DOUGBOH v. CISCO SYSTEMS, INC.
OPINION. Signed by Judge William J. Martini on 4/19/17. (gh, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
Civ. No. 2:13-cv-4267 (WJM)
CICSCO SYSTEMS, INC.,
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.:
Plaintiff Pascal Dougboh filed this Title VII employment discrimination action pro
se against Defendant Cisco Systems, Inc. (“Cisco” or “Defendant”) on July 8, 2013.
Plaintiff alleges that Cisco refused to hire him on account of his race. On October 20,
2016, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff moved on
October 31, 2016, for reconsideration under Rule 60(b)(3). For the reasons set forth
below, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED.
Beginning in 2007, Plaintiff repeatedly sought and failed to obtain employment as
a network engineer with Cisco Systems, a multinational communications and technology
company. Plaintiff received several interviews but was never hired. In December 2012,
having submitted “hundreds” of applications to Cisco, Plaintiff filed a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”),
alleging that Cisco violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by declining to hire
Plaintiff on account of his race.2 The EEOC investigated and then dismissed the charge.
Plaintiff filed his original Complaint in this Court on July 8, 2013, and amended the
Complaint on April 22, 2014. Plaintiff’s claims relate to five particular hiring decisions
between 2007 and 2012.
Because the Court writes solely for the benefit of the parties, it assumes the reader is familiar
with the pertinent background facts. For a more complete recitation of the underlying facts,
please refer to the Court’s October 20, 2016 opinion. Dougboh v. Cisco Systems, Inc., Civ. No.
2:13-cv-4267 (WJM), ECF No. 85, 2016 WL 6139910 (D.N.J. 2016).
Plaintiff identifies as African-American.
Defendant moved for summary judgment on June 10, 2016, following discovery,
arguing that the claims lacked merit and were barred by Title VII’s limitations provision.
On October 20, 2016, the Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The Court found that, although not all of
the claims were time-barred, no material issue of fact remained, and Defendant was
entitled to dismissal as a matter of law. Specifically, the Court found that circumstances
did not raise an inference of discriminatory intent and that, regardless, Defendant
presented legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for its hiring decisions. Plaintiff now
asks for reconsideration.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 60(b) authorizes courts to relieve a party
from judgment in limited circumstances. One ground for reconsideration is proof of
“fraud . . . misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party[.]” Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(b)(3). “[I]n order to sustain a burden of proving fraud and misrepresentation under
Rule 60(b)(3), the evidence must be clear and convincing.” Floorgraphics Inc. v. News
Am. Mktg. In-Store Servs., Inc., 434 F. App'x 109, 111 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Brown v.
Penn. RR Co., 282 F.2d 522, 527 (3d Cir.1960)). “[T]he movant must establish that 
the adverse party engaged in fraud or other misconduct, and  this conduct prevented
the moving party from fully and fairly presenting his case.” Id. at 111-112 (citations
Plaintiff moves for reconsideration on the basis that, during discovery, Defendant
Cisco misrepresented or fraudulently produced documents relating to Cisco’s hiring
process. Because Plaintiff fails to provide “clear and convincing evidence” that Cisco
deliberately submitted misleading information, or otherwise interfered with Plaintiff’s
ability to present his case, the motion for reconsideration is DENIED.
In order to establish discriminatory intent, Plaintiff requested that Cisco provide
information about applicants whom Cisco chose to hire instead of Plaintiff. According to
Plaintiff, the documents show that Cisco lied when it had informed Plaintiff that certain
positions had already been filled by the time Plaintiff applied. The Court, which already
considered versions of this argument at summary judgment, finds that Plaintiff has
simply misinterpreted the data provided by Cisco. For example, with respect to
spreadsheets containing applicant data, the column “date opened” refers not to when a
candidate applied for the position, but instead to “the date that the requisition for which
the candidate was hired was opened.” Def.’s Br. Opposing Pl.’s Mot. for
Reconsideration, at 4. The Court also agrees with Cisco that Plaintiff overlooks the
difference between reference numbers for particular job openings and “requisition
numbers,” which refer to “pipelines” for future job openings. Id.
Allegations that Cisco “forged” documents to hide its discriminatory practices are
unsupported. During discovery, Cisco produced a list of applicants which contained
incomplete information about who was hired and when. Cisco, however, acknowledged
the mistake and submitted a corrected list. The Court found Defendant’s mistep to be
inadvertent. Certainly, production of the initial, inaccurate list did not “prevent [Plaintiff]
from fully and fairly presenting his case,” and Cisco acceded to re-opening discovery.
See ECF No. 71, at 13. Plaintiff presents no new evidence that Cisco committed “fraud . .
. misrepresentation, or misconduct by an opposing party,” so his motion fails. Fed R. Civ.
For the reasons above, Plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration is DENIED pursuant
to the accompanying order. Plaintiff remains free to appeal the Court’s October 20, 2016,
decision granting summary judgment for Defendant.
/s/ William J. Martini
WILLIAM J. MARTINI, U.S.D.J.
April 19, 2017
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