Mikinberg v. Bemis Co.

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Employment

New York Law Journal

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Judge Katherine Forrest

Mikinberg became a Bemis employee, at age 61, in 2010. He was expected to provide daily leadership for engineering and maintenance at its Edgewood plant. Rakhmanskiy and Vilme reported to him. Mikinberg knew that he or Rakhmanskiy had to be present during plant maintenance. He knew that vacation in August 2011 was conditioned on Rakhmanskiy covering maintenance scheduled for Saturday the 27th. Despite learning that Rakhmanskiy was subject to mandatory evacuation due to Hurricane Irene and would not be at work—and that Vilme was at the plant doing maintenance—Mikinberg did not go to work on Aug. 27. Vilme was hurt during an explosion. Based on Mikinberg's conduct in connection with the explosion, the Edgewood plant's manager recommended Mikinberg be terminated. Mikinberg was terminated on Sept. 23, less than one month after the explosion. The court granted Bemis summary judgment dismissing Mikinberg's age bias suit. The undisputed facts left no doubt that his termination related to the explosion rather than comments, some two years before the explosion, that he was an "old man." No reasonable juror could find age the "but for" cause of Mikinberg's termination, or even a motivating factor for it.

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