United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
TEMEKIA V. ARMOUR, Plaintiff,
CENTURY COMMUNITIES, INC., and MICHAEL STONE, Defendants.
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. KING, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Temekia V. Armour filed the above-styled employment
discrimination action against Defendants Century Communities,
Inc., and Michael Stone on May 23, 2016. [Doc. 1]. Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants terminated her employment on the
basis of her race and color in violation of 42 U.S.C. §
1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e, et seq. [Doc. 1, Counts I, II]. Defendant
Century Communities, Inc., has moved for summary judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on
Plaintiff's claims based upon the pleadings, statements
of material facts, exhibits, and discovery materials
submitted to the court. [Doc. 27].
Defendant Michael Stone
plaintiff is responsible for serving a defendant with summons
and the complaint within 90 days of the complaint being
filed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(c)(1) and 4(m) (as amended 2015).
Although Plaintiff Armour named Michael Stone as a Defendant
in this action, Plaintiff never served him. Plaintiff mailed
Mr. Stone a request for waiver of service more than a year
and a half ago, on May 23, 2016, but he never executed the
waiver of service. [Doc. 3]. In her response to
Defendant's summary judgment motion, Plaintiff informed
the court that she “cares not whether Defendant Stone
remains a party, as long as his employer, Century Community,
Inc. [sic] remains in this action.” [Doc. 31 at 2 n.1].
The undersigned, therefore, finds that Plaintiff has
abandoned her claims against individual Defendant Michael
evaluating the merits of a motion for summary judgment, the
court must “view the evidence and all factual
inferences raised by it in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and resolve all reasonable doubts about the
facts in favor of the non-moving party.” Comer v.
City of Palm Bay, Florida, 265 F.3d 1186, 1192
(11thCir. 2001). However, mere conclusions and
unsupported self-serving statements by the party opposing
summary judgment are insufficient to avoid summary judgment.
See Ellis v. England, 432 F.3d 1321, 1326
(11th Cir. 2005). In accordance with the foregoing
principles, the following facts are deemed to be true for the
limited purpose of evaluating Defendant's motion [Doc.
27] for summary judgment.
Temekia Armour, who is African-American, graduated from high
school in 1992. [Defendant's Statement of Material Facts
(“DSMF”) ¶ 15]. Plaintiff attended DeKalb
Technical College (“DeKalb Tech”) for several
years, but she did not receive a degree or certificate of any
type from that school. [DSMF ¶ 16]. Plaintiff did not
receive any degree or enroll in any education program after
her high school graduation and incomplete studies at DeKalb
Tech. [DSMF ¶ 17].
was employed with DeKalb County as a Permit Technician from
December 2010 until the spring of 2015. [DSMF ¶ 18].
When Plaintiff was asked to describe her job duties as a
Permit Technician with DeKalb County, she testified: “I
would intake permits from the customers coming in to get
permits; electrical permits, building permits, plumbing
permits. We would actually - I would actually enter them in
the system and then rate the permit for the particular
customers.” [Plaintiff's Deposition (“Pla.
Dep.”) at 9]. Plaintiff was asked and testified to the
Q. But were you the person who was at the front desk when
somebody came in to seek a building permit?
A. Yes, exactly.
Q. And you would take that relevant information and input it
into the county system?
A. That's correct.
Q. Did you have any responsibilities for determining whether
the permit should be issued or not?
A. Not - I would enter the permit in the system. I didn't
determine if it was going to be issued or not.
[Pla. Dep. at 9-10]. If the applicant was seeking a permit
for a residential repair, Plaintiff was able to generate the
permit at the time. [DSMF ¶ 20]. Anything grander in
scale, such as new residential or commercial projects of any
kind, required higher-level zoning and site review, so
Plaintiff simply processed those applications. [DSMF ¶
21]. Plaintiff had no involvement in reviewing zoning codes
or rulings. [DSMF ¶ 22; Pla. Dep. at 16-17]. In her work
with DeKalb County, Plaintiff did not work with other
municipalities. [DSMF ¶ 23; Pla. Dep. at 17].
Century Communities, Inc. (“Century”) is a
residential homebuilder with many concurrent projects in
multiple Georgia counties. [DSMF ¶ 1]. In November of
2014, Century acquired the assets of another homebuilding
company, Peachtree Communities, LLC
(“Peachtree”). [DSMF ¶ 2]. Defendant
Century's Georgia office relies upon one Permit
Coordinator to monitor all the projects and ensure each is
progressing through the permit process as necessary. [DSMF
¶ 3]. The Permit Coordinator is in charge of tracking
and overseeing the permit process for all Century's
Georgia projects. [DSMF ¶ 4]. The Permit Coordinator is
vital in ensuring that the permit process for each project
progresses smoothly. [DSMF ¶ 5]. The position requires a
certain level of organization, critical thinking, and the
ability to multi-task. The Permit Coordinator must be able to
juggle multiple projects and be able to organize and
coordinate all the documentation and monitor the status of
each ongoing project. [DSMF ¶ 6]. The Permit
Coordinator's responsibilities include ensuring that the
plans for each project reach the correct government office
and monitoring the progress and status of permit runners,
variance applications, and permit approvals. [DSMF ¶ 7].
Permit Coordinator must work with surveyors and engineers to
gather the proper documentation and ensure that approved
permits are sent to the right project. [DSMF ¶ 8]. The
Permit Coordinator is also required to interact with many
different departments and parties, both within and outside of
Century. [DSMF ¶ 9]. The job description for the Permit
Coordinator position states, inter alia:
“Computer skills as required: Word, Excel, and Outlook
experience.” [DSMF ¶ 10; Plaintiff's Response
(“Pla. Resp.”) to DSMF ¶ 10; Doc. 31, Ex.
Fowler, who is Caucasian, testified that she held the Permit
Coordinator position at Peachtree from 2008 and then at
Defendant Century through early 2015, when she made a lateral
transfer to the land department. [DSMF ¶ 11; Fowler
Declaration (“Dec.”) ¶¶ 3-4, 13;
Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts
(“PSMF”) ¶ 8]. Ms. Fowler obtained the
position after the prior Permit Coordinator was laid off
during the recession. [DSMF ¶ 12]. Due to the prior
Permit Coordinator's sudden departure, Ms. Fowler was
provided no training when she took the position and had to
build it from the ground up. [DSMF ¶ 13; PSMF ¶
12]. At all times relevant to this suit, Mike Stone was the
Director of Purchasing or the Vice President of Purchasing
and supervised the Permit Coordinator. [DSMF ¶ 14; PSMF
Century's Permit Coordinator position came open in spring
2015 due to Ms. Fowler's transfer. [DSMF ¶ 24;
Fowler Dec. ¶ 13]. Plaintiff Armour applied for the
Permit Coordinator position online. [DSMF ¶ 25]. Mr.
Stone then contacted Plaintiff by phone and set up an
in-person interview. [PSMF ¶ 3; Pla. Dep. at 33-34]. Mr.
Stone conducted an in-person interview with Plaintiff on
March 2, 2015. [PSMF ¶ 5; DSMF ¶ 26; Pla. Dep. at
34]. Afterwards, Mr. Stone made the decision to hire
Plaintiff and offered her the position of Permit Coordinator
on March 10. [DSMF ¶¶ 26, 27; PSMF ¶¶ 1,
6; Pla. Dep. at 34]. Plaintiff was offered an annual salary
of $40, 000 and was an at-will employee. [DSMF ¶ 28;
Pla. Resp. to DSMF ¶ 28; PSMF ¶ 7]. Mr. Stone ...