams. Id.

         B. Procedural History

         On February 22, 2017, Mr. Gagliardi received a “right to sue” letter from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Letter to Paul Gagliardi (Feb. 22, 2017), Ex. A, ECF No. 1 at 14.

         On May 23, 2017, Mr. Gagliardi sued Sacred Heart for sex discrimination. Compl.

         On June 15, 2017, Mr. Gagliardi amended his Complaint against Sacred Heart. Am. Compl.

         On August 14, 2017, Sacred Heart filed its Answer to Mr. Gagliardi's Amended Complaint. Answer, ECF No. 11.

         On December 4, 2017, Sacred Heart moved to compel Mr. Gagliardi to submit a damages analysis. Def. Mot. to Compel Damage Analysis, ECF No. 19; Fed.R.Civ.P. 37; D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 37. Sacred Heart also moved to amend its Answer to add an additional affirmative defense. Def. Mot. to Amend Affirmative Defenses, ECF No. 21; Fed.R.Civ.P. 15.

         On December 5, 2017, the Court denied Sacred Heart's motion to compel a damages analysis. Order Denying Def.'s Mot. Compel Damage Analysis, ECF No. 23.

         On May 21, 2018, the Court granted Sacred Heart's motion to amend its Answer to add an affirmative defense. Order Granting Def. Mot. to Amend Affirmative Defenses, ECF No. 25.

         On May 22, 2018, Sacred Heart filed an Amended Answer. Am. Answer & Affirmative Defenses, ECF No. 26.

         On September 14, 2018, Sacred Heart moved for summary judgement on all counts. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 30.

         In support of its motion, Sacred Heart submitted the following: (1) a statement of material facts, Local Rule 56(a)(1) Statement, ECF No. 30-1; (2) a memorandum in support of the motion for summary judgement, Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def. Mot. for Summ. J. (“Def. Mem.”), ECF No. 30-2; and (3) various exhibits, including Mr. Gagliardi's resume, excerpts of various deposition transcripts, affidavits, correspondence, both letters and e-mails, and other Sacred Heart documents, including Mr. Gagliardi's performance evaluations and time sheets. Def. Mot. for Summ. J., Ex. A-U, ECF Nos. 30-3-30-23.

         On October 26, 2018, Mr. Gagliardi opposed Sacred Heart's motion for summary judgment. Pl.'s Mem. in Opp. to Mot. for Summ. J. (“Pl. Mem.”), ECF No. 33.

         On November 26, 2018, Sacred Heart replied. Reply Mem. of Law in Further Supp. of Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. (“Def. Reply”), ECF No. 36.

         On July 9, 2019, the Court convened a hearing on the motion to dismiss. Min. Entry, ECF No. 43.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A motion for summary judgment will be granted if the record shows no genuine issue 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 initial burden of establishing the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Cartrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The non-moving party may defeat the motion by producing sufficient specific facts to establish that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).

         “[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 247-48. The moving party may satisfy this burden by pointing out to the district court an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. See PepsiCo, Inc. v. Coca-Cola Co., 315 F.3d 101, 105 (2d Cir. 2002) (per curiam).

         When a motion for summary judgment is supported by documentary evidence and sworn affidavits and “demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, ” the nonmoving party must do more than vaguely assert the existence of some unspecified disputed material facts or “rely on conclusory allegations or unsubstantiated speculation.” Robinson v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 781 F.3d 42, 44 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). The party opposing the motion for summary judgment “must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating the existence of a genuine dispute of material fact.” Id.; see also Atkinson v. Rinaldi, 3:15-cv-913 (DJS), 2016 WL 7234087, at *1 (D. Conn. Dec. 14, 2016) (holding nonmoving party must present evidence that would allow reasonable jury to find in his favor to defeat motion for summary judgment).

         The court must view any inferences drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the party opposing the summary judgment motion. Dufort v. City of New York, 874 F.3d 338, 343 (2d Cir. 2017). Conclusory allegations or denials will not be credited. Brown v. Eli Lilly & Co., 654 F.3d 347, 358 (2d Cir. 2011). After drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, if the court finds that no reasonable trier of fact could find in the non-movant's favor and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the court will grant the summary judgment motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986).

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.