United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 18). Plaintiff has filed a Response (Doc.
No. 28), and Defendant has filed a Reply (Doc. No. 32).
McGruder, who is African-American, was employed with the
Metro Nashville Public Schools, from July 2015 to January
2016, as the Executive Officer of Priority Schools. Her
employment was terminated (non-renewed) on January 15, 2016.
Defendant's articulated reason for Plaintiff's
termination was that she had engaged in rude and
unprofessional behavior, resulting in “many complaints
lodged against her” by other employees. Plaintiff
disputes this reason and asserts that she was fired for
“unlawful discriminatory and retaliatory
motives.” Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (“Title
VII”), alleging race discrimination and retaliation.
Defendant has moved for summary judgment on both of
asserts in her Complaint, and Defendant has admitted (Doc.
No. 9), the following facts. “Priority Schools”
are those schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide in
academic performance. (Doc. No. 26-2). As Executive Officer
of Priority Schools, Plaintiff's goals included raising
those schools out of the “priority schools”
classification, identifying and recruiting high-level school
leaders, and improving teacher recruitment and academic
achievement in general. (Doc. No. 1 at ¶¶ 7-8).
Madison Middle School was a Priority School. (Doc. No. 26-1
at ¶ 19).
November of 2015, Defendant received a complaint, via its
Compliance Hotline, of discrimination regarding Madison
Middle School, alleging that black students were receiving
from the principal harsher punishments than were white
students. (Doc. No. 26-7). Plaintiff was asked to investigate
this complaint. (Id.). Plaintiff has stated (in her
Declaration) that she found numerous incidents of
discriminatory treatment and discipline of black students by
school administrators, concerns from teachers about
unprofessional conduct and poor leadership of the school
principal, and claims that the school was a hostile place to
work. (Doc. No. 26-1 at 26-28 and 31). Plaintiff reported her
findings to Defendant on or about January 8, 2016, (Doc. No.
31) and she was fired on January 15, 2016. (Doc. No. 27 at
filed this action on December 11, 2017, alleging race
discrimination and retaliation against Defendant. (Doc. No. 1
at ¶¶ 27-37).
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). “By its very terms,
this standard provides that the mere existence of
some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986). In other words, even if genuine, a factual
dispute that is irrelevant or unnecessary under applicable
law is of no value in defeating a motion for summary
judgment. See Id. at 248. On the other hand,
“summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a
material fact is ‘genuine[.]'” Id.
is “material” within the meaning of Rule 56(c)
“if its proof or disproof might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing substantive law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A genuine dispute of
material fact exists if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party. Harris v. Klare, 902 F.3d 630, 634-35 (6th
party bringing the summary judgment motion has the initial
burden of identifying portions of the record that demonstrate
the absence of a genuine dispute over material facts.
Pittman v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 901
F.3d 619, 627-28 (6th Cir. 2018). If the summary judgment
movant meets that burden, then in response the non-moving
party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial. Id. at 628.
asserting that a fact cannot be or genuinely is
disputed-i.e., a party seeking summary judgment and a party
opposing summary judgment, respectively-must support the
assertion by citing to materials in the record, including,
but not limited to, depositions, documents, affidavits or
declarations. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). On a motion for
summary judgment, a party may object that the supporting
materials\ specified by its opponent “cannot be
presented in a form that would be admissible in
evidence.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2). Upon such an
objection, the proponent of the supporting material must show
that the material is admissible as presented or explain how
it could be presented in a form that would be admissible.
Thomas v. Haslam, 303 F.Supp.3d 585, 624 (M.D. Tenn.
2018); Mangum v. Repp, 2017 WL 57792 at ** 5 (6th
Cir. Jan. 5, 2017) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) advisory
committee's note to 2010 amendment).
court should view the facts and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Pittman, 901 F.3d at 628. Credibility judgments and
weighing of evidence are improper. Hostettler v. College
of Wooster, 895 F.3d 844, 852 (6th Cir. 2018). As noted
above, where there is a genuine dispute as to any material
fact, summary judgment is not appropriate. Id. 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 upon which the jury could reasonably find for the
nonmoving party. Rodgers v. Banks, 344 F.3d 587, 595
(6th Cir. 2003).