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Scharklet v. City of Portland

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

May 21, 2015

JAMES E. SCHARKLET,
v.
CITY OF PORTLAND, TN

MEMORANDUM

TODD J. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Partial Dismissal and Summary Judgment (Docket No. 30). For the reasons stated herein, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.

FACTS

Plaintiff, an African-American male, is employed by Defendant as a Plant Manager for the Water Department. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that he began his employment with Defendant in 1999 as a Lab Trainee. Plaintiff alleges that he experienced disparate treatment and a hostile work environment based upon his race. Plaintiff's Complaint outlines numerous allegations of racial slurs, harassing comments, and alleged instances where Defendant denied Plaintiff certain things he wanted, like specific jobs. Plaintiff claims that he filed a Discrimination Charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") in November 2012 alleging race and retaliation.[1]

Plaintiff's Complaint asserts that Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff on account of his race, in violation of Title VII and the Tennessee Human Rights Act ("THRA"); that Defendant has subjected Plaintiff to a racially hostile work environment in violation of Title VII and the THRA; and that Defendant deprived Plaintiff of his constitutional rights under the First, Fourth and Fifteen Amendments, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

Defendant seeks partial dismissal or partial summary judgment on the following claims: (1) punitive damages, (2) damages for alleged discrete acts which occurred outside the applicable statutes of limitations, (3) reinstatement, back pay and front pay, and (4) violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1981. Because the parties have briefed this Motion pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, the Court will consider it to be a Motion for Summary Judgment on these claims.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The party bringing the summary judgment motion has the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motion and identifying portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute over material facts. Rodgers v. Banks, 344 F.3d 587, 595 (6th Cir. 2003). The moving party may satisfy this burden by presenting affirmative evidence that negates an element of the non-moving party's claim or by demonstrating an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Id.

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must review all the evidence, facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Van Gorder v. Grand Trunk Western Railroad, Inc., 509 F.3d 265, 268 (6th Cir. 2007). The Court does not, however, weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court determines whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question. Id. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party's position will be insufficient to survive summary judgment; rather, there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party. Rodgers, 344 F.3d at 595.

PUNITIVE DAMAGES

Plaintiff has conceded that his claim for punitive damages must be dismissed. Therefore, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment on the punitive damages claim is granted, and that claim is dismissed.

STATUTES OF LIMITATION

Defendant argues that certain of Plaintiff's claims for discrete acts of discrimination are barred by applicable statutes of limitation. Plaintiff misunderstands the nature of this argument and contends that he may bring claims for these continuing acts under his hostile work environment claim. Defendant has not moved to dismiss Plaintiff's hostile work environment claim or argued that the hostile work environment claim is time-barred.

Notwithstanding Plaintiff's claim of hostile work environment, Plaintiff's claims of discrete acts of discrimination under Title VII occurring before May 19, 2012 (180 days from filing his EEOC charge) are untimely, and claims based upon those discrete acts are dismissed. Similarly, Plaintiff's claims of discrete acts of discrimination under the THRA, Section 1983 and Section 1981 occurring before ...


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