United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON District Judge
Gary Wrolstad worked for defendant CUNA Mutual Insurance
Society for more than 25 years. Then, in 2009, his
department's priorities shifted, and senior management
began demanding more from Wrolstad. Whether these evolving
standards were adequately communicated to Wrolstad is an open
question, but in fall 2009, the company decided to eliminate
Wrolstad's position and assign his duties to a more
senior employee. Wrolstad applied for several other positions
with the company around that time, but the company refused to
hire him in any of these capacities. Wrolstad signed a Waiver
and Release of All Claims in exchange for severance pay and
other consideration, and he left the company on December 30,
months later, Wrolstad filed an age discrimination complaint
against CUNA Mutual with the Madison Equal Opportunities
Commission. As a result, CUNA Mutual turned around and sued
him in state court for violating the terms of the Waiver and
Release of All Claims. So Wrolstad filed this suit, bringing
discrimination and retaliation claims against CUNA Mutual
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 621 et seq.
CUNA Mutual has moved for summary judgment. Dkt. 10. In
response, Wrolstad has moved for leave to amend his complaint
to drop a number of allegations and claims. Dkt. 42. Wrolstad
concedes that he cannot adduce sufficient evidence to sustain
discrimination claims as to four of the five positions he
applied for and did not secure.CUNA Mutual agrees to the proposed
amendments. The proposed amendments will streamline summary
judgment, so the court will grant Wrolstad's motion.
Wrolstad's proposed amended complaint, Dkt. 43, is the
operative complaint, and the court will redirect CUNA
Mutual's motion for summary judgment toward that
Wrolstad has not adduced evidence sufficient to sustain his
remaining discrimination claims, and because Wrolstad's
retaliation claim is time barred, the court will grant CUNA
Mutual's motion for summary judgment and close this case.
where noted, the following facts are undisputed.
Wrolstad's employment and termination
Mutual provides insurance products and financial services to
credit unions and their members throughout the United States.
Wrolstad began working for CUNA Mutual in 1984. Over the
course of his employment there, Wrolstad held a variety of
positions. Most recently, beginning in August 2006, Wrolstad
worked as a financial reporting manager. Wrolstad worked as a
financial reporting manager until December 30, 2009, when
CUNA Mutual eliminated that position and terminated Wrolstad.
2009, Michael Bress became CUNA Mutual's Vice President,
Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis, and, in that
capacity, oversaw Wrolstad (among others). Bress reported to
Jerry Pavelich, CUNA Mutual's CFO at that time. In
response to “a good deal of dissatisfaction with [the
Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis] area of CUNA
Mutual, ” Bress began exploring how to better organize
the department and improve its financial reports. Dkt. 37,
¶ 18. In particular, CUNA Mutual's senior leadership
wanted more analysis in the financial reports: they wanted
the reports to explain the data and “tell a
story.” Id. ¶ 26. Wrolstad prepared those
reports, and these new goals marked the beginning of the end
Nygard, Wrolstad's direct supervisor at that time,
addressed these new, increased expectations during
Wrolstad's 2009 mid-year review. Wrolstad's mid-year
evaluation-prepared in September 2009-provided:
Areas for development that have been observed in the short
managerial window needed for the evolving expectations of the
Corporate FP&A group:
• Change agency: with the group change, the focus has
been on replication of the existing model. Success of the
group will require crafting a new vision for reporting.
• Strategic view: reporting historically has been
expected to be a compliance exercise which has been very
focused on rudimentary variance analysis. Reporting
commentary needs to move focus to impact of results upon
expected performance (forecast) and alignment with strategic
• Root cause analysis: variance analysis needs to move
to a root cause from the strict plan vs. actual line item
These will challenge [Wrolstad] as the Corporate FP&A
group evolves to this new set of expectations. He will need
to leverage his strong historical knowledge, network and work
ethic to continue to be successful this year.
In the short term, I look to [Wrolstad] to draft an
individual development plan (IDP) and establish goals for the
rest of the year that take the above into consideration.
Id. ¶ 30. For his part, Wrolstad commented,
“I feel like my job is to prepare and review our
monthly financial results in formats that are understandable
to most people in the company. I interact with and work well
with a diverse group of personalities.” Id.
that time, Bress told Wrolstad, “Jerry doesn't like
the reports.” Dkt. 27, ¶ 18. Wrolstad states that
he did not understand what Bress and Pavelich expected, that
Bress did not explain the comment, and that the performance
review did not provide any concrete guidance for him.
Wrolstad believes that the mid-year evaluation was not fair
to him: he “was criticized for needing more strategic
analysis in [his] reports when [he] was never told that by
Nygard, Bress or Pavelich.” Id. ¶ 14.
Bress-apparently rightly so-did not believe that Wrolstad
understood what needed to be ...