This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
Rose Lake Golf Club, Inc.,
Filed August 14, 2007
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Matthew T. Nielsen, Krahmer & Nielsen, P.A., 204 Lake Avenue, Suite 201, Fairmont, MN 56031 (for respondent)
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge
Linda Welchlin appeals from a judgment dismissing her claim of marital-status discrimination. Following a court trial with an advisory jury, the district court concluded that appellant’s marital status was not a direct or indirect motivating factor in respondent Rose Lake Golf Club, Inc.’s decision to discharge her; respondent had met its burden of producing evidence of a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for discharging appellant; and appellant had not shown respondent’s reasons were a pretext for a discriminatory discharge. Because the district court did not err in its application of the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting analysis, we affirm.
In considering a
motion for judgment as a matter of law, the district court views the evidence
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and considers “whether the
verdict is manifestly against the entire evidence or whether despite the jury’s
findings of fact the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Langeslag
v. KYMN Inc., 664 N.W.2d 860, 864 (
An employee is
protected from marital-status discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights
Act (HMRA), Minn. Stat. §§ 363A.01, .02, subd. 1(a), .03, subd. 24, .08,
subd. 2 (2006). See, e.g., Kepler v. Kordel, Inc., 542 N.W.2d 645, 647-48 (Minn. App. 1996) (setting out
elements of marital-status discrimination claim), review denied (Minn. Mar. 19, 1996). Plaintiffs may prove discriminatory intent by
direct evidence or by using circumstantial evidence in accordance with the
three-part burden-shifting test set out in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973).
that discriminatory comments by a club board member constitute marital status
discrimination as a matter of law. Under
the direct-evidence test, see Feges v. Perkins Restaurants, Inc., 483
N.W.2d 701, 710 n.4 (
As for the
three-part McDonnell-Douglas test,
appellant must make out a prima facie case of discriminatory intent, and if,
successful, the burden of production shifts to the defendant who must produce
admissible evidence sufficient to allow a reasonable trier of fact to conclude
that there was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the discharge.
The district court concluded that appellant’s evidence of discrimination met the first part of the McDonnell-Douglas test, which shifted the burden to respondent to meet the second part of the test—showing nondiscriminatory reasons for appellant’s discharge. The district court determined, based on the testimony of the board members, that respondent met its burden to show a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for appellant’s discharge. The court also determined that appellant had not shown that the board’s reasons were merely pretext for discrimination. In any event, appellant relies solely on the evidence of a board member’s comments to support her claim that she was entitled to judgment as a matter of law; she does not contend that the findings supporting the second and third parts of the analysis were erroneous and she does not provide a transcript for this court to review the basis for those findings.
The record reflects that the court with an advisory jury found that by the greater weight of all of the direct and indirect evidence presented, appellant’s divorce was not a motivating factor in the club’s decision to terminate appellant. We observe no error in the trial court’s findings or conclusions.
Appellant’s motions were for judgments as a matter of law under the new rule
50. After trial begins, rule 50 governs
motions for judgment as a matter of law.