Nicholas v. Riverside Academy
ORDER AND REASONS granting 23 Motion for Summary Judgment. The plaintiff's claims are hereby dismissed. Signed by Judge Martin L.C. Feldman on 1/11/17. (clc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
CHELSEY L. NICHOLAS
ORDER AND REASONS
Local Rule 7.5 of the Eastern District of Louisiana requires
that memoranda in opposition to a motion be filed eight days prior
to the noticed submission date.
No memoranda in opposition to
submission on January 11, 2017, has been submitted. 1
Accordingly, because the motion is unopposed, and further, it
appearing to the Court that the motion has merit, 2 IT IS ORDERED:
This is so notwithstanding the Court’s Order dated December 7,
2016 in which the Court outlined the plaintiff’s failure to
cooperate in scheduling and appearing for her deposition,
continued the trial schedule, and in which the Court admonished
counsel for plaintiff that “[t]he January 3, 2017 deadline for
filing any memorandum in opposition to the defendant’s motion for
summary judgment will not be extended.
Failure to timely file
opposition papers may subject plaintiff or her counsel to
additional sanctions.” See Order dtd. 12/7/16.
2 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 instructs that summary judgment
is proper if the record discloses no genuine dispute as to any
material fact such that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.
No genuine dispute of fact exists if the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Summary judgment is
also proper if the party opposing the motion fails to establish an
essential element of a claim. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
In this regard, the non-moving party
must adduce competent evidence, including but not limited to sworn
affidavits and depositions, to buttress her claims. See Donaghey
v. Ocean Drilling & Exploration Co., 974 F.2d 646, 649 (5th Cir.
In its detailed motion for summary judgment, which is
supported by its Statement of Uncontested Material Facts, the
plaintiff’s deposition testimony, as well as sworn declarations
from Riverside’s principal and board president, Riverside submits
that summary judgment is proper based on two independent grounds.
Considering the summary judgment standard, the applicable McDonnel
Douglas burden shifting framework, and the record, Court agrees.
Riverside first submits that the plaintiff cannot establish
a prima facie case of discrimination based on race under Title VII
because she has no evidence that she was replaced by someone
outside the protected group or that other similarly situated
employees outside the protected class were treated more favorably.
The plaintiff herself concedes in her deposition testimony that
her teaching duties were assumed by an existing employee, Cornelius
Corprew and her volleyball coaching duties were assumed by another
existing employee, Margo Frederick. Even if the plaintiff could
show that she was replaced, which she has not done, the record
indisputably shows that her primary job function was assumed by an
employee of her same race, Corprew. Additionally, the plaintiff
has not shown that employees outside her protected class were
treated more favorably.
She does not dispute that of the four
staff members laid off in November 2014, three of them were white.
She has failed to make out a prima facie case of discrimination or
show that her layoff was a pretext for discrimination. For this
reason alone, summary judgment is warranted.
As a second and independent ground supporting summary
judgment, Riverside submits that the plaintiff cannot and has not
rebutted its legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for laying her
Again, the Court agrees.
Even if the plaintiff could
establish a prima facie case, she has not carried her ultimate
burden of persuasion by showing that Riverside’s reduction in force
was a pretext for discrimination.
Riverside has articulated a
legitimate, non-discriminatory business reason for its decision to
lay off the plaintiff: a reduction in force driven by financial
considerations. It has submitted evidence supporting this this
financial motivation. The plaintiff offers no countervailing
that Riverside Academy’s motion for summary judgment is hereby
GRANTED as unopposed. The plaintiff’s claims are hereby dismissed.
New Orleans, Louisiana, January 11, 2017
MARTIN L. C. FELDMAN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
evidence to persuade the Court to second guess Riverside’s
personnel decision. Nor has the plaintiff submitted any evidence
that might suggest that the plaintiff’s termination had any
connection to her race. Because the plaintiff has not shown that
Riverside’s reduction in force was a pretext for racial
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