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Neal v. White Castle System, Inc.

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

May 28, 2015

FRANK NEAL, Plaintiff,
v.
WHITE CASTLE SYSTEM, INC., Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

JOHN S. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

TO: THE HONORABLE TODD J. CAMPBELL

Defendant White Castle System, Inc. ("White Castle") has filed its motion for summary judgment (Docket Entry No. 48). Plaintiff Neal, who is now proceeding pro se, has not responded in opposition, and the time within which he was obligated to do so has expired.

For the reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends that White Castle's motion for summary judgment be granted and the complaint dismissed.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

In his amended complaint, Plaintiff Neal alleges that he was wrongfully terminated from his employment as a crew leader at the White Castle Store No. 13 in Lebanon, Tennessee, because of his race (African American), his age (47), and in retaliation for Neal's having complained earlier about discrimination on the basis of race. Neal asserts causes of action in violation of Title VII, the Tennessee Human Rights Act ("THRA"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 621, et seq. (Docket Entry No. 33).

Defendant filed an answer denying liability and asserting affirmative defenses (Docket Entry No. 35).

White Castle has now filed its motion for summary judgment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A party may obtain summary judgment by showing "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Covington v. Knox County School Sys., 205 F.3d 912, 914 (6th Cir. 2000). The moving party bears the initial burden of satisfying the court that the standards of Rule 56 have been met. See Martin v. Kelley, 803 F.2d 236, 239 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The ultimate question to be addressed is whether there exists any genuine dispute of material fact. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Covington, 205 F.3d at 914 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)). If so, summary judgment is inappropriate.

To defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If the party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The nonmoving party's burden of providing specific facts demonstrating that there remains a genuine issue of material fact for trial is triggered once the moving party shows an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. A genuine issue of material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all justifiable inferences in its favor. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

SUMMARY OF UNDISPUTED FACTS

From the record it appears that the following facts are undisputed.

Plaintiff Frank Neal was hired by Defendant White Castle System, Inc. in December 2005. Neal worked at the White Castle Store No. 13 in Lebanon, Tennessee, during the entire period of his employment with White Castle. At all ...


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