Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc. case brief
Posture: Jury verdict for plaintiff which was reversed. SCOTUS reverses again.
Facts: Plaintiff showed some possibility of discrimination; however he also showed a lot of evidence to show that other side’s case was silly and made no sense. Question of whether it is enough to disprove the other side or if you also got to fully prove your case.
Reasoning: In age discrimination, Court usually requires plaintiff to establish a prima facie case and then burden shifts to defendant to present evidence supporting legitimate reason for job action. Defendant met this burden with good evidence of failure to attend work and so burden shifts again to plaintiff. Plaintiff showed that the other side’s reasoning was false, he cast doubt on whether he was responsible for any wrongdoing. Ct of Appeals incorrectly decided that plaintiff proving a prima facie case combined with sufficient evidence that defendant lied, was not enough. However, SCOTUS thought this was the wrong way of handling it.
Factors for summary judgment: Strength of plaintiff’s prima facie case, probative value of the proof that defendant’s explanation is false, and any other evidence that supports the defendant’s case and that may properly be considered as a matter of law.
Court of appeals was wrong to hold that additional, independent evidence was needed, as long as plaintiff made a strong showing, a preponderance of the evidence.
Also, decided that when decided to allow or deny a summary judgment claim, all evidence on the record should be considered and inferences made out of those for the nonmoving party without making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence. Also must ignore all evidence favorable to the moving party that jury is not required to believe.