Jones v. Greenbrier Minerals, LLC

Filing 59

ORDER denying Greenbrier Minerals' Second Renewed 48 MOTION for Summary Judgment. Signed by Judge Frank W. Volk on 3/31/2021. (cc: counsel of record; any unrepresented party) (slr)

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF WEST VIRGINIA AT BECKLEY CHRISTOPHER M. JONES, Plaintiff, v. CIVIL ACTION NO. 5:19-cv-00814 GREENBRIER MINERALS, LLC, Defendant. ORDER Pending is Greenbrier Minerals, LLC’s (“Greenbrier Minerals”), Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 48], filed January 15, 2021. Plaintiff Christopher M. Jones responded in opposition [Doc. 51] on January 29, 2021, to which Greenbrier replied on February 8, 2021 [Doc. 52]. I. On October 22, 2019, Mr. Jones instituted this action against Greenbrier Minerals in the Circuit Court of Raleigh County alleging claims for (1) FMLA interference, (2) FMLA discrimination/retaliation, and (3) common law wrongful discharge pursuant to Harless v. First National Bank, 162 W. Va. 116, 246 S.E.2d 270 (1978). Greenbrier removed the action on November 14, 2019, and seeks summary judgment on all three of Mr. Jones’s claims. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is proper where “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.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The burden is on the nonmoving party to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “The nonmoving party must do so by offering ‘sufficient proof in the form of admissible evidence’ rather than relying solely on the allegations of her pleadings.” Guessous v. Fairview Prop. Invs., LLC, 828 F.3d 208, 216 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting Mitchell v. Data Gen. Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993)). The Court must “view the evidence in the light most favorable to the [nonmoving] party.” Tolan v. Cotton, 572 U.S. 650, 657 (2014) (internal quotation marks omitted); Variety Stores, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 888 F.3d 651, 659 (4th Cir. 2018). “The court . . . cannot weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations.” Jacobs v. N.C. Admin. Office of the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015); see also Lee v. Town of Seaboard, 863 F.3d 323, 327 (4th Cir. 2017). In general, if “an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility, summary judgment is not appropriate.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 advisory committee’s note to 1963 amendment. II. Upon review of the briefs submitted, the Court concludes that genuine disputes of material fact remain as to each of Mr. Jones’s claims, thus precluding summary judgment. Accordingly, the Court DENIES Greenbrier Minerals’ Second Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 48]. The Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Order to counsel of record and to any unrepresented party. ENTERED: March 31, 2021 2

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