Marnocha v. St. Vincent Hospital and Health Care Center, Inc., No. 20-1374 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Marnocha, a board-certified doctor in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine, received her license in 1981 and joined St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis in 1987. In 2017, Dr. Marandi began became the Executive Director of the pediatric service for St. Vincent, which has two locations. Marandi concluded there were too many neonatologists on staff. In formulating his restructuring plan, Marandi reviewed workflows and schedules, before deciding to terminate the neonatologists at one of St. Vincent’s campuses. Standard restructure review required an HR employee, to assess the impact on the entire targeted group, “to make sure that any business decisions [were not] based off of specifics to an individual and that [they are] specific to the organizational needs.” In 2018, Marandi discharged Marnocha and four of her colleagues. Four of the terminated neonatologists interviewed for one open position at the other campus. A 35-year-old (Landis) was chosen; the others were over 50 years old.
Marnocha filed suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621. The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of St. Vincent. Marnocha failed to establish that the doctors at the other campus were similarly situated; she did not provide their ages, work history, performance reviews, supervisors, or qualifications. The two work environments are distinct, varying by NICU level, acuity, and pace. The record supports a range of legitimate, non-age-related reasons for hiring Landis over Marnocha.