Jones v. City of Port Arthur et al
ORDER overruling objections and adopting 77 Report and Recommendation. Ordered that 65 Motion for Summary Judgment is granted, and this lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Ron Clark on 4/22/13. (tkd, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
CITY OF PORT ARTHUR, JOHN A.
COMEAUX, E.J. ROMERO, JR., ROSS E. '
BLACKKETTER, ALBERT T. THIGPEN, '
STEPHEN B. FITZGIBBONS
ORDER OVERRULING OBJECTIONS AND ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
On June 12, 2012, this pro se, employment-discrimination case was referred for all pretrial
matters to United States Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn. On February 15, 2013, Defendants
City of Port Arthur, John A. Comeaux, E.J. Romero Jr., Ross E. Blackketter, Albert T. Thigpen,
and Stephen B. Fitzgibbons (collectively the “Defendants”) filed a Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 65).
On April 2, 2013, the magistrate judge filed his report (Doc. No. 77)
recommending that the Court grant the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss
this case with prejudice. The Plaintiff, Kevin Jones (“Jones”), filed timely objections to the report
and recommendation and the Defendants filed a response to those objections. (Doc. Nos. 79, 80.)
A party who files timely written objections to a magistrate judge’s report and
recommendation is entitled to a de novo determination of those findings or recommendations to
which the party specifically objects. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(l)(c) (Supp. IV 2011); FED. R. CIV. P.
72(b)(2)–(3). “Parties filing objections must specifically identify those findings [to which they
object]. Frivolous, conclusive or general objections need not be considered by the district court.”
Nettles v. Wainwright, 677 F.2d 404, 410 n.8 (5th Cir. 1982) (en banc), overruled on other grounds
by Douglass v. United Servs. Auto. Ass’n, 79 F.3d 1415 (5th Cir. 1996) (en banc).1 Jones’s
objections do not identify any specific issues of law or fact, among those set forth in the magistrate
judge’s report and recommendation, with which he disagrees. Therefore, Jones fails to invoke his
right to a de novo review of the report and recommendation. Nonetheless, in light of Jones’s pro
se status, the Court has undertaken a de novo review of the report and recommendation and
objections, and the Court concludes that the magistrate judge’s findings and conclusions are
correct. See Douglass, 79 F.3d at 1429 (noting that a district court may alternatively find the
magistrate judge’s findings and conclusions were correct even though a party did not properly
object to the report and recommendation).
The magistrate judge correctly analyzed Jones’s race-based employment discrimination
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 using a modified McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework.
Under that framework, the magistrate judge found that Jones established a prima facie case of
race-based employment discrimination since Jones was qualified for his job, terminated, and then
replaced by an individual of another race. The magistrate judge then went on to find that the
Defendants articulated a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for Jones’s termination—Jones’s
repeated refusal to follow a direct, legal order of a superior. Finally, the magistrate judge found
that Jones had failed to offer evidence creating a genuine issue of material fact that either: (1) the
Defendants’ reason is not true, but is instead a pretext for discrimination; or (2) that the
Defendants’ reason, while true, is only one of the reasons for their conduct, and another motivating
factor is Jones’s race. See (Doc. No. 77, at 19) (quoting Assariathu v. Lone Star Health Mgmt.
Assocs., No. 12-10730, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 4597, at *6 (5th Cir. Mar. 6, 2013) (unpublished
opinion) (quoting Rachid v. Jack In The Box, Inc., 376 F.3d 305, 312 (5th Cir. 2004))).
1 . In his report and recommendation, the magistrate judge clearly informed the parties of these
requirements. See (Doc. No. 77, at 20).
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After reviewing the record, the Court agrees with the magistrate judge’s findings. There
is insufficient evidence in the record to create a genuine issue of material fact either that the
Defendants’ non-discriminatory reason for terminating Jones is a pretext for discrimination or that
Jones’s race was a motivating factor for his termination.
Jones’s objections and attached
evidence do not undermine this finding. Jones’s objections are primarily aimed at discrediting
various statements or evidence submitted by the Defendants. Jones’s objections neither cite to
the attached evidence nor otherwise reveal its relevance to the material issues in this case. As a
whole, Jones’s objections and attached evidence, when combined with the remainder of the record,
do not create a genuine issue of material fact under the McDonnell Douglas framework. While
Jones may believe that his termination was motivated by a discriminatory animus, he has not
offered sufficient evidence to support that belief. Accordingly, Jones has failed to meet his
summary judgment burden: his claims should be dismissed with prejudice. It is, therefore,
ORDERED that Jones’s objections (Doc. No. 79) are OVERRULED; the magistrate
judge’s report and recommendation (Doc. No. 77) is ADOPTED; the Defendants’ Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 65) is GRANTED; and this lawsuit is DISMISSED with
prejudice. Final judgment will be entered separately.
So ORDERED and SIGNED on April _____, 2013.
United States District Judge
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