RILEY v. Columbus Consolidated Government et al

Filing 37

ORDER granting 35 Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's claim based on Plaintiff's 2011 application. No claims raised in Plaintiff's Complaint in this action remain for trial. Ordered by Judge Clay D. Land on 08/01/2013. (CGC)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA COLUMBUS DIVISION ROBERT RILEY, * Plaintiff, * vs. * COLUMBUS CONSOLIDATED GOVERNMENT, * CASE NO. 4:12-CV-38 (CDL) * Defendant. * O R D E R The Court previously concluded that genuine fact disputes remain for trial on Plaintiff Robert Riley’s (“Riley”) claims that the Columbus Consolidated Government (“Columbus”) discriminated against Riley because of his race when Columbus failed to promote him to the position of traffic engineer after he applied for the position in 2011 and 2012. Riley v. Columbus Consol. Gov’t, No. 4:12-CV-38, 2013 WL 3227733, at *8 (M.D. Ga. June 25, 2013). The Court permitted Columbus to file a Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 35), which is presently pending before the Court. below, the Court finds that Riley For the reasons set forth failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to the promotion decision based on his 2011 application. to summary judgment on that Columbus is therefore entitled claim, and no claims Riley’s Complaint in this action remain for trial. raised in Riley’s claim based on his 2012 application was not asserted in his Complaint, and Riley never amended his Complaint to add it. Accordingly, any claim based on Riley’s 2012 application is not properly before the Court in this action. Moreover, Riley now represents that he has filed a charge of discrimination regarding this claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and that the EEOC is currently investigating the claim. Therefore, the claim is premature and cannot be considered by the Court at this time. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD Summary judgment may be granted only “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Civ. P. 56(a). In determining whether a genuine Fed. R. dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing party’s favor. 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., A fact is material if it is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit. Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. 2 Id. FACTUAL BACKGROUND The following facts are undisputed for purposes of summary judgment. Riley works engineering technician. for Columbus as senior Riley, a black male, promotion to traffic engineer in 2010. the promotion. a traffic applied for a Riley did not receive Instead, a white male got the job. Riley filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, claiming race and age discrimination based on the 2010 promotion denial. received the charge on October 20, 2010. The EEOC Riley received a Right to Sue letter from the EEOC dated November 17, 2011. The traffic engineer hired in 2010 resigned in September 2011. Columbus posted the position in December 2011. applied for the job on December 20, 2011. Columbus withdrew the job posting. position at that time. In Riley Shortly thereafter, Columbus did not fill the January 2012, Riley asked his supervisor about the status of the traffic engineer position, and the supervisor replied that he had not received an application from a qualified candidate and that he would not discuss the position with Riley again. Riley Dep. 61:23-63:4, ECF No. 16; Compl. ¶¶ 22-23, ECF No. 1. The position remained unfilled. charge Riley did not file an EEOC regarding denied promotion based on his 2011 application. this action in February 2012, alleging 3 Riley filed race discrimination based on the 2010 denied promotion. the and age He also made claims of race discrimination and retaliation based on the 2011 denied promotion. Columbus reposted the traffic engineer position in March 2012. Riley reapplied for the traffic engineer position in December of 2012. The position remained open. Riley did not seek leave to amend his Complaint to add claims regarding the promotion decision based on his 2012 application, and he did not point to any evidence in his response to Columbus’s original summary judgment motion that he had filed an EEOC charge regarding that promotion decision. The Court previously granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on Riley’s race and age discrimination claims arising out of the 2010 promotion decision. *5. Riley, 2013 WL 3227733, at The Court also concluded that Riley’s retaliation claims based on the 2011 and 2012 promotion denials failed. Finally, the Court concluded that Riley’s Id. at *6. claims brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Columbus and his supervisor failed. Id. at *7-*8. Therefore, the Court found that the only remaining claims are Riley’s race discrimination claims based on the 2011 and 2012 promotion denials, which Riley asserts pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Id. at *8. Columbus did not raise the issue of failure to exhaust administrative remedies in its original summary judgment motion, 4 and the Court did not address the issue sua sponte. The Court permitted Columbus to file a supplemental motion to address the issue. DISCUSSION “Before suing under Title VII, a plaintiff exhaust [his] administrative remedies.” Inc. v. Morris, curiam). 606 F.3d 1285, 1295 must first H&R Block E. Enters., (11th Cir. 2010) (per “To do so, a plaintiff must file a timely charge of discrimination with the discriminatory act.” EEOC within 180 days of the last Id.; accord Watson v. Blue Circle, Inc., 324 F.3d 1252, 1258 (11th Cir. 2003) (noting that in a nondeferral state like Georgia, a charge of discrimination must be filed within 180 days of action). If a plaintiff “judicial complaint is the alleged timely files limited by the unlawful an EEOC scope employment charge, of the his EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination.” Thomas v. Miami Dade Pub. Health Trust, (11th 369 F. App’x 19, 22 (internal quotation marks omitted). Cir. 2010) (per curiam) “Judicial claims are proper if they amplify, clarify, or more clearly focus the allegations in the EEOC complaint, but . . . allegations of new acts of discrimination are inappropriate.” Id. (alteration in original) (internal quotation marks omitted). Here, it is undisputed that Riley filed an EEOC charge in 2010. That charge focused on the 2010 promotion decision. 5 The EEOC investigated the charge and letter on November 17, 2011. sent Riley withdrew the job position remained open. Right to Sue Riley applied for the traffic engineer position again in December 2011. Columbus a posting, and Shortly thereafter, the traffic engineer When Riley asked his supervisor about the status of the traffic engineer position in January 2012, the supervisor replied that he had not received an application from a qualified candidate and that he would not discuss the position with Riley again. Therefore, Riley knew or should have known by January 2012 that he was not going to be promoted to traffic engineer based on his December 2011 application. The decision not to promote Riley based on his December 2011 application was a new act of alleged discrimination that did not occur until after the charge. EEOC completed its investigation of Riley’s 2010 Accordingly, Riley was required to file a new charge of discrimination. Riley did not, however, file an EEOC charge regarding the failure to promote based on the December 2011 application. His 2011 failure to promote claim is therefore barred for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Riley’s failure to promote claim based on his December 2012 application did not arise Complaint in this action. until well after Riley filed his Riley did not seek leave to amend his Complaint to add a claim based on that decision. that claim is not properly before the Court. 6 Therefore, Moreover, Riley represented in his response to Columbus’s supplemental motion for summary judgment that Columbus has now hired a white male to fill the traffic engineer position, that Riley recently filed an EEOC charge regarding this decision, and that the EEOC has not yet completed its investigation of that charge. Accordingly, even if Riley had asserted a claim in this action based on his December 2012 application, it would be premature. CONCLUSION As discussed above, Riley did not exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to the promotion decision based on Riley’s 2011 application. Columbus entitled to summary judgment on that claim. is therefore No claims raised in Riley’s Complaint remain for trial, and final judgment shall be entered in favor of Defendants for the reasons stated in today’s Order and in the Court’s Order dated June 25, 2013. The failure application to promote claim based on is not properly before the Court Riley’s 2012 in this action because Riley did not assert it in this action and because the EEOC is currently investigating that claim. Order shall bar Riley from bringing a new Nothing in this action after he exhausts his administrative remedies with regard to his claim based on his 2012 application. 7 IT IS SO ORDERED, this 1st day of August, 2013. S/Clay D. Land CLAY D. LAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 8

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