United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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.
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.
now moves for summary judgment. Def. Mot. for Summ. J., ECF
reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion for summary
judgment, ECF No. 30, is GRANTED.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
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.
the start, Mr. Gagliardi viewed the position as “a
full-time position with part-time pay, ” id.
at 5-6,  and began asking for a raise and a
full-time appointment. Id. at 17.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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.”).
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.
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.”).
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
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
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.
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.
23, 2017, Mr. Gagliardi sued Sacred Heart for sex
15, 2017, Mr. Gagliardi amended his Complaint against Sacred
Heart. Am. Compl.
August 14, 2017, Sacred Heart filed its Answer to Mr.
Gagliardi's Amended Complaint. Answer, ECF No. 11.
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.
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.
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.
22, 2018, Sacred Heart filed an Amended Answer. Am. Answer
& Affirmative Defenses, ECF No. 26.
September 14, 2018, Sacred Heart moved for summary judgement
on all counts. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 30.
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.
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.
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.
9, 2019, the Court convened a hearing on the motion to
dismiss. Min. Entry, ECF No. 43.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
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).
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).
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).