United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court in this employment discrimination case is
the Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 65) filed
by Triumph Aerostructures, LLC (“Triumph”), to
which Karen Morgan (“Morgan”) has responded in
opposition (Doc. No. 70), and Triumph has replied (Doc. No.
73). For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted,
and Morgan's claims will be dismissed.
Factual Background 
October 24, 2005, Vought Aircraft Industries, Inc. hired
Morgan as an Aircraft Assembler, and she kept that job when
Triumph acquired Vought. (DSOF ¶¶ 1, 2). In
December 2013, Morgan applied for, and received, a promotion
to an Aircraft Inspector position, and was assigned to the
production line for the C-130, a military aircraft.
(Id. ¶¶ 4, 9).
name suggests, an Aircraft Inspector inspects aircraft parts
that have been built by assemblers. If a deflect or flaw is
observed in the part, the Inspector has authority to send the
part back to assembly for correction. (Id.
¶¶ 7, 8).
Morgan began working as an Inspector on the C-130 line,
Christopher Criss (“Criss”), a subassembly
supervisor, screamed at her for rejecting parts, and later
became angry with her for buying (or approving) parts.
(Id. ¶¶ 24, 25). Even though Criss screamed
and yelled, Morgan does not recall him ever using any slurs
or derogatory words against her. She believes, however, that
Criss was trying to intimidate her to go against company
policy and use defective parts. (PSOF ¶ 1).
January 2014, Morgan moved from subassembly to major
assembly, where she was supervised by Don Cuozzo
(“Cuozzo”). (DSOF ¶¶ 32, 34). Cuozzo
believed Morgan was responsible for a missing part and
required her to look for it. That turned out to be a
misunderstanding because Criss had taken the part to a
meeting with supervisors and the plant manager. (Id.
¶¶ 34, 36-38). Although Morgan was not present at
the meeting, she claims Criss threw the part on the table and
said he “wanted something done about” Morgan
because the part was defective and she had approved it.
(Id. ¶¶ 39-40). Later, Cuozzo took Morgan
aside and told her that he had received a complaint about her
from Criss, who “wanted something done” because
Morgan had approved the defective part. (Id. ¶
action prompted Morgan to contact Valerie Jordan-Taylor, a
Human Resources Generalist for Triumph. At a meeting on
January 16, 2014, Morgan told Valerie-Jordan
“everything that had happened to that point, ”
including that Criss was upset about Morgan approving a part,
even though Morgan thought the part was good. (Id.
¶ 43). Morgan does not recall telling Jordan-Taylor that
any slurs or offensive language had been used toward her by
Criss, but wanted an apology from Criss, and an
acknowledgment that he had acted unprofessionally.
(Id. ¶¶ 47).
the meeting, Jordan-Taylor prepared a written summary that,
in part, reads:
Karen stated to me that Chris Criss screamed at her; said
that everyone time [sic] the department got a new inspector
they “had to go through this, ” that Karen was
being too picky. Karen stated that she knew Chris Criss was
mad when he approached her and she felt the environment
around her was a little hostile. Karen stated that she is new
to the program; she doesn't stamp off parts on her own
yet; another inspector or her supervisor checks her work.
Karen also felt that Chris Criss had complained about her to
other employees. Someone told Karen that Criss had wrote an
e-mail to Ron White complaining about her and Karen felt that
if that was true, she wanted to know what the e-mail said
because she doesn't appreciate Criss making slanderous
comments about her.
I explained to Karen that I would talk with Chris Criss
regarding his behavior. I also told Karen that if she had
encounters of this type, she should inform the person that
they needed to talk with her supervisor and then to just walk
away from the situation.
(Id. ¶ 46).
also spoke to Criss, summarizing their conversations as
I talked with Criss about the situation. He stated to me that
they always have these problems with new inspectors. Criss
felt like Karen should not have gotten the inspector job;
that she wasn't qualified to do it. I explained to him
that per the contract she was qualified to do the job and
currently was in training. I asked Criss to be a little more
conscious of his actions and words toward Karen and to give
her the opportunity to learn the job. I also explained that
if he had problems with her inspection of his parts he should
take them up with Karen's supervisor until Karen has
completed all her training.
(Id. ¶ 48). She also summarized a conversation
with Chris Ray (“Ray), whom Morgan had identified as a
I talked with Chris Ray regarding Chris Criss' actions
toward Karen Morgan. C. Ray commented that he felt Chris
Criss handled the situation in the wrong way. Ray stated that
Criss was mad because the earlier part had not been approved
but the second part had. Ray stated everyone knows how Criss
can talk and he could have approached Karen in a different
way. Ray stated that Criss can sound like he was yelling when
he is adamant about something. C. Ray felt like Karen was
taking Criss words a little strongly.
(Id. ¶ 49).
claims that, after talking to the involved parties, her
“assessment was that Morgan was a new Inspector and
Morgan did not understand everything about the
position.” (Id. ¶ 52). She claims to have
told Criss to be more patient with Morgan, give her more
direction, and show more understanding because Morgan was new
to the job of Inspector. (Id. ¶ 53).
then followed-up with Morgan the following week and
checked-in with her on a monthly basis thereafter to see if
the problem was resolved. Morgan reported no further problems
with Criss. (Id.).
conversation with Jordan Taylor occurred around the time that
Morgan moved from subassembly to major assembly. While
working in the major assembly area on the C-130 line, Cuozzo
mistakenly thought that Morgan had missed an inspection call.
When discussing the supposed missed call with her, Cuozzo did
not make any derogatory comments about women. He did,
however, tell Morgan “every morning” thereafter
not to miss calls, and laughed. (Id. ¶ 55-56).
while working in Cuozzo's area, Randy Cox
(“Cox”), the lead inspector on the C-130 told
Morgan that he was “burned out, ” and that he was
tired of answering questions from new employees.
(Id. ¶ 57). Cuozzo then told Morgan to direct
her questions to him, instead of Cox. Although Morgan thought
she was being singled out, she did not ask other inspectors
whether they, too, had similarly been instructed to ask
Cuozzo questions, instead of Cox. (Id. ¶ 58).
2014, Morgan was still on the C-130 line when Anthony Booker,
a mechanic, told her to “get off the
jig” because she did not belong there.
(Id. ¶ 61). Booker did not explain what he
meant by her not belonging, but he stood in her way so that
she could not walk down the stairs and off the
reported the incident to Jordan-Taylor, who told Morgan that
she would talk with Booker. Morgan admits that, after
speaking with Jordan-Taylor, “it was better, ”
and admits that she has not had any further issues with
Booker. (Id. ¶¶ 67-68).
Cuozzo was not at work, Randy Vaughter
(“Vaughter”) filled in as the supervisor. On June
5, 2014, he showed Morgan a picture of a panel with bolts
missing that should not have been approved. Because Morgan
was not the one who approved the panel, she replied,
“okay, I will keep an eye out on that so that it
doesn't happen again.” (Id. ¶ 71).
Vaughter did not use any derogatory language or call Morgan
names when he confronted her with the picture of the panel.
Nevertheless, Morgan took exception to the comment because
Vaughter was suggesting she had made a mistake, when, in
fact, she had not. (Id. ¶¶
2014, Morgan had transferred to the second shift, where she
was supervised by Rick Angel (Angel”). Morgan describe
her working relationship with Angel as being
“great.” (DSOF ¶ 82). Whenever Morgan had a
problem, she reported it to Angel who then took care of the
matter. For example, on June 17, 2014, Morgan was asked to
close out an order for a panel that was not part of her
inspection area. When Morgan told Angel about the
instruction, he told Morgan he would take care of it and for
her to forward all of her emails to him so he could filter