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Gott v. Town of Chesapeake Beach

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Northern Division

August 26, 2014

LUCIA GOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWN OF CHESAPEAKE BEACH, MD., Defendant

For Lucia Gott, Plaintiff: Constance Elizabeth Travanty, Alan Lescht and Associates PC, Washington, DC.

For Town of Chesapeake Beach, A government entity, Defendant: Kevin Bock Karpinski, LEAD ATTORNEY, Karpinski, Colaresi & Karp, P.A., Baltimore, MD.

Page 611

MEMORANDUM OPINION

William D. Quarles, Jr., United States District Judge.

Lucia Gott sued the Town of Chesapeake Beach, Maryland (" Chesapeake" ) for violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 as amended (" ADEA" )[1] and Maryland State Government Code Ann. § 20-606(a). Pending is Chesapeake's motion for summary judgment. No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the following reasons, the motion will be denied.

I. Background [2]

Lucia Gott was born in 1939. ECF No. 15-1 at 3. In 1995, Gott began working at the Chesapeake Beach Water Park's snack bar as a seasonal employee. See ECF Nos. 15-1 at 3; 19 at 2. From 1995 to 2009, Michelle Jenkins, Chesapeake's Town Administrator was Gott's supervisor. ECF No. 19 at 2. During Jenkins's tenure, Gott was always rehired for the following season and received a raise each year. ECF No. 19 at 2. For the 2009 season, Jenkins promoted Gott to snack bar manager. ECF No. 15-1 at 3. Jenkins never provided any of the snack bar employees with a written performance evaluation. ECF No. 15-1 at 3.

Jenkins's employment ended in 2009 and Dr. James Parent became the new Town Administrator. ECF No. 15-1 at 4. In February 2010, Chesapeake hired Marilyn

Page 612

VanWagner as the General Manager of the Water Park. Id. Gott remained as manager of the snack bar. Id. During Gott's two seasons as snack bar manager, she was asked to " go to a senior citizen facility and try to recruit new employees and put a sign that [the Water Park] was hiring." See ECF 15-1 at 6.

During the 2010 season, VanWagner experienced " a number of performance related issues" with Gott. ECF No. 15-7 ¶ 2. First, VanWagner approached Gott about changing the snack bar menus. ECF No. 19 at 2-3. Gott felt that a new menu was unnecessary because " during her employment [Gott] had increased snack bar sales from $300 per day to $2,200 per day." [3] ECF No. 19 at 3. Without speaking to VanWagner, Gott discussed the menu changes with Dr. Parent, and Dr. Parent informed Gott that the way she " ran [the snack bar] was fine." See ECF Nos. 15-1 at 5; 19 at 3.

Later in 2010, Chesapeake began remodeling the snack bar for the 2011 season and hired a consultant, Profitable Foods, Inc., " to evaluate the snack bar, to make recommendations, and to hire and train managers for the snack bar." ECF No. 15-1 at 4. The consultant also recommended changes to the snack bar menu, and Gott prepared to implement those changes. See ECF No. 19 at 3.

Gott also hired her grandson for the 2010 season. ECF No. 19 at 2. At the time, Gott was unaware of her grandson's criminal background. See id. Dr. Parent discovered that Gott's grandson had been accused of theft from Walmart. ECF No. 15-1 at 4. Dr. Parent asked Gott to fire her grandson; she did. See ECF Nos. 15-4 at 4; 19 at 2.

Dr. Parent also approached Gott when it was discovered that $200 was missing from the snack bar. ECF No. 15-1 at 5. Gott fired the two employees who were responsible for the theft and offered to repay the $200 from her own pocket. ECF No. 19 at 3. Dr. Parent determined that there was no need for Gott to pay the $200, but a new process was required for handling money at the snack bar. See ECF Nos. 15-1 at 5-6; 19 at 3.

During the 2010 season, Gott's sister, Florence Higgins, was working at the snack bar as the Assistant Manager. ECF No. 15-1 at 5. Higgins discovered that lifeguards " were keeping things in the [snack bar's] freezer, leaving the door to the freezer open, and locking each other inside the freezer." ECF No. 19 at 8. In response, Higgins locked the lifeguards out of the rest area that included the snack bar. Id. VanWagner received complaints about the ...


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