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Marchetti v. Kinross Gold U.S.A., Inc.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

May 17, 2017

Leo B. Marchetti, Plaintiff
v.
Kinross Gold U.S.A., Inc., Defendant

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Jennifer A. Dorsey United States District Judge.

         Leo Marchetti applied to work as a security guard or technician at defendant Kinross's gold mine in rural Round Mountain, Nevada. Marchetti soon learned that he didn't get either job and that Kinross had awarded them to others. Marchetti believes he was passed up because he had a knee disability, so he brings this case against Kinross alleging a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Kinross moves for summary judgment, arguing that when it denied Marchetti's online application it did not even know that he had a disability, much less discriminate against him because of it. And Marchetti's four-page opposition offers no evidence that he had a disability, that he was qualified for the positions he applied for at the mine, or that Kinross's proffered reasons for hiring others was pretext for discrimination. I therefore grant Kinross's motion.

         Background

         Kinross owns a working gold mine in Round Mountain, Nevada. Round Mountain is tucked away deep in the Nevada desert-a four-hour drive from either of the state's major cities, Reno and Las Vegas. Marchetti lives outside Las Vegas in Pahrump, Nevada, almost four hours from Kinross's mine.

         Marchetti was not deterred by the distance, and in the winter of 2013, he applied online for several positions at Kinross. He wanted to work as a lab technician, a security guard, or a warehouse technician at the mine. But Kinross decided to hire other people for these positions. Marchetti believed that he was passed up because of his disability, so he filed a charge of discrimination with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission in late 2014.[1]

         Kinross offers evidence that it gave the jobs to others for good reasons that had nothing to do with Marchetti's disabilities. The lab and warehouse jobs went to four people who lived in Round Mountain and either already worked for Kinross, or had spouses who did.[2] Kinross's evidence shows that its hiring policies give preference to those who live in the area or have connections there because, understandably, the company has difficulty retaining employees in that remote locale.[3]Kinross eliminated the security-guard positions for budget reasons.[4]

         Not only does Kinross deny that disability played a role in its decision to not hire Marchetti, Kinross offers evidence that it never reviewed his cover letter or met him-so when it made its hiring decisions, Kinross could not know that he had a disability, much less discriminate against him for it.[5]

         As to whether Marchetti actually has a disability, in his cover letter to Kinross, he made sure to let the company know that he “[wa]s disabled]” and that, although he “walked with a cane, ” he could do still do these jobs.[6] But Marchetti offers no other evidence that he has a disability, save an unauthenticated photocopy of a DMV handicap placard with his name on it.[7] Notably, Marchetti offers no proper affidavit or other evidence explaining the nature of his alleged disability.[8]

         Ultimately, Marchetti was given a right-to-sue letter and filed this lawsuit, alleging a single claim for disability discrimination under the ADA.

         Discussion

         A. Summary-judgment standards.

         The legal standard governing the parties' motions is well settled: a party is entitled to summary judgment when “the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[9] An issue is “genuine” if the evidence would permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.[10] A fact is “material” if it could affect the outcome of the case.[11]

         When considering a motion for summary judgment, I view all facts and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.[12] The purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims”[13] and to determine whether a case “is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.”[14] It is not my role to weigh evidence or make credibility determinations.[15] If reasonable minds could differ on material facts, summary judgment is inappropriate.[16]

         If the moving party shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who must “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”[17] The nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”; the nonmoving party “must produce specific evidence, through affidavits or admissible discovery material, to show that” there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable fact finder could find in his favor.[18]

         B. Marchetti's evidence does not create a triable issue for the jury on his disability claim.

         To establish an ADA claim based on discriminatory hiring, Marchetti must show (1) that he is disabled within the meaning of the ADA; (2) that he was qualified for the positions that he applied for; and (3) that he was discriminated against because of his disability.[19] To prove the discrimination prong, Marchetti must offer evidence “that gives rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination, either through the framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green or with direct or circumstantial evidence of discriminatory ...


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