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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Western Division
February 7, 2014, Decided; February 7, 2014, Filed
No. 4:12CV00393 JLH
[*772] FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
This age discrimination case was tried to the Court and is now ripe for decision. Lonnie E. Williams was employed on two different occasions as the service manager at the North Point Mazda/Volkswagen store in Sherwood, Arkansas. His second stint abruptly ended at the end of April of 2011. Williams says that he was fired because of his age. The defendants deny that Williams was fired and deny that any adverse action was taken due to Williams's age. They contend that Williams resigned after learning that the duties of the manager of the service department would be divided between him and another person.
Williams was born in June of 1947, so he was approaching sixty-four years of age when [**2] his employment at North Point Mazda/Volkswagen ended. By that time, he had been in the parts and service portion of the automotive industry for more than forty years. His career had included two stints with Volkswagen of Mid-America, and he was certified as a Volkswagen master technician. He was the service manager at North Point Mazda when it opened in 1986 until he resigned in 2001. Partly because of his connections with Volkswagen Mid-America, the North Point Mazda store acquired a Volkswagen franchise in 1996 and then became North Point Mazda/Volkswagen.
Although North Point Mazda/Volkswagen operates as a single dealership, it has separate buildings and separate showrooms for sales of Mazda vehicles, on the one hand, and Volkswagen vehicles, on the other. It has only one service building, however, for both brands. The Volkswagen "service lane," where customers bring their automobiles for service, is a part of the building that houses the Volkswagen showroom. The Mazda service lane, on the other hand, is part of the service building where all of the technicians, both those who work on Mazda vehicles and those who work on Volkswagen vehicles, work.
North Point Mazda/Volkswagen is owned [**3] and operated by a limited liability company, N.P. VKW LLC. That entity is part of the Asbury Automotive Group. The Asbury Automotive Group owns clusters of automobile dealerships in various cities across the United States. Each cluster of dealerships is referred to as a "platform." Asbury Automotive Group has several automobile dealerships in central Arkansas as part of their North Point platform.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
998 F. Supp. 2d 769 *; 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15558 **; 121 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1504; 97 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) P45,009; 2014 WL 504725
LONNIE E. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF v. ASBURY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, INC.; and NP VKW LLC, d/b/a NORTH POINT MAZDA/VOLKSWAGEN, DEFENDANTS
Subsequent History: Costs and fees proceeding at, Judgment entered by Williams v. Asbury Auto. Group, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35031 (E.D. Ark., Mar. 18, 2014)
service manager, Automotive, terminated, service department, fired, backpay, brand, dealership, employees, customer, age discrimination, resigned, monthly, liquidated damages, contrived, franchise, company policy, gross profit, requests, younger, hired, dual, adverse employment action, non discriminatory reason, confidential documents, monthly salary, parent company, lost wages, front pay, conversation