Gaines v. K-Five Construction Corp.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 12-2249
Decision Date: 
January 3, 2014
Federal District: 
N.D. Ill., E. Div.
Affirmed and reversed in part and remanded
Dist. Ct. did not err in granting defendant-employer’s motion for summary judgment in plaintiff-employee’s Title VII action, alleging that defendant terminated plaintiff after defendant had cited plaintiff for insubordination associated with plaintiff’s initial refusal to drive two trucks that had been assigned to him. Plaintiff failed to establish that co-worker, who had been accused of similar misconduct, received more favorable treatment. However, Dist. Ct. erred in granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in plaintiff’s Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) claim, alleging that he was terminated in retaliation for complaining about safety of defendant’s trucks. Record showed that plaintiff’s apprehension about driving both trucks was reasonable, where one truck had steering-wheel problem and other truck had unsafe tail pan, and where substance of defendant’s disciplinary notices to plaintiff concerned plaintiff’s refusal to drive said trucks. Plaintiff could also base STAA claim on fact that he had previously filed DDR complaint that one of defendant’s truck was unsafe, even though said complaint contained inaccurate statement about condition of truck, where plaintiff had good-faith belief that he was complaining about safety of truck.