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Rice v. James

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

August 29, 2019

ANGELA RICE, Plaintiff,
v.
HARRY B. JAMES, III, Individually and in his Official Capacity as Judge of Richmond County Probate Court, and CITY OF AUGUSTA, GA, Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. RANDAL HALL, CHIEF JUDGE UNIED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This employment discrimination case arises from Plaintiff Angela Rice's employment at the Richmond County Probate Court. Plaintiff alleges race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.i 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court are Defendants' motions for summary judgment. (Docs. 55, 59.) For the reasons set forth in detail below, Defendant Harry B. James Ill's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART and Defendant City of Augusta, GA's motion for summary judgment is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 1, 2013, Judge Harry B. James III ("Judge James") began his term as the duly elected Chief Judge of the Richmond County Probate Court (the "Probate Court"). (Def. James's Statement of Material Facts ("Def.'s SOMF"), Doc. 55-1, ¶ 1.) At the time, Plaintiff Angela Rice, a white woman, was serving as Director of the Probate Court and Felicia Bray, a black woman, was serving as the Operations Manager, a supervisor position below the Director. (See Dep. of Angela Rice ("Rice Dep."), Doc. 56-4, at 141-43.) Upon assuming his position, Judge James, a black man, informed the staff that he would maintain the status quo and observe for approximately six months to see how the office functioned before making any long-term personnel changes. (Aff. of Harry B. James III ("James Aff."), Doc. 56-1, ¶ 11; Aff. of Lacey Grantham ("Grantham Aff."), Doc. 56-2, ¶ 5.) During these six months, Plaintiff and Bray continued in their respective supervisor roles. (Rice Dep., at 104.)

         A. Chief Clerk Position

         On July 31, 2013, Judge James held a staff meeting to announce that he was reorganizing the Probate Court to align its structure with other probate courts in Georgia. (Def.'s SOMF, ¶ 16.) Judge James eliminated the Director and Operations Manager positions and replaced them with Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief Clerk. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) The Chief Clerk position was substantially similar to the Director position, save for handling budgetary responsibilities. (Aff. of Angela Rice ("Rice Aff."), Doc. 63-2, ¶ 42.) Judge James then announced that Felicia Bray was being promoted to Chief Clerk because of her twenty-seven years of experience at the Probate Court and because Judges James considered Bray to be highly competent and well-respected among the staff. (James Aff., ¶ 9.)

         Plaintiff recalls Judge James stating at this meeting that his selection of Bray was not a reflection of Plaintiff's work and that he was pleased with her performance. (Rice Dep., at 121.) However, Judge James remembers advising Plaintiff at a separate meeting the day after Bray's promotion, August 1st, that he did not approve of her attitude in the workplace, she should improve her "tone and demeanor towards coworkers and the public" or risk losing her job, and he believed team work was crucial to the success of the Probate Court. (James Aff., ¶¶ 12, 15.) During this August 1st meeting, Judge James commented that he was aware of the "black and white cliques" in the office and his reorganization was an attempt to address that issue. (Rice Aff., ¶ 48; Rice Dep., at 145-47.)

         In a September 23, 2013 letter from Judge James to the Human Resources ("HR") Department for Defendant City of Augusta, GA (the "City")[1] explaining his reasons for making personnel changes, Judge James cited Plaintiff s inability to supervise other staff members as the reason the Director position was abolished and Plaintiff was not appointed as Chief Clerk. (Sept. 23, 2013 Letter, Doc. 63-13.) That letter also noted Judge James's desire to make the Probate Court's positions consistent with other probate courts in the state. (Id.)

         The qualifications for the Chief Clerk position were a high school diploma, five years' experience working for the courts or ten years in the legal field, familiarity with Probate Court functions, and good interpersonal and communication skills.[2](Chief Clerk Job Description, Doc. 63-5.) Plaintiff met many of these requirements as she was a Certified Clerk, had an Associate's degree in business technology, a paralegal certification, and fourteen years' experience in the Probate Court, including five as Director. (See Rice Dep., at 51-52, 144-45, 225-26.) Although Bray had less education than Plaintiff, she had nearly double the experience at the Probate Court and previously served as Operations Manager. (See James Aff., ¶ 9.)

         Following the reorganization, Plaintiff was reassigned as an Administrative Clerk and had her salary reduced by approximately $15, 000.00. (Rice Dep., at 139-40.) It took approximately two months for Plaintiff's paycheck to reflect the salary reduction, an issue Judge James blames the City's HR Department for considering he executed a Request for Personnel Action ("RPA") on August 7th. (Id.; James Aff., ¶ 22.) When the HR Department finally adjusted Plaintiff's pay, it applied the decrease retroactively causing a substantial reduction in her October 4th paycheck. (Rice Aff., ¶ 74.) Plaintiff's annual salary decreased from approximately $65, 000.00 to $50, 000.00. (Rice Dep., at 139-40.) Judge James also executed an RPA on August 7th to give Bray a $10, 000.00 raise. (Rice Aff., ¶ 45.)

         B. Deputy Chief Clerk Position

         Within a few days of promoting Bray to Chief Clerk, Judge James encouraged all employees to apply for the Deputy Chief Clerk job because he wanted to promote from within the Probate Court. (James Aff., ¶ 16.) Plaintiff, Lacey Grantham, a white woman, and Joy Daniels, a black woman, applied for the job. (Id. ¶ 17.) Judge James authorized Bray to make the selection for Deputy Chief Clerk because of the close working relationship between the two supervisory positions. (Id.)

         The Deputy Chief Clerk position required a high school diploma and three to five years' experience in a similar role. (Deputy Chief Clerk Job Description, Doc. 63-6.) Daniels was a former Army computer technician who served in the First Gulf War, held an Associate's degree in computer science, and had fifteen years' experience in the Probate Court. (Daniels Application, Doc. 63-10; James Aff., ¶¶ 18-19.) On August 5th, Bray promoted Daniels to Deputy Chief Clerk. (Rice Aff., ¶ 56.) Bray's letter to Plaintiff describing her non-selection noted that it was "difficult to deny" her the promotion based on Plaintiff s "significant contributions to the Probate Court" and that Plaintiff's "work has been first rate." (Aug. 5, 2013 Letter, Doc. 63-9.) After Daniels's promotion, Judge James increased her salary by approximately $15, 000.00 between two raises given in August and September. (Rice Aff., ¶ 57.) Daniels's annual salary after the raises was $48, 000.00. (Id.)

         C. Plaintiff's Discrimination Complaints

         Shortly after Daniels was promoted, Plaintiff reached out to the City's Equal Employment Office ("EEO")[3] Director, Jacquelyn Humphrey, to make a discrimination complaint regarding the Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief Clerk decisions. (Rice Aff., ¶ 62.) Plaintiff and Humphrey met three times including once at the Probate Court to discuss the alleged discrimination. (Id. ¶ 65.) Consequently, it was "well-known in the office from as early as August 2013" that Plaintiff made a discrimination complaint against Judge James. (James Aff., ¶ 20.) Humphrey encouraged Plaintiff to file an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), which Plaintiff did on August 22nd. (Rice Aff., ¶¶ 66-67.) Although the City's HR Department received notice of Plaintiff's EEOC complaint on September 9th, it is unclear exactly when or if Judge James received notice. Humphrey's sworn statement contends she "would have forwarded" the EEOC s September 9th notice to Judge James, consistent with her usual custom. (Aff. of Jacquelyn Humphrey ("Humphrey Aff."), Doc. 63-12, ¶ 57.)

         In early October, Plaintiff met with one of the City's Commissioners, Bill Lockett, regarding her retroactive pay decrease and discrimination claims. (Rice Aff., ¶ 75.) Commissioner Lockett told Plaintiff that he would speak to the HR Department and with Judge James regarding the issues. (Id.) On November 13th, Plaintiff officially submitted her EEOC charge alleging race and age discrimination[4] for the Chief Clerk and Deputy Chief Clerk decisions. (Id. ¶ 76.) The City's HR Department was notified of the charge by a December 10, 2013 letter, but, again, there is no evidence to show that Judge James also received notice at that time. (Id. ¶ 80.) Judge James contends he did not receive a copy of Plaintiff's EEOC charge until early March 2014. (James Aff., ¶ 29.)

         D. Probate Court Under Judge James

         Even before the office reorganization, Plaintiff and other white employees felt "targeted" by Judge James because they received harsher criticism or disproportionate workloads as compared to black employees. (See Rice Dep., at 205-06; Aff. of Shelly Blake Howard ("Howard Aff."), Doc. 63-2, ¶¶ 49-50; Aff. of Sarah Hall Watts ("Watts Aff."), Doc. 63-2, ¶¶ 31-32.) They contend black employees encouraged Judge James to target white employees and that Judge James had a different relationship with black employees. (See Watts Aff., ¶¶ 26, 30; Howard Aff., ¶ 49.) Before Judge James began his tenure at the Probate Court, he, Daniels, Bray, and Judge James's personal secretary, Carrie Braxton, went on a cruise together. (Rice Dep., at 206-08.)

         In the months after Plaintiff's August discrimination complaint, Judge James and Bray changed Plaintiff's job duties and work location multiple times. (Rice Aff., ¶¶ 78, 81.) Plaintiff also accuses Judge James of deliberately withholding the exact details of her pay decrease to force her resignation. (Id. ¶ 73.)

         One day in December 2013, Plaintiff took a phone call at her desk and could not hear the conversation due to the noise level of her nearby coworkers. (Rice Dep., at 192.) She decided to record her coworkers using her cell phone and subsequently complained to Bray about the noise level by playing the recording. (Id.) Bray promised to address the noise issue at the next staff meeting but instructed Plaintiff to not record her coworkers without Judge James or Bray's permission. (Id.; James Aff., ¶ 26.) When informed of the incident, Judge James was displeased with Plaintiff and instructed Bray to advise Plaintiff "that she would have to stop tattle-telling on her coworkers." (James Aff., ¶ 26.) Judge James also contends this incident convinced him of the need to terminate Plaintiff. (Id.)

         On January 14, 2014, Plaintiff was provided a poor performance review and written reprimand, which documented numerous mistakes she made in Probate Court orders, discussed two scheduling errors that embarrassed Judge James in court, and warned Plaintiff that her poor attitude towards coworkers and the public needed to improve. (James Aff., Ex. B.) Plaintiff, Judge James, Bray, and Daniels met that same day to discuss those issues. (Rice Aff., ¶ 91.) During the meeting, Judge James counseled Plaintiff on her office demeanor, unwillingness to be a "team player," and habit of attempting to get her coworkers in trouble. (James Aff., ¶ 28.) Plaintiff disagreed with the reprimand and became defensive about the mistakes she was accused of. (Id.; Rice Aff., ¶ 92.) After the meeting, Judge James became even more convinced that he needed to terminate Plaintiff and asked Bray to prepare a letter of recommendation to that effect. (James Aff., ¶ 28.)

         Bray's letter documented at length incidents that occurred during Plaintiff's time as Director where Plaintiff favored white employees in promotions, raises, assignment of office duties, discipline, and attending training seminars. (James Aff., Ex. C.) The letter also blamed Plaintiff for causing four employees to quit or retire because of the stressful work environment she created. (Id.) Bray referenced some of the incidents that occurred after the Probate Court's reorganization including the recording incident, the January 14th performance review, and Plaintiff's refusal to improve her working relationship with other staff even after being counselled on the problem. (Id.) Finally, Bray noted that Plaintiff filed a discrimination claim against Judge James and rhetorically asked "what she will do next to disrupt this office." (Id.)

         In early March, Judge James received a copy of Plaintiff's EEOC charge. (James Aff., ¶ 29.) On March 4th, he called a meeting with the entire staff at which he read the contents of Plaintiff's EEOC charge. (Id.) Judge James contends he wanted to address the issue openly because of the tension it was causing in the Probate Court. (Id.) However, after reading from Plaintiff's charge Judge James began "shaking his finger at" Plaintiff and instructed her to not speak with him or go into his office and that he did not trust her. (Rice Dep., at 219.) Judge James also explicitly instructed the staff not to retaliate against Plaintiff, yet he also stated, "a change is going to come about real soon" and canceled the office's monthly breakfast meetings until the staff became "more trustworthy and cohesive." (Rice Aff., ¶¶ 94, 97.) After this incident, both black and white employees avoided talking to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 98.)

         On March 17th, Judge James terminated Plaintiff from the Probate Court. (James Aff., ¶ 30.) Plaintiff's termination letter noted the end of her employment was "necessary due to your poor interpersonal relationships with fellow co-workers, your negative disposition in the office and your substandard work performance." (Id. Ex. D.) Plaintiff subsequently amended her EEOC charge to reflect her termination and added a claim for retaliation. (Rice Aff., ¶ 76.)

         E. Procedural History

         On April 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed this employment discrimination case against Judge James and the City after receiving a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint brings claims for race discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII against Judge James in his official capacity and against the City. (Am. Compl., Doc. 23, ¶¶ 162-96.) She also alleges race discrimination and hostile work environment under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City and Judge James in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶¶ 197-230.) Next, Plaintiff alleges a violation of her equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment against the City and Judge James in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶¶ 231-43.) Finally, she includes a state law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Judge James in his individual capacity. (Id. ¶¶ 244-50.)

         On May 10, 2018, the Court denied Judge James's motion to dismiss, finding that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint sufficiently plead Title VII and § 1983 claims against Judge James. (See Order of May 10, 2018, Doc. 39, at 15.) In that Order, the Court stated that Plaintiff pleaded sufficient facts to treat Judge James and the City as a single employer, but that "aggregation is a fact-specific inquiry that is often better left to summary judgment.'7 (Id. at 11.) Further, the Court stated, "[t]aking the facts alleged by Plaintiff as true, the Court cannot conclude that Judge James is protected by qualified immunity." (Id. at 13.) Finally, the May 10th Order held that the City could not be liable under § 1983 for the actions of Judge James and those claims against the City were dismissed.

         Both Defendants have now filed motions for summary judgment. (Docs. 55, 59.) The City's sole contention is that it cannot be aggregated with the Probate Court for the purposes of Title VII, and therefore, the remaining Title VII claims against the City fail as a matter of law. Judge James moves for summary judgment on numerous grounds, arguing Plaintiff's Title VII claims fail because there can be no aggregation with the City, or, in the alternative, Plaintiff cannot prove an essential element of each claim. As to the § 1981 and § 1983 claims, Judge James contends the statute of limitations has run and he is entitled to sovereign and qualified immunity.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         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, and a dispute is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) . The Court must view factual disputes 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 [the non-moving party's] favor." United States v. Four Parcels of Real Prop., 941 F.2d 1428, 1437 (11th Cir. 1991) (en banc) (internal punctuation and citations omitted). The Court should not weigh the evidence or determine credibility. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         The 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). Because the standard for summary judgment mirrors that of a directed verdict, the initial burden of proof required by either party depends on who carries the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 323. "When the moving party has the burden of proof at trial, that party must show affirmatively the absence of a genuine issue of material fact: itAmust support its motion with credible evidence that would entitle it to a directed verdict if not controverted at trial.'" Four Parcels of Real Prop., 941 F.2d at 1438 (quoting Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 331 (Brennan, J., dissenting)). "If the moving party makes such an affirmative showing, it is entitled to summary judgment unless the nonmoving party, in response, 'comes forward with significant, probative evidence demonstrating the existence of a triable issue of fact.'" Id. (quoting Chanel, Inc. v. Italian Activewear of Fla., Inc., 931 F.2d 1472, 1477 (11th Cir. 1991)).

         When the movant does not carry the burden of proof at trial, it may satisfy its 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) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970) and Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. 317). The movant cannot meet its initial burden by merely declaring that the non-moving party cannot meet its burden at trial. Id.

         If - and only if - the movant carries its initial burden, the non-movant must "demonstrate 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. For example, if the movant presented 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." Fitzpatrick v. City of Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1116 (11th Cir. 1993) . On the other hand, 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.

         The Clerk of Court gave Plaintiff timely notice of both Defendants' summary judgment motion and the summary judgment rules, of the right to file affidavits or other materials in opposition, and the consequences of default. (Docs. 57, 60.) Therefore, the notice requirements of Griffith v. Wainwright, 772 F.2d 822, 825 (11th Cir. 1985) (per curiam), have been satisfied.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants raise several grounds for summary judgment. As to Plaintiff's § 1981 and § 1983 claims, Judge James argues that the statute of limitations has run, or, in the alternative, that he is entitled to sovereign and qualified immunity for those claims. On Plaintiff's Title VII claims, the City maintains it is not Plaintiff's employer under the statutory definition. Similarly, Judge James argues the Probate Court did not employ enough employees to be subject to Title VII and the Probate Court cannot be aggregated with the City to meet the employee requirement. Judge James also contends that Plaintiff cannot raise a genuine issue of material fact on her race discrimination, hostile work environment, or retaliation claims, and thus, summary judgment should be granted on those claims. Finally, Judge James asserts that Plaintiff cannot prove the essential elements of her claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

         A. Statute of Limitations

         Judge James first argues that Plaintiff's § 1983 claims are barred by a two-year statute of limitations applicable to tort actions in Georgia. Plaintiff's § 1983 claims against Judge James include race discrimination and hostile work environment under § 1981 and violation of Plaintiff's equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment.[5]

         Plaintiff uses § 1983 as a procedural vehicle to bring § 1981 claims for race discrimination and hostile work environment. See Butts v. Cty. of Volusia, 222 F.3d 891, 893 (11th Cir. 2000) (§ 1983 is the exclusive damages remedy for violation of rights guaranteed by § 1981) . Section 1981 was enacted as part of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and seeks to ensure equal rights under the law. In 1991, § 1981 was amended by expanding the definition of "make and enforce contracts," thereby allowing plaintiffs to bring employment discrimination actions, such as race discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, based on existing employment relationships. See Jones v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 541 U.S. 369, 373-74 (2004). Section 1981 does not include its own statute of limitations provision, instead 28 U.S.C. § 1658 provides a catch-all four-year statute of limitations for actions arising under federal statutes enacted after December 1, 1990. See id. Thus, if Plaintiff's § 1981 claims arise under the 1991 amendment to the statute, they are subject to § 1658' s four-year statute of limitations. If Plaintiff's § 1981 claims arise under the pre-1991 version of the statute, they are subject to state law statute of limitations used for § 1983 claims. See id. at 378.

         It is well established that the 1991 amendment to § 1981's definition of "make and enforce contracts" made it possible to bring race discrimination and hostile work environment claims. See id. at 383 (hostile work environment, wrongful terminations, and failure to transfer claims arise under 1991 amendment). As such, those claims are subject to § 1658's four-year statute of limitations.

         There is some dispute as to what type of claim applies to Plaintiff not receiving the Chief Clerk or Deputy Chief Clerk positions. Plaintiff characterizes her claim regarding the Chief Clerk job as a demotion and points to the similarities between that position and her previous job as Director of the Probate Court. Prior to Bray's promotion to Chief Clerk, Plaintiff was the highest-ranking staff member in the Probate Court. Viewing the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the Court agrees with Plaintiff's characterization that she was demoted, and thus, that claim arises from the 1991 amendment to § 1981 and is subject to a four-year limitations period. Because Plaintiff filed this case on April 7, 2017, and the date of the demotion was July 31, 2013 - less than four years earlier - her § 1981 demotion claim is timely. Similarly, most, if not all, of the alleged harassment Plaintiff relies on for her hostile work environment claim occurred after her demotion on July 31, 2013. Consequently, Plaintiff's § 1981 hostile work environment claim is also timely.

         Plaintiff characterizes her claim for the Deputy Chief Clerk job not as a demotion, but as a failure to promote. That type of claim may arise under the pre-1991 version of § 1981 when the promotion would create a "new and distinct" employment relationship. See Edwards v. Nat'l Vision Inc., 568 Fed.Appx. 854, 859-60 (2014) (quoting Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 491 U.S. 164, 179 (1989), superseded by statute as stated in Jones, 541 U.S. at 383). If the promotion would have created a new and distinct relationship, then the failure to promote claim arises from the pre-1991 version of § 1981 and is subject to the applicable state statute of limitations, which in Georgia is two years. See Jones, 541 U.S. at 382.

         It is hard to see how Deputy Chief Clerk would have been a new position for Plaintiff considering she served as Director, a position that was essentially the same as Chief Clerk, [6] for the previous five years, including during the first six months of Judge James's tenure. Comparing the job descriptions for the former Director position and the Deputy Chief Clerk position shows a substantial overlap in duties. (Compare Director Job Description, Doc. 63-3, with Deputy Chief Clerk Job Description, Doc. 63-6.) Moreover, the Deputy Chief Clerk decision came on August 5th, just six days after Plaintiff's demotion, and was part of the same reorganization that caused Plaintiff to lose her Director position. Accordingly, the Deputy Chief Clerk position would not have created a new and distinct employment relationship for Plaintiff, and thus, her failure to promote claim arises under the 1991 amendment to § 1981. To summarize, Plaintiff's § 1981 demotion, failure to promote, and hostile work environment claims brought under § 1983 are subject to § 1658's four-year statute of limitations.

         Plaintiff's § 1983 claim for violation of her equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment, however, is subject to a two-year statute of limitations. "In Georgia, the proper limitations period for all § 1983 claims is the two-year period set forth in O.C.G.A. § 9-3-33 for personal injury." Inman v. State Bar of Ga., 611 Fed.Appx. 579, 581 (11th Cir. 2015) (citing Williams v. City of Atlanta, 794 F.2d 624, 626 (11th Cir. 1986)). Unlike the § 1981 claims discussed above, Plaintiff's equal protection claim does not arise under an Act of Congress enacted after December 1, 1990. Both the Fourteenth Amendment and § 1983 were enacted shortly after the Civil War. Therefore, Georgia's two-year statute of limitations applies. Because the last act of alleged discrimination occurred when Judge James terminated Plaintiff on March 17, 2014, the statute of limitations had run by the time she filed her initial complaint on ...


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