United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
J. ABRAMS, JUDGE
the Court is Defendants Bibb County School District
(“the District”), the Board of Public Education
for Bibb County (the “Board”),  Dr. E. Steven
Smith,  and Dr. Curtis L. Jones' collective
Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. 15. For the reasons stated
below, Defendants' Motion, Doc. 15, is GRANTED in
part and DENIED in part.
Terrance Smith initiated this action on June 8, 2016, against
his former employer. Doc. 1. Plaintiff's Complaint
asserts six causes of action: (1) sex discrimination in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title
VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.; (2)
sex discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983; (3)
retaliation in violation of Title VII; (4) retaliation in
violation of § 1983; (5) retaliation in violation of the
Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C.
§ 2601, et seq.; and (6) breach of contract in
violation of Georgia law. Doc. 1 at 1-2. Specifically, the
Complaint alleges Plaintiff was discriminated against by his
employer based on his sex when he was not offered a position
with the district for which he had applied and that he was
retaliated against when the District: (1) failed to pay
Plaintiff the correct salary subsequent to Plaintiff filing
his first EEOC complaint that alleged sex discrimination; (2)
offered him a position if he would drop his first EEOC
complaint; (3) did not consider Plaintiff for positions for
which he was qualified; (4) did not renew Plaintiff's
employment contract; and (5) did not renew Plaintiff's
contract one day after his return from FMLA leave. Doc. 1 at
20-26. The Complaint also alleges that the District breached
a 2014 agreement with Plaintiff whereby the parties agreed to
appoint Plaintiff to a position within the District in
exchange for Plaintiff's dismissal of his first EEOC
complaint and a 2015 agreement whereby the District was to
appoint Plaintiff to the position of Grant Writer. Doc. 1 at
26-27. On March 11, 2017, Defendants moved for summary
judgment. Doc. 15. Plaintiff and Defendants timely filed
their respective response and reply. Docs. 20 & 21.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 allows a party to move for summary
judgment when the party contends that no genuine issue of
material fact remains and the party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 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.” 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 Cty., 552 F. App'x 902, 904
(11th Cir. 2014).
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). “It is ‘genuine' if the record taken
as a whole could lead a rational trier of fact to find for
the nonmoving party.” Tipton v. Bergrohr
GMBH-Siegen, 965 F.2d 994, 998 (11th Cir. 1992). On a
motion for summary judgment, the Court must view all evidence
and factual inferences drawn therefrom in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and determine whether that
evidence could reasonably sustain a jury verdict in its
favor. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322-23 (1986); Allen, 121 F.3d at 646.
movant bears the initial burden of showing, by reference to
the record, that there is no genuine issue of material fact.
See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Barreto v. Davie
Marketplace, LLC, 331 F. App'x 672, 673 (11th Cir.
2009). The movant can meet this burden by presenting evidence
showing that there is no genuine dispute of material fact or
by demonstrating that the non-moving 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; Barreto, 331 F.
App'x at 673. Local Rule 56 further requires that
“documents and other record materials relied upon by
[the moving party] be clearly identified for the
court.” M.D. Ga. L.R. 56. “Material facts not
supported by specific citation to particular parts of
materials in the record and statements in the form of issues
or legal conclusions (rather than material facts) will not be
considered by the court.” Id.
that burden has been met, the burden shifts to the nonmovant
. . . to go beyond the pleadings and to present competent
evidence in the form of affidavits, answers to
interrogatories, depositions, admissions and the like,
designating specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.” Lamar v. Wells Fargo Bank, 597 F.
App'x 555, 556-57 (11th Cir. 2014) (internal citations
omitted). “All material facts contained in the
movant's statement which are not specifically
controverted by specific citation to particular parts of
materials in the record shall be deemed to have been
admitted, unless otherwise inappropriate.” M.D. Ga.
L.R. 56; see also Mason v. George, 24 F.Supp.3d
1254, 1260 (M.D. Ga. 2014).
the Eleventh Circuit, a district court cannot grant a motion
for summary judgment based on default or as a sanction for
failure to properly respond.” U.S. v.
Delbridge, 2008 WL 1869867, at *3 (M.D. Ga. Feb. 22,
2008) (citing Trs. of Cent. Pension Fund of Int'l
Union of Operating Eng'rs and Participating Emp'rs v.
Wolf Crane Serv., Inc., 374 F.3d 1035, 1039 (11th Cir.
2004)). Rather, the Court is “required to make an
independent review of the record” and assess the merits
of the arguments before deciding the summary judgment motion;
however, “[t]here is no burden upon the district court
to distill every potential argument that could be made based
upon the materials before it on summary judgment.”
Mason, 24 F.Supp.3d at 1260-61 (explaining that a
court is not obligated to “read minds” or
“construct arguments or theories” that a party
did not raise).
nonmovant facing a motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff was
required to identify those material facts as to which he
contends there exists a genuine dispute to be tried. The
Local Rules require those responses to controvert statements
of material facts in motions for summary judgment with
“specific citation to particular parts of materials in
the record.” See M.D. Ga. L.R. 56. Here,
Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Statement of
Material Facts fails to comply with the Local Rules.
Plaintiff fails to deny certain allegations by Defendants.
See, e.g., Doc. 20-2 ¶¶ 10, 23, 26, 42.
Accordingly, as to all statements asserted by Defendants in
their Motion that are supported by specific record citation,
the Court deems them to be admitted where Plaintiff has
failed properly to respond in accordance with the Local
an African-American male, was hired by the District on
January 9, 2012, in the classified position of Coordinator of
Parent Education at the District's Welcome Center. Doc.
15-1 ¶¶ 1-2. Classified employees of the District are
not required to hold a Georgia teaching certificate but may
be professionals who are skilled in various areas. Doc. 15-1
¶ 3. Accordingly, Plaintiff was not required to hold,
nor did he possess, a valid Georgia Teaching Certificate
while in that position. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 6. The job
description for Coordinator of Parent Education stated that
Plaintiff was responsible for “providing effective
leadership and coordinating multifaceted efforts to support
the vision and mission of the Bibb County Public Schools
system by providing educational support, guidance and
assistance to parents in an effort to support/enhance the
parents' ability to assist the academic instructional
efforts of their children.” Doc. 15-1 ¶ 4. The job
description required that Plaintiff have a Master's
degree or higher and a minimum of three years working at a
post-secondary institution. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 5. Plaintiff has
a PhD in Educational Leadership. Doc. 20-4 ¶ 3.
Plaintiff worked at the District's Welcome Center from
January 2012 until the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year. Doc.
15-1 ¶ 7.
2013, the District changed its student-registration process.
Previously, students seeking to enroll in Bibb County Schools
reported to the Welcome Center to register for classes. The
change allowed registration to take place at the individual
schools within the District. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 8. As a result,
the Welcome Center positions, including Plaintiff's
position, were eliminated or reassigned as part of a
Reduction In Force (“RIF”). Doc. 15-1 ¶ 9.
the spring of 2014, Plaintiff applied for the following
positions within the District: (1) high school principal, (2)
high school assistant principal, (3) middle school principal,
(4) middle school assistant principal, (5) elementary school
principal, (6) elementary school assistant principal, (7)
Alternative Education Program supervisor, and (8) GEAR-UP
Graduation advisor. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 12. The District's
postings for principal and assistant principal positions in
elementary, middle and high school all required that
candidates possess an L5 Georgia Educational Leadership
Certification or an equivalent out-of-state educational
leadership certification and a minimum of five years of
experience in public education, including successful
experience as a classroom teacher. Doc. 15-1 ¶¶ 13,
14. The District's Alternative Education Program
supervisor position also required a minimum of five years of
experience as a classroom teacher as well as a Georgia
Educational Leadership Certification or equivalent out of
state educational leadership certificate. Doc. 15-1 ¶
17. The GEAR UP Graduation Advisor position required that the
candidate have an educational certification in grades 6-12,
or be eligible for P-12 certification in school counseling or
social work. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 19.
time Plaintiff applied to these positions, during the spring
of 2014, he did not possess any of the required certificates
nor did Plaintiff have a minimum of five years of classroom
experience in teaching at the kindergarten through twelfth
grade level. Doc. 15-1 ¶¶ 15-16, 18. Similarly, at
the time Plaintiff applied to these positions, he was not
eligible for a P-12 certification in school counseling or
social work. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 20. According to Plaintiff,
these standards were not enforced and Plaintiff had
collegiate-level classroom experience. Doc. 20-2 ¶¶
13-14, 16. Plaintiff asserts that he obtained the Georgia
Education Certification in Educational Leadership in May
2015. Doc. 20-2 ¶ 20.
admits that he did not have the requisite certifications or
experience for these positions but asserts that he
“applied for several other positions within the
District [including], College and Career Coordinator, Family
Education Specialist (Job 335), and Family Engagement
Facilitator (Job 371), ” for which he was qualified.
Doc. 20-4 ¶¶ 15-16. There is no evidence in the
record regarding the requirements for these
positions. Plaintiff was not selected to fill these
positions. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 21. Plaintiff asserts, in the
briefing, that the Family Education Specialist position went
to a less qualified woman, Pamela Richardson; however, other
than noting that Pamela Richardson was his subordinate,
Plaintiff presents no evidence of Pamela Richardson's
qualifications-let alone relative to his. See Docs.
20-4 ¶ 24; 20-3 ¶¶ 25-27.
18, 2014, Plaintiff was offered a position as a provisional
teacher at Northeast High School with the understanding that
he would enroll in and successfully complete the Middle
Georgia Regional Education Service Agency's Georgia
Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy
(“TAPP”) program. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 24.
Approximately eleven days later, on July 29, 2014, Plaintiff
filed a charge of discrimination against the District
alleging that he had not been chosen to fill any of the
positions for which he applied because of his race and his
sex. Docs. 15-1 ¶¶ 21-22; 15-5 at 9.
October 2014, the parties engaged in a mediation session, and
then superintendent Dr. Steven Smith met with Plaintiff to
discuss his July 29, 2014 EEOC complaint. Doc. 15-1 ¶
25. After discussion, Dr. Smith agreed to appoint Plaintiff
as a half-time assistant principal and half-time math teacher
at Northeast High School in exchange for Plaintiff's
agreement that he would dismiss his July 2014 EEOC complaint,
enroll in and complete the TAPP program, and obtain the
necessary certifications. Doc. 15-1 ¶¶ 26-27. On
September 17, 2015, the EEOC notified the parties that it
would discontinue its investigation into Plaintiff's July
2014 EEOC charge of discrimination because the matter had
been settled. Doc. 15-1 ¶ 59. There is no evidence that
either party objected to the EEOC's decision.
does not contest the fact that the parties agreed to this
resolution of the 2014 EEOC complaint. Rather, Plaintiff
states that because the parties never agreed on the exact
amount Plaintiff would be paid, “[t]he settlement
agreement was never finalized, ” and Plaintiff
“could not drop the EEO[C] claim.” Docs. 20-2
¶ 26; 20-3 ¶ 32; 20-4 ¶¶ 29, 35.
Plaintiff asserts that Defendants offered to pay him a salary
based on thirteen years of service instead of Plaintiff's
twenty-five years of educational experience and that the
parties never reached an agreement as to his exact salary.
Doc. 20-2 ¶¶ 26, 36.
Plaintiff did not dismiss his 2014 EEOC charge of
discrimination, he assumed the position at Northeast High
School on November 1, 2014. Doc. 15-1 ¶¶ 27, 28. In
his new position, Plaintiff did not have tenure. Doc. 15-1
¶¶ 48-49. On December 11, 2014, Plaintiff was
placed on a Remediation Plan (the “Plan”). Doc.
15-1 ¶¶ 29-30. Plaintiff agreed to the terms of the
Plan which required him to become highly qualified in the
area of “assistant principal.” Doc. 15-1
¶¶ 29-30. In addition, Plaintiff agreed that he
would obtain an educational waiver certificate, meet the
Georgia Special Requirement of taking the Intro to the