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Villa v. Cavamezze Grill, LLC

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 7, 2017

PATRICIA VILLA, Plaintiff - Appellant,
v.
CAVAMEZZE GRILL, LLC; CAVAMEZZE GRILL MOSAIC, LLC, Defendants - Appellees, and CAVA GROUP, INC., Defendant. METROPOLITAN WASHINGTON EMPLOYMENT LAWYERS ASSOCIATION; U.S. EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Amici Supporting Appellant.

          Argued: March 21, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. T. S. Ellis, III, Senior District Judge. (1:15-cv-00222-TSE-MSN)

         ARGUED:

          Matthew B. Kaplan, THE KAPLAN LAW FIRM PLLC, Arlington, Virginia, for Appellant.

          Sarah Catherine Crawford, UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Curiae. David Barmak, MINTZ, LEVIN, COHN, FERRIS, GLOVSKY AND POPEO, P.C., Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

         ON BRIEF:

          Dennis Corkery, Christine Tschiderer, WASHINGTON LAWYERS' COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS, Washington, D.C., for Appellant.

          Alta M. Ray, MINTZ, LEVIN, COHN, FERRIS, GLOVSKY AND POPEO, P.C., Washington, D.C., for Appellees.

          Stephen Z. Chertkof, HELLER, HURON, CHERTKOF & SALZMAN, PLLC, Washington, D.C.; Erik D. Snyder, PASSMAN & KAPLAN, P.C., Washington, D.C.; Alan R. Kabat, BERNABEI & KABAT, PLLC, Washington, D.C., for Amicus Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. P. David Lopez, General Counsel, Jennifer S. Goldstein, Associate General Counsel, Lorraine C. Davis, Assistant General Counsel, Anne W. King, Office of General Counsel, UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Washington, D.C., for Amicus United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

          Before MOTZ, TRAXLER, and AGEE, Circuit Judges.

          TRAXLER, Circuit Judge:

         Patricia Villa appeals a district court order granting summary judgment against her in her Title VII retaliation case against CavaMezze Grill, LLC, and CavaMezze Grill Mosaic, LLC (together, "Cava" or "the employer"). Finding no error, we affirm.

         I.

         CavaMezze Grill, LLC ("CMG") is a Maryland limited-liability company and the parent company of several restaurants, each of which is owned and operated by a wholly owned subsidiary of CMG. CavaMezze Grill Mosaic, LLC ("Mosaic") is a Virginia limited-liability company and wholly owned subsidiary of CMG that owns and operates the Cava Mezze Grill restaurant located in Merrifield, Virginia.

         Rob Gresham was CMG's Director of Operations and oversaw the operations of each restaurant, including the Merrifield restaurant. Sergio Valdivia was Cava's Area Manager and managed a total of five restaurants, including the Merrifield restaurant.

         Villa began working at Cava in the spring of 2012. In October 2013, she was a low-level manager for Mosaic, and she reported directly ...


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