Mitchell vs American Eagle Airlines, Inc.
RULING: American Eagle's 26 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. Accordingly a separate Judgment shall be entered. Signed by Judge Shelly D. Dick on 6/13/2017. (KAH)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
BASHEGA A. MITCHELL
AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES, INC.
This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgement1 filed by
Defendant, American Eagle Airlines Inc., (“American Eagle” or “Defendant”). Plaintiff,
Bashega Mitchell, (“Mitchell”) has filed an Opposition2 to this motion, to which Defendant
has filed a Reply.3 For the following reasons, the motion will be GRANTED.
Mitchell, an African American woman, filed this employment discrimination and
retaliation lawsuit against her former employer, American Eagle. American Eagle now
offers summary judgment evidence that Mitchell was terminated following a 2 year
medical leave because she was medically unable to return to work.5 Mitchell maintains
she was actually terminated because of her race, religion, disability, and in retaliation for
filing an EEOC charge.6
Rec. Doc. 26.
Rec. Doc. 35.
Rec. Doc. 42.
The Court draws the factual background from the following documents: Rec. Docs. 1, 26-1, 35, 42.
Rec. Doc. 27-5, 27-7.
Rec. Doc. 1, p. 3, ¶11; pp. 5-6, ¶23; p. 6, ¶25; Rec. Doc. 3, ¶11; pp. 5-6, ¶23; p. 6, ¶25.
Page 1 of 16
Mitchell was terminated by American Eagle on February 9, 2014.7 Mitchell filed a
Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
on June 23, 2011, claiming that she was demoted because of her race in violation of Title
VII, and La. R.S. 23:301 et seq.8 On July 2, 2012, Mitchell filed an Amended Charge
wherein she broadened her claim to include discrimination based upon sex, religion, and
claims for retaliation, unfair working conditions, and a hostile work environment.9 Mitchell
also expanded the time span within which the discriminatory acts occurred.10 After an
unsuccessful conciliation, the EEOC issued Mitchell a Right to Sue Letter on April 20,
2015.11 Approximately seven months later, on November 10, 2015, Mitchell filed her
Original Complaint against American Eagle asserting claims arising under Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by 42 U.S.C. §2000 et seq., and the Louisiana
Constitution.12 Mitchell subsequently filed an Amended Complaint to correctly name and
identify American Eagle as the sole Defendant.13 The Court has previously granted
American Eagle’s partial dismissal and will only review the alleged discriminatory and
retaliatory acts that occurred on or after November 29, 2011.14 American Eagle now
moves for summary judgment on Mitchell’s alleged discrimination and retaliation claims.
Mitchell opposes this motion.
Rec. Doc. 27-3, p. 5.
Rec. Doc. 1, pp. 6-7, ¶28; Rec. Doc. 3, pp. 6-7, ¶28; Rec. Doc. 21, p. 9.
Rec. Doc. 21, p. 10. In her original Charge of Discrimination, Mitchell indicated that the dates of
discrimination occurred on March 21, 2011. However, in her Amended Charge, Mitchell changed the dates
of discrimination to June 14, 2010 through March 4, 2011. Rec Doc. 21, pp. 9-10.
Rec. Doc. 21, p. 10.
Rec. Doc. 1-1.
Rec. Doc. 1, p. 1, ¶1; p. 5, ¶21; Rec. Doc. 3, p. 1, ¶1; p. 5, ¶21.
Rec. Doc. 3. In the caption and throughout her Complaint, Mitchell asserted her claims against “American
Eagle Airlines, Inc., et al.” Rec. Doc. 1.
Rec. Doc. 25.
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LAW AND ANALYSIS
A. Summary Judgment Standard
“The court shall grant summary judgment 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.”15 “When assessing whether a dispute to any material fact exists, we consider all
of the evidence in the record but refrain from making credibility determinations or weighing
the evidence.”16 A party moving for summary judgment “must ‘demonstrate the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact,’ but need not negate the elements of the nonmovant’s
case.”17 If the moving party satisfies its burden, “the non-moving party must show that
summary judgment is inappropriate by setting ‘forth specific facts showing the existence
of a genuine issue concerning every essential component of its case.’”18 However, the
non-moving party’s burden “is not satisfied with some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a
scintilla of evidence.”19
Notably, “[a] genuine issue of material fact exists, ‘if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.’”20 All reasonable factual
inferences are drawn in favor of the nonmoving party.21 However, “[t]he Court has no
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).
Delta & Pine Land Co. v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co., 530 F.3d 395, 398-99 (5th Cir. 2008).
Guerin v. Pointe Coupee Parish Nursing Home, 246 F.Supp.2d 488, 494 (M.D. La. 2003)(quoting Little
v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)(en banc)(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-25, 106 S.Ct. at 2552).
Rivera v. Houston Independent School Dist., 349 F.3d 244, 247 (5th Cir. 2003)(quoting Morris v. Covan
World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998)).
Willis v. Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc., 61 F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir. 1995)(quoting Little v. Liquid Air
Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
Pylant v. Hartford Life and Accident Insurance Company, 497 F.3d 536, 538 (5th Cir. 2007)(quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)).
Galindo v. Precision American Corp., 754 F.2d 1212, 1216 (5th Cir. 1985).
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duty to search the record for material fact issues. Rather, the party opposing the summary
judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate precisely
how this evidence supports his claim.”22 “Conclusory allegations unsupported by specific
facts … will not prevent the award of summary judgment; the plaintiff [can]not rest on his
allegations … to get to a jury without any “significant probative evidence tending to
support the complaint.”’”23
B. Viable Claims
Per Mitchell’s EEOC charges, the earliest and latest date the discriminatory acts
occurred on was March 21, 2011.24 Mitchell’s original EEOC charge states that she was
discriminated against because of her race.25 In her amended EEOC charge Mitchell
states that the earliest date the alleged discriminatory acts occurred was June 14, 2010,
and the latest date the alleged discrimination occurred was March 21, 2011.26
Notwithstanding the poorly pleaded EEOC charge, Plaintiff articulates 3 discreet acts
which occurred after November 29, 2011 which the Court will evaluate in the context of
her Title VII claims. Namely, in December 2011 Mitchell was made to work during the
office Christmas party; on February 9, 2012 she was placed on medical leave; and on
February 9, 2014 she was terminated.
C. Exhaustion of Remedies
American Eagle argues that Mitchell’s discriminatory termination claim contained
RSR Corp. v. International Ins. Co., 612 F.3d 851, 857 (5th Cir. 2010).
Nat’l Ass’n of Gov’t Employees v. City Pub. Serv. Bd. of San Antonio, Tex., 40 F.3d 698, 713 (5th Cir.
1994)(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249).
Rec. Doc. 27-4, p. 43. Mitchell’s EEOC charge also notes that it is a continuing action.
Rec. Doc. 27-4, p. 44.
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in her Complaint should be dismissed because she “failed to satisfy the administrative
perquisites for claims related to her termination because she never filed a charge with the
EEOC regarding her termination.”27 Mitchell counters that she satisfied her administrative
prerequisite obligation which “is to file her complaint with the EEOC within 300 days of
the event that gave rise to such action.”28 In Carter v. Target Corporation, the Fifth Circuit
held: “Before bringing a claim under Title VII, a plaintiff must first file a charge with the
EEOC…A plaintiff must exhaust the administrative process and receive her statutory
notice of right-to-sue before filing a civil action in federal court.”29 The Court must now
determine if Mitchell’s EEOC charges provide notice of a claim for termination.
The Fifth Circuit held in Pacheco v. Mineta, “this court interprets what is properly
embraced in review of a Title-VII claim somewhat broadly, not solely by the scope of the
administrative charge itself, but by the scope of the EEOC investigation which can
reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination.”30 Per Pacheco, the
Court may “look slightly beyond [the charge’s] four corners, to its substance rather than
its label”31 to determine whether Plaintiff asserted a claim for termination. Absent in the
“Particulars” portion of the original and amended EEOC charge is any language that
suggests the EEOC would investigate a claim for discriminatory termination. Looking
beyond the four corners of Mitchell’s EEOC charge to the substance rather than the label,
the Court finds no support for Mitchell’s position that she alleged a discriminatory
termination claim or that the EEOC would investigate a claim of discriminatory
Rec. Doc. 27-3, p. 2.
Rec. Doc. 35, pp. 6-7.
541 Fed.Appx. 413, 417 (5th Cir. 2013).
448 F.3d 783, 789 (5th Cir. 2006)(Sanchez v. Standard Brands, Inc., 431 F.2d 455, 466 (5th Cir. 1970)).
448 F.3d at 789.
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termination. Accordingly, the Court finds that any claims relating to her discriminatory
termination claim have not been exhausted and thus require dismissal.
D. Discrimination Claims
Defendant claims that she was discriminated against based upon race, religion,
disability, and sex.
1. Disability Discrimination
To establish a prima facie case for discrimination under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) Mitchell must prove: “(1) [she] has a disability; (2) that [she] was
qualified for the job; [and] (3) that [she] was subject to an adverse employment decision
on account of [her] disability.”32
Plaintiff provides no evidence, nor does she even
mention, her prima facie burden under the ADA. Mitchell argues that she “can sustain
her burden under Title VII or the ADEA”33 and devotes the majority of her argument to a
discussion of why the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting framework does not apply to
the present case.34 Mitchell argues she “must simply demonstrate that a genuine issue
of material fact exists as to whether or not race was a motivating factor in an adverse
employment action [plaintiff] suffered.”35
In support of summary judgment Mitchell offers her affidavit and the affidavit of
Moss v. Harris County Constable Precinct One, 851 F.3d 413, 417 (5th Cir. 2017)(quoting EEOC v. LH
C Grp, Inc., 773 F.3d 668, 697 (5th Cir. 2014)).
Rec. Doc. 35, p. 8.
Mitchell argues that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S.
90, 123 S.Ct. 2148 (2003), “changed the burden-shifting landscape at the summary judgment stage of
employment discrimination lawsuits.” Rec. Doc. 35, p. 9. Mitchell contends “Title VII plaintiffs are no longer
bound by the strictures of the McDonnell Douglas framework.” The Fifth Circuit, however, has upheld the
application of the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework at the summary judgment stage in a Title
VII case following the Supreme Court’s decision in Desert Palace, Inc. Mitchell’s interpretation of the law is
erroneous and contrary to recent controlling Fifth Circuit precedent; thus, it will not be considered.
Rec. Doc. 35, pp. 9-10.
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Wendy Helm, a fellow American Eagle gate agent at the Baton Rouge airport.36 These
affidavits are incompetent summary judgment evidence in support of her disability claim
because they lack specific facts on the issue of Mitchell’s disability, i.e. specifying
Mitchell’s disability, establishing Mitchell was qualified to perform the essential functions
of her job and that she was subjected to an adverse employment action as a result of her
disability. The only statement in Helm’s affidavit that could arguably be considered a
statement regarding any alleged disability is: “I witnessed during the period from January,
2009 until late 2010, Ms. Mitchell was very healthy and was not taking any medication
nor having any problem.” As the Fifth Circuit stated in McAlpine v. Porsche Cars North
America Inc, “To defeat a motion for summary judgment, an opposing party may not rely
merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must – by
affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule – set out specific facts showing a genuine
issue for trial.”37
Accordingly, the Court finds that Mitchell has failed to offer any summary judgment
evidence to establish a prima facie case for disability discrimination under the ADA and
accordingly grants summary judgment dismissal of same.
2. Race Discrimination
To establish a prima facie case for race discrimination, Mitchell must establish the
following: she “(1) is a member of a protected group; (2) was qualified for the position at
issue; (3) was discharged or suffered some adverse employment action by the employer;
and (4) was replaced by someone outside his protected group or was treated less
McAlpine v. Porsche Cars North America Inc., 428 Fed.Appx. 261, 264 (5th Cir. 2010)(internal quotations
Page 7 of 16
favorably than other similarly situated employees outside the protected group.”38 “With
respect to the similarly situated employees’ requirement, a plaintiff must show that she
was treated less favorably than others under nearly identical circumstances.”39 It is
undisputed that Mitchell was a member of a protected group or that she suffered some
type of adverse employment action.
American Eagle contends Mitchell cannot establish the second element of her
prima facie case – she was qualified for the position at issue. American Eagle offered
summary judgment evidence that Mitchell was terminated because she could no longer
perform the essential functions of her job;40 specifically, the requirement to lift up to 75
pounds, bend, and climb and descend stairs.41 Following a back injury on May 18, 2011,
Mitchell was placed on transitional light duty status until February 8, 2012. From February
9, 2012 until February 9, 2014 Mitchell was on medical leave.
The affidavit and
documents submitted by American Eagle establish that American Eagle maintained a
policy of terminating employees who were unable to return to work following a two year
period of medical leave.42 Nearing the second year of her medical leave, American Eagle
sent Mitchell a letter stating the following:
At this time, it does not appear that you can perform the
essential functions of your Station Agent position, with or
without a reasonable accommodation, given your
occupational restrictions or sedentary duty only. If you have
any additional information that you can share regarding an
accommodation that will allow you to perform the essential
functions of your position, please contact me.43
Morris v. Town of Independence, 827 F.3d 396, 400 (5th Cir. 2016).
Id. at 401. (internal citations omitted).
Rec. Doc. 27-4, p. 41.
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Mitchell’s only evidence that she was able to perform the essential functions of her
job is the affidavit of Fredressa Collins, a fellow gate agent for American Eagle airlines at
the Baton Rouge airport. Collins attested that Mitchell “was healthy and was not on any
medication nor having any problem.”44 This statement is conclusory and fails to traverse
the uncontested evidence that Mitchell was restricted to light duty and, thus, not able to
perform the essential functions of the position she held.
Absent evidence which
specifically sets out facts that demonstrate a genuine issue for trial, the Court finds that
Mitchell has not made a prima facie showing that she was qualified for her position at
American Eagle. Given that Mitchell cannot establish every element of her prima facie
race discrimination claim with summary judgment evidence, American Eagle’s motion for
summary judgment is GRANTED.
3. Sex Discrimination
While Mitchell’s EEOC complaints could be construed as alleging a sex
discrimination claim against American Eagle, the Court has scoured the record and
pleadings filed in this case for a claim of discrimination based upon sex and finds no such
claim. Accordingly, given that Mitchell’s EEOC charge for discrimination based upon sex
was not contained in her Complaint or Amended Complaint, the Court will not consider
Mitchell’s claim for sex discrimination.
4. Religious Discrimination
Mitchell claims that she was discriminated against because she was a Jehovah’s
Witness. Mitchell claims that she “was further discriminated against in December of 2011,
Rec. Doc. 35-2, p. 2.
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when she was made to work [the] counter by herself because she could not partake in
the Christmas gathering because of her religion, Jehovah Witness.”46 In her Statement
of Undisputed Facts, Mitchell avers that when “[she] did not participate, again in the
Christmas activities because of her religion, Jehovah’s Witness, Sutton got upset, derided
and abused her and told her to go work the counter while others sit around.”47 The Fifth
Circuit in Davis v. Fort Bend County held:
To establish a prima facie case of religious discrimination
under Title VII, the plaintiff must present evidence that (1) she
held a bona fide religious belief, (2) her belief conflicted with
a requirement of her employment, (3) her employer was
informed of her belief, and (4) she suffered an adverse
employment action for failing to comply with the conflicting
The Fifth Circuit has defined bona fide religious beliefs as those “moral or ethical beliefs
as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional
religious views.”49 The Court’s examination into the sincerity of Mitchell’s religious beliefs
“must be handled with a light touch or judicial shyness.”50
Mitchell fails to establish what bona fide religious belief was infringed upon when
she was required to work during the Christmas party. Mitchell failed to provide summary
judgment evidence that her religious beliefs conflicted with an employment requirement,
such as mandatory attendance at the Christmas gathering.
Mitchell has provided
summary judgment evidence that Sutton was informed of her religious beliefs; however,
Mitchell presents no evidence that she suffered an adverse employment action for being
Rec. Doc. 35, pp. 2-3.
Rec. Doc. 35-1, p. 3.
765 F.3d 480, 485 (5th Cir. 2014).
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scheduled to work during the Christmas gathering because there is no evidence of a
conflicting employment requirement. Mitchell has not established a prima facie case for
religious discrimination per Fifth Circuit jurisprudence. Accordingly, American Eagle’s
Motion for Summary Judgment regarding Mitchell’s religious discrimination is GRANTED.
E. Retaliation Claims
The only viable claims now before the Court are Mitchell’s claims for retaliation
occurring on or after November 29, 2011.51 The alleged retaliatory acts are: 1) making
Mitchell work during the Christmas Party in 2011; 2) placing Mitchell on medical leave on
February 9, 2012; and 3) terminating Mitchell’s employment. Fifth Circuit jurisprudence,
applying the McDonnell Douglas frame work, requires that Mitchell demonstrate the
following to meet her prima facie proof burden for retaliation claims: “(1) [she] participated
in activity protected by Title VII; (2) [her] employer took an adverse employment action
against [her]; and (3) a causal connection exists between the protected activity and the
adverse employment action.”52 “If the plaintiff makes a prima facie showing, the burden
then shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory or nonretaliatory
reason for its employment action.”53 For Mitchell “to carry this burden, [she] must rebut
each nondiscriminatory or nonretaliatroy reason articulated by the employer.”54
1. Religious Retaliation
Mitchell’s alleged acts of religious retaliation are identical to her alleged acts of
religious discrimination.55 The first prong for retaliation under the McDonnell Douglas
See supra note 18.
McCoy, 492 F.3d at 557.
Rec. Doc. 35, pp. 2-3, and Rec. Doc. 35-1, p. 3.
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framework is easily met – Mitchell’s filing of an EEOC charge is a protected Title VII
activity.56 Mitchell, however, fails to demonstrate how working during a Christmas party
is a cognizable adverse employment action under the law. Given this failure, there can
be no “causal connection  between the protected activity and the adverse employment
action.”57 Because Mitchell has neither alleged nor provided any summary judgment
evidence in support of a prima facie case for religious retaliation in accordance with Fifth
Circuit precedent, American Eagle’s motion for summary judgment on Mitchell’s religious
retaliation claim is GRANTED.
2. Medical Leave
Mitchell claims that American Eagle retaliated against her by placing her on
medical leave, which she contends revoked a previously granted accommodation, in
retaliation for her filing an EEOC complaint. Mitchell’s filing of an EEOC charge is a
protected activity under Title VII and easily meets the first prong of McDonnell Douglas.58
Next, Mitchell must show that a reasonable employee would have found the challenged
employment action “materially adverse.”59 An employment action is materially adverse if
“it well might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of
“petty slights or minor annoyances that often take place at work and
that all employees experience” do not qualify as adverse employment actions. The Court
finds that American Eagle’s decision placing Mitchell on medical leave until she was
See Clark County School District v. Breeden, 532 U.S. 268, 269, 121 S.Ct. 1508, 1509, 149 L.Ed. 2d 509
McCoy, 492 F.3d at 557.
See Clark County School District 532 U.S. at 269, 121 S.Ct. at 1509, 149 L.Ed. 2d 509.
Soublet v. Louisiana Tax Com’n, 766 F.Supp.2d 723, 734 (E.D. La. 2011)(quoting Burlington N. & Santa
Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 68 (2006)).
Id., quoting Burlington, 548 U.S. at 68 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).
Page 12 of 16
cleared by her physician or able to perform her duties without an accommodation,
necessitating that Mitchell draw unemployment benefits might well have dissuaded a
reasonable employee from filing an EEOC charge.
Mitchell must demonstrate by substantial evidence that a causal connection exists
between filing her EEOC charge and being placed on medical leave.61 Per the Fifth
Circuit’s decision in Valderaz v. Lubbock County Hospital District, the Court must consider
“three factors when considering the causal link prong: (1) the employee’s past disciplinary
record, (2) whether the employer followed its typical policy and procedures62 in
terminating the employee, and (3) the temporal proximity between the employee’s
conduct and termination.”63 With regards to her discipline record, Mitchell maintains that
“she had no write up nor any spat with her previous and then Supervisor, Mike
McKenzie.”64 This factor weighs in favor of Mitchell.
American Eagle placed Mitchell on medical leave after providing her with a medical
accommodation. Linda Behrman, the human resources relations specialist for American
Eagle’s Baton Rouge location, testified by declaration that Mitchell was placed on medical
leave, i.e. her accommodation was revoked because the medications Mitchell was taking
could “cause drowsiness or otherwise affect cognitive alertness…[thus] preventing station
agents from performing certain functions of their jobs.”65 In her deposition, Mitchell was
asked if she did not take her medications before her deposition “because when you take
See McCoy, 492 F.3d at 557; Wheat v. Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Com’n, 811 F.3d 702, 705 (5th
As discussed above the summary judgment evidence before the Court demonstrates that American Eagle
followed its policies and procedures when terminating Mitchell.
611 Fed.Appx. 816, 823 (5th Cir. 2015).
Rec. Doc. 35, p. 2.
Rec. Doc. 26-3, p. 2.
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that medication it impacts your ability to do things like operate machinery, drive,
concentrate, et cetera?” She responded “Yes.”66 Perplexingly, when asked “can we agree
that you really can’t work while you are on that medication,” she responded “No.” Mitchell
responded that she used a TENS unit while at work but that it would not make her dizzy
or confused.67 When asked again whether the medications at issue would “affect your
ability to concentrate,” Mitchell stated that they would.68 American Eagle’s summary
judgment evidence that Mitchell was placed on medical leave due to the effects of
medications which could impact her ability to perform her job was unassailed by Mitchell’s
Mitchell has provided no summary judgment evidence that
American Eagle did not follow company procedures in placing her on permanent medical
leave, and has presented no evidence of retaliatory pretext for this decision.
On June 23, 2011, Mitchell filed her original EEOC charge69 and, on July 2, 2012,
Mitchell filed an Amended Charge.70 Mitchell was placed on permanent medical leave on
February 9, 2012. The time lapse from the filing of the original charge and placing Mitchell
on permanent medical leave was nearly twenty months, and nearly seven months from
her amended EEOC charge. In Valderaz the court held, “while suspicious timing alone
is rarely sufficient to establish the requisite causal connection, this Court allows for a
prima facie case to be made on temporal proximity alone if it is very close.”71 The Court
finds that the 20 month time lapse from the date of Mitchell’s charge of the employment
Rec. Doc. 26-2, p. 22.
See Id. at p. 23.
Rec. Doc. 1, pp. 6-7.
Rec. Doc. 21, p. 10.
611 Fed.Appx. at 823 (internal citations omitted).
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action in question (medical leave) is not of a significant temporal proximity to make a
prima facie showing of causal connection. The Court, therefore, finds that she has not
established a prima facie case of retaliation for being placed on medical leave and
American Eagle’s motion is GRANTED.
3. Retaliatory Termination
Mitchell’s termination indisputably qualifies as an adverse employment action.72
The Court must determine whether Mitchell has presented summary judgment evidence
sufficient to establish a causal connection between the 2011 filing of her EEOC charges
and her termination in 2014. Mitchell must provide “substantial evidence that but for
exercising protected rights, she would not have been discharged.”73 Mitchell’s support
for her retaliation claim is her own subjective belief that all of the above alleged retaliatory
acts were engineered “to get her to quit.”74 Mitchell’s conclusory allegations are not
competent summary judgment evidence.75 The Court notes that during her deposition
Mitchell was questioned if she had been terminated “because you had been out on leave
for two years, and you were unable to return to work. Do you think that’s not the real
reason that you were terminated?”76
Mitchell responded she “thought [she] was
terminated because [she] was not able to return to work.”77 Mitchell has provided no
summary judgment evidence of a causal connection between her 2011 filing of an EEOC
charge and her 2014 termination, and Mitchell’s own testimony acknowledged that she
Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Ry. Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 62, 126 S.Ct. 2405, 2411, 165 L.Ed.2d
Wheat v. Florida Parish Juvenile Justice Com’n, 811 F.3d 702, 705 (5th Cir. 2016)(citing Univ. of Texas
Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 133 S.Ct. 2517, 2533 (2013)).
Rec. Doc. 35, p. 3.
See Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
Rec. Doc. 27-4, p. 25, lines 12-15.
Id. at lines 16-17.
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was terminated per American Eagle policy. Accordingly, the Court finds that Mitchell has
not established a prima facie case for retaliatory termination, and summary judgment is
For the above stated reasons, American Eagle’s Motion for Summary Judgment78
is GRANTED.79 Accordingly a separate Judgment shall be entered.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Signed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on June 13, 2017.
JUDGE SHELLY D. DICK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA
Rec. Doc. 26.
While Mitchell’s Amended Complaint alleges that American Eagle violated the Louisiana state
constitution she provides no legal argument in any subsequent pleading specifying which provision of the
Louisiana constitution, was violated or any analysis detailing how the alleged action violates Louisiana law.
To the extent that Mitchell’s Complaint can be seen as an allegation that American Eagle violated the
Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law (“LEDL”), given that the LEDL analysis is identical to Title VII
analysis, summary judgment is granted in favor of American Eagle. See La Day v. Catalyst Technology,
Inc., 302 F.3d 474, 477 (5th Cir. 2002); Alderman v. Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Inc., 332 F.Supp.2d
932, 936 (E.D. La. 2004). With respect to any other potential claims under Louisiana law, because Mitchell
fails to mention any specific constitutional or statutory provisions that she claims American Eagle violated,
and the Court cannot ascertain Mitchell’s entitlement to any such relief, all Louisiana state law claims are
dismissed with prejudice.
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