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Sloan v. Board of Education

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee

June 3, 2015

DAVID SLOAN, Plaintiff,
BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.


JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

Plaintiff David Sloan, pro se, filed this action against Defendants Memphis City School Board of Education, Kriner Cash, and Tomeka Hart, alleging that he was discriminated against in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] Plaintiff has alleged that he is white and that he was not hired for a teaching position with the Board of Education of the Memphis City Schools ("MCS") because of his race.

Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment [DE# 42], Plaintiff has filed a response to the motion, and Defendants have filed a reply to the response. On April 23, 2015, Magistrate Judge Charmaine G. Claxton issued a report and recommendation [DE# 45] in which she recommends that the motion for summary judgment be granted. Plaintiff filed objections to the report and recommendation on May 7, 2015. Defendants have not filed any objections. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's objections are OVERRULED, the report and recommendation is ADOPTED in its entirety, and the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

Magistrate Judge Claxton has set out Defendants' arguments as follows:

Defendants argue that the Section 1981 and Section 1983 claims are time-barred by a one-year statute of limitations. Defendants further argue that Plaintiff cannot maintain a cause of action under Section 1983 because he fails to identify the policy that caused his injury. Additionally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie case for his Title VII race discrimination and Section 1981 claims. With respect to the Title VII race discrimination claims, Defendants argue that they have a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for their actions that Plaintiff cannot establish was merely pretext. Finally, Defendants argue that Cash and Hart are unnecessary and improper parties to the lawsuit.

Rep. & Rec. [DE# 45] at pp. 6-7. The Magistrate Judge also set out Plaintiff's response:

Plaintiff does not directly respond to Defendants' motion and does not cite to the record or relevant case law to support his opposition thereto. Moreover, Plaintiff failed to file a response to the Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Material Facts as required by Local Rule 56.1(b). Instead, Plaintiff argues that Defendants should not have objected to his interrogatories. Plaintiff asserts that he only needs to state inferential allegations for the claim not to be dismissed. Additionally, Plaintiff asserts that his Title VII discrimination claim should be equitably tolled due to abandonment by his former attorney. Finally, Plaintiff asserts that, from his interviewer's recommendation form, it is clear that no facts or qualifications were part of the basis for their decision not to re-hire him.

Id. at p. 7. Because Plaintiff did not respond to Defendants' statement of undisputed material facts as required by Rule 56.1(b), Magistrate Judge Claxton deemed Defendants' statement to be undisputed. Id. at p. 7 n. 6.

After setting forth the standard for deciding motions for summary judgment, Magistrate

Judge Claxton determined that:

Plaintiff knew or had reason to know of the injury, at the earliest, on or about December 11, 2009, when he received the email informing him that he was not re-hired, which is when the EEOC found to be the earliest date the discrimination occurred (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., Exh. J), or, at the latest, on March 8, 2010, when Plaintiff filed his EEOC charge. However, Plaintiff did not file his Complaint until June 29, 2012, which is more than two years after the latest possible date that the statute of limitation period could have begun. Therefore, the one-year statute of limitations for Plaintiff's Section 1981 and Section 1983 claims had expired before he filed his June 29, 2012 Complaint.

Id. at p. 13. Magistrate Judge Claxton recommended that Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted on Plaintiff's claims brought pursuant to Section 1981 and Section 1983.

As for Plaintiff's Title VII claim of race discrimination, Magistrate Judge Claxton determined that Plaintiff had presented no direct evidence of discrimination and there was none in the record showing that discriminatory motives had caused Plaintiff not to be hired as a teacher. She also determined that, using the circumstantial evidence approach, the evidence did not establish a prima face case of race discrimination under Title VII. See Arendale v. City of Memphis, 519 F.3d 587, 603 (6th Cir. 2008) (To establish a prima facie case of reverse race discrimination requires proving the following: (1) background circumstances to support the suspicion that the defendant is that unusual employer who discriminates against the majority; (2) he suffered an adverse employment action; (3) he was qualified for the position; and (4) he was treated differently than similarly situated, non-protected employees.)

With respect to whether background circumstances exist to support the suspicion that MCS is the unusual employer who discriminates against the majority, Plaintiff merely states in his deposition that he has no knowledge, facts or information regarding MCS discriminating against white applicants other than his own personal situation. Plaintiff also opines that it appears to him that racial discrimination "seemed to be an underlying practice" at least as for "certain people doing certain things" but that he does not know whether it was the practice of the "whole ...

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