United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE.
Title VII retaliation case, Plaintiff moves for summary
judgment. But because he has not offered any evidence
supporting his argument, Plaintiff's motion (doc. 30) is
2012, Plaintiff filed an EEOC charge against Defendant,
alleging that he had been suspended from his position because
of his race. (See Doc. 12-1 at 2-3.) The parties
successfully resolved that dispute through mediation.
(See id. at 5-6.) But only a few months after he
returned to work, Plaintiff alleges, Defendant fired
Plaintiff. (Doc. 4 at 4.) Plaintiff, in response, filed
another EEOC charge and then this lawsuit, alleging that he
was fired based on his race and age and in retaliation for
filing the 2012 EEOC charge.
moved to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. (Doc. 12.) The
Court granted Defendant's motion with respect to
Plaintiff's race- and age-discrimination claims but
allowed Plaintiff's retaliation claim to proceed.
(See Doc. 19.) Plaintiff, now moves for summary
judgment is appropriate only if "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). Facts
are "material" if they could affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing substantive law. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court
must view the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), and must draw
"all justifiable inferences in [its] favor."
United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop., 941
F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (internal
punctuation and citations omitted).
moving party has the initial burden of showing the Court, by
reference to materials on file, the basis for the motion.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
How to carry this burden depends on who bears the burden of
proof at trial. Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2
F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993) . When the non-movant has
the burden of proof at trial, the movant may carry the
initial burden in one of two ways - by negating an essential
element of the non-movant's case or by showing that there
is no evidence to prove a fact necessary to the
non-movant's case. See Clark v. Coats & Clark,
Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 606-08 (11th Cir. 1991) (explaining
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970)
and Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986)).
Before the Court can evaluate the non-movant's response
in opposition, it must first consider whether the movant has
met its initial burden of showing that there are no genuine
issues of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Jones v. City of Columbus, 120
F.3d 248, 254 (11th Cir. 1997) (per curiam). A mere
conclusory statement that the non-movant cannot meet the
burden at trial is insufficient. Clark, 929 F.2d at
and only if - the movant carries its initial burden, the
non-movant may avoid summary judgment only by
"demonstrat[ing] that there is indeed a material issue
of fact that precludes summary judgment." Id.
When the non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial, the
non-movant must tailor its response to the method by which
the movant carried its initial burden. If the movant presents
evidence affirmatively negating a material fact, the
non-movant "must respond with evidence sufficient to
withstand a directed verdict motion at trial on the material
fact sought to be negated.7' Fitzpatrick, 2 F.3d
at 1116. If the movant shows an absence of evidence on a
material fact, the non-movant must either show that the
record contains evidence that was "overlooked or
ignored" by the movant or "come forward with
additional evidence sufficient to withstand a directed
verdict motion at trial based on the alleged evidentiary
deficiency." Id. at 1117. The non-movant cannot
carry its burden by relying on the pleadings or by repeating
conclusory allegations contained in the complaint. See
Morris v. Ross, 663 F.2d 1032, 1033-34 (11th Cir. 1981).
Rather, the non-movant must respond with affidavits or as
otherwise provided by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
action, the Clerk of the Court gave Defendant notice of the
motion for summary judgment and informed it of the
summary-judgment rules, the right to file affidavits or other
materials in opposition, and the consequences of default.
(Doc. 31.) The notice requirements of Griffith v.
Wainwright, 772 F.2d 822, 825 (11th Cir. 1985) (per
curiam), are thus satisfied. The time for filing materials in
opposition has expired, and the motion is now ripe for
unlawful under Title VII for an employer to discriminate
against an employee because the employee opposed an unlawful
employment practice. 42 U.S.C. § 2OOOe-3(a). A plaintiff
pursuing Title VII retaliation claims must first establish a
prima facie case of retaliation. See Thomas v. Cooper
Lighting, Inc., 506 F.3d 1361, 1363 (11th Cir. 2007). To
do so, a plaintiff must show that "(1) he engaged in a
statutorily protected activity; (2) he suffered an adverse
employment action; and (3) he established a causal link
between the protected activity and the adverse action."
Bryant v. Jones, 575 F.3d 1281, 1307-08 (11th Cir.
2009). The burden then shifts to the defendant to articulate
a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for its actions. See
Brown v. Ala. Dep't of Transp., 597 F.3d 1160, 1181
(11th Cir. 2010). If the defendant carries its burden, the
plaintiff must then show that the proffered reason was
pretext for retaliation. Id. at 1182.
motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff states: "I[, ]
Harvis Bolden Jr., swear that this is true. The Defendant
S.A.B.E. has no [g]enuine triable dispute, or any evidence of
failure to adhere to company policy." (Doc. 30 at 2.)
Plaintiff then lists, without explanation, under the heading
"Undisputed Facts" the following:
"Insubordination"; and "Not wearing safety
gear." (Id.) Plaintiff also attached to his
motion a copy of the parties' settlement agreement from
the 2012 mediation, two "employee warning" reports,
and a letter concerning his firing. (Docs. 30-1, 30-2, 30-3,
however, has not provided any evidence showing that he is
entitled to summary judgment. Indeed, the on y relevant
evidence in the record before the Court are Plaintiff two
EEOC charges, which show, at most, that Plaintiff engaged m
protected conduct and suffered an adverse employment action.
But even assuming Plaintiff has shown the first two elements
of a prima facie case of retaliation, Plaintiff has not
offered any evidence establishing a causal ...