United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Western Division
CHRISTI C. FREE, Plaintiff,
FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION, Defendant.
H. MAYS, JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Christi C. Free brings this action against Defendant Federal
Express Corporation for sex discrimination and retaliation in
violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq.
(“Title VII”). Before the Court is
Defendant's May 31, 2017 Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 54; ECF No. 54-1.) Plaintiff responded on July 7,
2017. (ECF No. 61.) Defendant replied on August 4, 2017. (ECF
following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
has worked for Defendant since February 1988. (ECF No. 64-1
at 1161.) For the past 19 years, Plaintiff has been
a Senior Manager of Hub Operations (“Senior
has unsuccessfully applied for a position as Global
Operations Control Manager (“GOC Manager”)
several times. GOC Managers receive the same salary as Senior
Managers. (ECF No. 61-2 at 921.) However, GOC Managers
receive several benefits not available to Senior Managers.
GOC Managers receive a “sick bank, ” which allows
them to earn paid time off that can be used after sick leave
days have been exhausted. (ECF No. 64-1 at 1183.) GOC
Managers can receive jump seat privileges, which allow them
to use Defendant's planes for personal travel at no cost.
(Id. at 1185.) GOC Managers also have the
opportunity to work four days a week, perform office work
rather than outside work, and supervise salaried employees
rather than hourly employees. (Id. at 1185-86.)
applied for GOC Manager in September 2010. (Id. at
1162; ECF No. 61-5 at 969.) She did not receive an interview.
(Id. at 1162.) Plaintiff applied for GOC Manager
again in February 2012. (ECF No. 64-1 at 1165.) She was
interviewed but not hired. (ECF No. 61-5 at 969-70.)
March 8, 2013, Defendant posted another opening for a GOC
Manager position. (ECF No. 61-2 at 914.) Plaintiff applied.
(ECF No. 64-1 at 1167.) On April 5, 2013, Plaintiff was
interviewed for the position. (ECF No. 61-2 at 926.) On April
8, 2013, Plaintiff learned that she had not been chosen for
the position. (Id. at 931.) Rudy Cruz, a male, was
hired instead. (ECF No. 64-1 at 1168) On April 10, 2013,
Plaintiff filed an internal complaint of sex discrimination,
alleging that she had not been selected for the March 2013
GOC Manager opening because of her gender. (Id. at
5, 2013, Defendant posted another GOC Manager position. (ECF
No. 61-2 at 914.) Plaintiff applied. (Id. at 935.)
On September 17, 2013, Plaintiff was interviewed for GOC
Manager. (Id. at 935.) On September 26, 2013,
Plaintiff learned that she had not been selected.
(Id. at 938.) Debi Minnick, a female, was hired
instead. (Id. at 923.)
15, 2015, Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint in this
action. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff subsequently retained counsel
and, on January 4, 2016, filed an Amended Complaint. (ECF No.
28.) The Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant
discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of sex and
retaliated against Plaintiff for her internal discrimination
complaint, in violation of Title VII. (Id. at
31, 2017, Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 54; cf ECF No. 54-1.) Plaintiff responded on July 7,
2017. (ECF No. 61.) Defendant replied on August 4, 2017. (ECF
Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiff's federal-law
claims. Under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, U.S. district
courts have original jurisdiction “of all civil actions
arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” The Amended Complaint alleges that
Defendant discriminated and retaliated against Plaintiff in
violation of Title VII. (ECF No. 28 at 79-80.) Those claims
arise under the laws of the United States.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court shall grant a
party's motion for summary judgment “if the movant
shows that 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). The moving party can meet
this burden by pointing out to the court that the nonmoving
party, having had sufficient opportunity for discovery, has
no evidence to support an essential element of her case. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1); Asbury v. Teodosio, 412 F.
App'x 786, 791 (6th Cir. 2011) (citing Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)).
confronted with a properly-supported motion for summary
judgment, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine dispute for trial. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “A genuine dispute exists when the
plaintiff presents significant probative evidence on which a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for her.”
EEOC v. Ford Motor Co., 782 F.3d
753, 760 (6th Cir. 2015) (quotation marks
omitted). The nonmoving party must do more than simply
“‘show that there is some metaphysical doubt as
to the material facts.'” Adcor Indus., Inc. v.
Bevcorp, LLC, 252 F. App'x 55, 61 (6th Cir. 2007)
(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)).
may not oppose a properly supported summary judgment motion
by mere reliance on the pleadings. See Beckett v.
Ford, 384 F. App'x 435, 443 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324). Instead, the nonmoving party
must adduce concrete evidence on which a reasonable juror
could return a verdict in her favor. Stalbosky v.
Belew, 205 F.3d 890, 895 (6th Cir. 2000); see
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). The court does not have the duty to
search the record for such evidence. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(3); InterRoyal Corp. v. Sponseller, 889 F.2d
108, 111 (6th Cir. 1989).
summary judgment must be used carefully, it “is an
integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are
designed to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive
determination of every action[, ] rather than a disfavored
procedural shortcut.” FDIC v. Jeff Miller
Stables, 573 F.3d 289, 294 (6th Cir. 2009) (quotation
marks and citations omitted).
Pattern and Practice Claim
Amended Complaint alleges that “Defendant's method
of hiring result[ed] in a pattern and practice of
discrimination based [on] gender in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq.” (ECF No. 28 at 80.) Defendant
contends that Plaintiff's claim should be dismissed
because “the Sixth Circuit has held that the
pattern-or-practice method of proving discrimination is not
available to individual plaintiffs.” (ECF No. 54-1 at
167.) Plaintiff argues that “Defendant misunderstands
[Plaintiff's] complaint. A ‘pattern and
practice' case is ‘not a separate and free-standing
cause of action . . . but is really merely another method by
which disparate treatment can be shown.'” (ECF No.
61 at 877.)
Sixth Circuit has held that “the pattern-or-practice
method of proving discrimination is not available to
individual plaintiffs.” Bacon v. Honda of Am. Mfg.,
Inc., 370 F.3d 565, 575 (6th Cir. 2004). “[A]
pattern-or-practice claim is focused on establishing a policy
of discrimination; because it does not address individual . .
. decisions, it is inappropriate as a vehicle for proving
discrimination in an individual case.” Id. To
the extent Plaintiff has attempted to bring a separate
pattern-or-practice claim against Defendant under Title VII,
that claim must be denied. Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED on Plaintiff's pattern-or-practice
Gender Discrimination Claim
alleges that she was not hired for the March 8, 2013 GOC
Manager position because of her gender. (ECF No. 28 at 78;
ECF No. 61-2 at 922.) A plaintiff claiming discrimination
under Title VII “must establish ‘that the
defendant had a discriminatory intent or motive' for
taking a job-related action.” Ricci v.
DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 577 (2009) (internal quotations
omitted). “A plaintiff can establish a claim of sex
discrimination under Title VII by producing either direct or
circumstantial evidence of discrimination.” White
v. Columbus Metro. Hous. Auth., 429 F.3d 232, 238 (6th
Cir. 2005) (citation omitted).
evidence is that evidence which, if believed, requires the
conclusion that unlawful discrimination was at least a
motivating factor in the employer's actions.”
Jacklyn v. Schering-Plough Healthcare Prods. Sales
Corp.,176 F.3d 921, 926 (6th Cir. 1999). Such evidence
“explains itself” and “does not require the
fact finder to draw any inferences to reach the conclusion
that unlawful discrimination was at least a motivating
factor.” Gohl ...