Daumont-Colon v. Coop de Ahorro y Cred Caguas

United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit No. 19-1709 WANDA E. DAUMONT-COLÓN, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. COOPERATIVA DE AHORRO Y CRÉDITO DE CAGUAS and IRMA HILERIO-ARROYO, as officer and in her personal capacity, Defendants, Appellees. APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO [Hon. Camille L. Vélez-Rivé, U.S. Magistrate Judge] Before Barron and Selya, Circuit Judges, and Katzmann, Judge.* Godwin Aldarondo-Girald and Aldarondo Girald Law Office on brief for appellant. Enrique J. Mendoza Méndez and Mendoza Law Offices on brief for appellees. December 4, 2020 * Of the United States Court of International Trade, sitting by designation. SELYA, Circuit Judge. Plaintiff-appellant Wanda E. Daumont-Colón (Daumont) asserts that she was fired from her position as a branch manager for defendant-appellee Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito de Caguas (the Credit Union) because of her age. The Credit Union demurs, asserting that Daumont was discharged because of a material breach of its rules of conduct. A jury trial ensued and, at the close of Daumont's evidence, the district court granted the Credit Union's motion for judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(a). On appeal, Daumont challenges what she characterizes as the district court's misapplication of the law of the case doctrine, its exclusion of evidence as to the discipline meted out to other employees, and its determination that she failed to present facts sufficient to take her case to the jury. Concluding, as we do, that Daumont is foraging in an empty cupboard, we affirm. I. BACKGROUND Many of the facts are uncontroverted and were stipulated by the parties. We supplement that account with other uncontroversial facts, mindful that the nub of the parties' dispute is not on the raw facts, but on what those facts signify. The Credit Union is located in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and offers financial services to its members. In March of 2015, Daumont — then sixty years of age — was serving as the branch manager for one of the Credit Union's branches. Irma Hilerio- - 2 - Arroyo (Hilerio) was the Credit Union's chief executive officer (with the title of "Executive President").1 The events leading up to Daumont's dismissal can be succinctly summarized. On February 20, 2015, Daumont was at work when she received a telephone call from her husband, José Tirado, who was a long-time member of the Credit Union. Tirado asked Daumont to withdraw eighty dollars from his line of credit at the Credit Union and deposit it into his checking account. Daumont proceeded to fill out a withdrawal slip and, on the line provided for the member's signature, signed Tirado's name. Daumont then gave the withdrawal slip to a teller, Norberto Santos, and instructed him to obtain the necessary authorization for the transaction. At trial, Santos testified that he could not recall whether he tried to obtain authorization from his immediate supervisor, Joanny Torres. What is clear, though, is that the transaction was never properly authorized. And once Torres learned of the transaction, ...

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