United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Charleston Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. JOHNSTON, CHIEF JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendant Huntington Bancshares,
Inc.'s motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 24.) For
the reasons discussed more fully below, the Court
GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN
PART Defendant's motion. (ECF No. 24.)
in May 2011, Plaintiff was employed at Defendant's West
Side Branch in Charleston, West Virginia, first as a Personal
Banker, then as an Interim Branch Manager, and, most
recently, as a Branch Manager. (See ECF No. 1 at
¶¶ 5-7 (Compl.).) Plaintiff consistently had high
performance reviews that led to these successive promotions.
(See ECF No. 26 at 9.)
about September 21, 2015, Plaintiff informed her District
Manager, Tom Dixon (“Dixon”), that she had
compliance concerns about fellow banker Michael Mullins
(“Mullins”). (See ECF No. 25 at 2.)
Specifically, Plaintiff complained to Dixon that Mullins had
approached her a month previously and informed her that he
had prepared a loan for disbursement without providing the
borrower three days to rescind their decision to borrow as
required by state and federal consumer protection statutes.
(See ECF No. 26 at 2.) Plaintiff also states that
she requested that Defendant rectify the error. (See
Id. at 9.)
result, the Branch Manager at Defendant's Downtown
Branch, Jonathan Roop (“Roop”), conducted an
investigation into Plaintiff's complaint. (See
ECF No. 26 at 4.) Defendant states that during Roop's
investigation he uncovered that Plaintiff notarized a deed
without the customer being present and backdated a deed.
(See ECF No. 25 at 2-3.) This was in violation of
Defendant's policy and the West Virginia Notary Handbook.
(See Id. at 4.) As such, Plaintiff was subject to
disciplinary action. (See id.)
the investigation, Dixon and Roop held a disciplinary meeting
with Plaintiff and Mullins. (See id.) Plaintiff
asserts that during the meeting Dixon said he did not believe
the notarization issue was a major concern, but instead was a
good learning opportunity. (See id.) However, on
October 13, 2015, Defendant notified Plaintiff that her
employment was being terminated. (ECF No. 26 at 5.)
filed this action on January 9, 2017 against Defendant
alleging discriminatory termination in violation of the
Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of
2010 (“Dodd-Frank Act”) (Count I) and
discriminatory discharge for reporting illegal disbursement
of loan proceeds (Count II). Defendant subsequently filed the
present motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 25.) Plaintiff
filed a timely response, (ECF No. 26), and Defendant filed a
timely reply. (ECF No. 29.) As such, Defendant's motion
is fully briefed and ripe for adjudication.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs motions for
summary judgment. That rule provides, in relevant part, that
summary judgment should be granted if “there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact.” Summary
judgment is inappropriate, however, if there exist factual
issues that reasonably may be resolved in favor of either
party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 250 (1986). “Facts are ‘material' when
they might affect the outcome of the case, and a
‘genuine issue' exists when the evidence would
allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” The News & Observer Publ. Co. v.
Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th
Cir. 2010). When construing such factual issues, the Court
must view the evidence “in the light most favorable to
the [party opposing summary judgment].” Adickes v.
S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970).
moving party may meet its burden of showing that no genuine
issue of fact exists by use of “depositions, answers to
interrogatories, answers to requests for admission, and
various documents submitted under request for
production.” Barwick v. Celotex Corp., 736
F.2d 946, 958 (4th Cir. 1984). Once the moving party has met
its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
“make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). If a party fails to make a sufficient
showing on one element of that party's case, the failure
of proof “necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial.” Id. at 323.
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment may not rest upon mere allegation or denials of his
pleading, but must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Liberty
Lobby, 477 U.S. at 256. “The mere existence of a
scintilla of evidence” in support of the nonmoving
party is not enough to withstand summary judgment; the judge
must ask whether “the jury could reasonably find for
the plaintiff.” Id. at 252.
stated above, Plaintiff alleges claims for retaliatory
discharge under Dodd-Frank and state law in her Complaint.
Defendant seeks summary judgment on both of these claims.
Therefore, the Court will address these ...