Jackson v. Cal-Western Packaging Corp., No. 09-20411, was an age discrimination action in which the district court granted summary judgment for defendant-employer.
As the court wrote: "Jackson brought suit against Cal-Western for age discrimination. His claim primarily relied on a remark Phelps allegedly made to another coworker in 2006 that Jackson was an "old, gray-haired fart" and that the coworker would be in charge when Jackson retired. Cal-Western moved for summary judgment. The district court ruled that Jackson had alleged a prima facie case of discrimination and that Cal-Western had offered a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for firing him, but that Jackson had failed to show that there was a fact issue as to whether Cal-Western's reason for firing him was pretextual."
The court of appeals affirmed, holding that 1) plaintiff did not show that a comment by a coworker was proximate in time to the termination or related to the employment decision, and thus the comment could not qualify as direct evidence; and 2) plaintiff's assertion of innocence alone did not create a factual issue as to the falsity of defendant's proffered reason for terminating him.