United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Valdosta Division
DAVID W. MONDS, Plaintiff,
CITY OF QUITMAN, GEORGIA, Defendant.
LAWSON, SENIOR JUDGE
David Monds initiated this action on July 18, 2016. (Doc. 1).
He asserts a single cause of action for race discrimination
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e et seq. (Title VII), the Civil Rights Act
of 1991, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Id.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant engaged in
unlawful employment discrimination by failing to hire
Plaintiff because of his race. Id. Presently before
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
(Doc. 11). After reviewing the pleadings, briefs,
depositions, and other evidentiary materials presented, and
determining that there is no genuine dispute of material
facts, the Court finds that Defendant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law and grants Defendant's motion.
2014, Plaintiff David Monds, a black man, applied for the
position of City Clerk and Treasurer for the City of Quitman,
Georgia. (Doc. 1, ¶ 16). Danny Herring, the City Manager
at the time, prepared the job announcement with the
assistance of Janice Jarvis, the retiring City Clerk and
Treasurer. (Doc. 11-2, p. 3). The announcement listed
specific duties of the job, including the following:
. . . develops internal controls and financial policies to
promote effective governance and accurate receipts,
disbursements and investments; coordinates external audit
activities and audit preparation; researches technical
accounting issues, ensures compliance with GAAP and prepares
financial reports; prepares and delivers monthly internal
management reports to communicate case flow, receipts,
disbursements, investments and debt management activity. . .
(Doc. 11-10). The minimum requirements listed in the job
announcement were “Bachelor Degree in Business or
Public Administration, Accounting, Finance or related field.
At least five (5) years experience in local government
accounting and management preferred. Comparable combinations
of education and experience will be considered.”
resume indicated that he held a Bachelor of Science degree in
Criminal Justice from Fort Valley State University and a
Master of Science degree in Administration. (Doc. 11-10, p.
112). Plaintiff's application further demonstrated that
he had a significant background in human resources management
and that he was previously employed as a Human Resources
Manager for the Federal Bureau of Prisons for four years.
(Doc. 11-10, pp. 113-15).
City of Quitman received numerous applications for the
position. (Doc. 11-1, ¶ 24). Plaintiff was one of five
candidates selected for an interview. (Doc. 11-2, p. 4). The
other four candidates included Ms. Brunhilde Hudson (white
female), Lee Carmichael (white male), Faye Walker (white
female), and Mark DeVane (white male). Id.
Plaintiff's interview took place on December 11, 2014,
and was scheduled to be conducted by Herring, Virgil Walker
(white councilman), Annie Bowers (white councilwoman), and
Kendall Blankumsee (black councilman). Mr. Blankumsee,
however, recused himself from Plaintiff's interview due
to a conflict of interest resulting from Plaintiff's
ongoing business relationship with Mr. Blankumsee's
funeral home at the time of the interview. Id.
Consequently, Plaintiff was interviewed by a three-person
panel consisting of Herring, Bowers, and Walker.
the interview, Virgil Walker inquired whether Plaintiff was
familiar with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting
Principles). (Doc. 11-10, p. 59). Plaintiff responded that he
was unfamiliar with the term. Plaintiff was then asked about
his prior experience with the Department of Justice.
Id. Plaintiff asserts that no one specifically
discussed the City Clerk and Treasurer job during his
February 12, 2015, the City Council called a meeting. During
the meeting, City Manager Herring recommended that the
Council hire Ms. Brunhilde Hudson for the position of City
Clerk and Treasurer. After some minimal discussion regarding
Ms. Hudson's qualifications, the City Council unanimously
voted in favor of hiring Hudson as the City Clerk and
next day, February 13, 2015, Plaintiff drove from Quitman to
Atlanta to file a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The complaint asserts that in
failing to hire Plaintiff, “City of Quitman (Employer)
engaged in practice that discriminated against complainant
(job applicant) on the basis of his race (African-American),
sex (Male) and age (52).” (Doc. 11-10, p. 153). On March
23, 2015, Herring wrote a letter in response to
Plaintiff's EEOC charge to Ralph Cooper in which he
explained why Hudson was hired for the position of City Clerk
and Treasurer. (Doc. 11-11, p. 126). On March 1, 2016,
Plaintiff requested a notice of right to sue from the EEOC,
which was issued to him on May 18, 2016. (Doc. 1,
¶¶ 32-33). Plaintiff then filed his Complaint (Doc.
1) in this Court on July 18, 2016.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate when “the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine
issue of material fact arises only when “the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The court must evaluate
all of the evidence, together with any logical inferences, in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id.
at 254-55. The court may not, however, make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence. Id. at 255;
see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc.,
530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
party seeking summary judgment “always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of a material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323
(internal quotation omitted). If the movant meets this
burden, the burden shifts to the party opposing summary
judgment to go beyond the pleadings and present specific
evidence showing that there is a genuine issue of material
fact, or that the movant is not entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Id. at 324-26. This evidence must
consist of more than conclusory allegations. See Avirgan
v. Hull, 932 F.2d 1572, 1577 (11th Cir. 1991). In sum,
summary judgment must be entered “against a party who
fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
alleges that Defendant discriminated against him on the basis
of his race in violation of Title VII and § 1981. These
statutes both “have the same requirements of proof and
use the same analytical framework.” Standard v.
A.B.E.I. Servs., 161 F.3d 1318, 1330 (11th Cir. 1998).
Accordingly, the Court will address Plaintiff's Title VII
claims with the understanding that the analysis also applies
to the § 1981 claims.
VII makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail or
refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise
to discriminate against any individual with respect to his
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment
because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex,
or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). A
plaintiff may establish a prima facie case of discrimination
through either direct or circumstantial evidence. Wilson
v. B/E Aerospace, Inc., 376 F.3d 1079, 1085 (11th Cir.
2004). Claims of discrimination premised on circumstantial
evidence, as is the present case, are evaluated under the
burden-shifting framework developed in McDonnell Douglas
Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under this
framework, the plaintiff first must set forth “facts
adequate to permit an inference of discrimination.”
Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555, 1562 (11th Cir.
1997). If the plaintiff is able to do so, the burden shifts
to the employer to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory
reason for its actions. Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs
v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 256 (1981). “If the
employer satisfies its burden of articulating one or more
reasons, then the presumption of discrimination is rebutted,
and the burden of production shifts to the plaintiff to offer
evidence that the alleged reason of the employer is a pretext
for illegal discrimination.” Wilson, 376 F.3d
at 1087. The focused inquiry in the last step requires the
plaintiff to demonstrate “such weaknesses,
implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherencies, or
contradictions in the employer's proffered legitimate
reasons for its ...