United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia, Albany Division
BURNIE R. ROSS, Plaintiff,
EQUITY GROUP, Defendant.
W. LOUIS SANDS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Presently pending before the Court is Defendant Equity Group’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21). For the following reasons, Defendant Equity Group's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21) is GRANTED.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On September 5, 2012, Plaintiff Burnie Ross filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc. 26 at ¶ 10.) On November 21, 2012, Ross received a right-to-sue letter from that agency and filed suit within ninety days of receipt thereof. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Although the complaint alleged race and sex discrimination and retaliation, Ross “only pursues her claim for race and sex based discrimination for failure to promote.” (Doc. 25 at 2-3.)
On July 11, 2014, Defendant Equity Group moved for summary judgment on all claims in Ross’ complaint. (Doc. 21.) In support of summary judgment, Equity Group contends: (1) Ross’ claims are barred by judicial estoppel because she failed to identify her instant claims as personal property in a bankruptcy proceeding; and (2) Ross failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination. (See Doc. 21-1.) Ross filed a response and Equity Group timely replied thereto. (See Docs. 25-27.) Accordingly, the above-referenced Motion is ripe for review. See M.D. Ga. L.R. 7.3.1(a). Because the Court finds Equity Group’s second ground for summary judgment dispositive, the Court will not address the issue of judicial estoppel.
II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
“Summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Chow v. Chak Yam Chau, 555 F. App’x 842, 848 (11th Cir. 2014) (citing Maddox v. Stephens, 727 F.3d 1109, 1118 (11th Cir. 2013)). “A genuine issue of material fact does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor.” Grimes v. Miami Dade Cnty., 552 F. App’x 902, 904 (11th Cir. 2014) (citing Chapman v. AI Transp., 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th Cir. 2000)). “An issue of fact is ‘material’ if it is a legal element of the claim under the applicable substantive law which might affect the outcome of the case.” Allen v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 121 F.3d 642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). “It is ‘genuine’ if the record taken as a whole could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party.” Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965 F.2d 994, 998 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
The movant bears the initial burden of showing, by reference to the record, that there is no genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Barreto v. Davie Marketplace, LLC, 331 F. App’x 672, 673 (11th Cir. 2009). The movant can meet that burden by presenting evidence showing there is no dispute of material fact, or by demonstrating that the nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24. Once the movant has met its burden, the nonmoving party is required “to go beyond the pleadings” and identify “specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 324. To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party “must do more than summarily deny the allegations or ‘show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.’ ” Matsuhita, 475 U.S. at 586 (citations omitted). Instead, the nonmovant must point to record evidence that would be admissible at trial. See Jones v. UPS Ground Freight, 683 F.3d 1283, 1294 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Macuba v. Deboer, 193 F.3d 1316, 1322 (11th Cir. 1999)) (noting that hearsay may be considered on a motion for summary judgment only if it “could be reduced to admissible evidence at trial or reduced to admissible form.”). Such evidence may include affidavits or declarations that are based on personal knowledge of the affiant or declarant. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(4).
On a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view all evidence and factual inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and determine whether that evidence could reasonably sustain a jury verdict. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23; Allen, 121 F.3d at 646. However, the Court must grant summary judgment if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
B. Local Rule 56
Local Rule 56 requires the following:
The respondent to a motion for summary judgment shall attach to the response a separate and concise statement of material facts, numbered separately, to which the respondent contends there exists a genuine issue to be tried. Response shall be made to each of the movant's numbered material facts. All material facts contained in the moving party's statement which are not specifically controverted by the respondent in respondent's statement shall be deemed to have been admitted, unless otherwise inappropriate.
M.D. Ga. L.R. 56. Here, Equity Group properly filed a summary judgment motion with a statement of undisputed facts, as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules of this Court. (See Doc. 21-2.) Likewise, Ross filed the proper response to Equity Group’s statement of material facts. (Doc. ...