United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. BOYLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendant Federal National Mortgage Association
a/k/a Fannie Mae's (Fannie Mae) Motion for Summary
Judgment. Doc. 53. For the following reasons, the Court
GRANTS Fannie Mae's Motion.
an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff Stephanie Warren
(Warren) contends that Fannie Mae terminated her from her
position as a sales representative with the company based on
her race. See, e.g., Doc. 28, Pl.'s Second Am.
Compl. ¶¶ 4.02, 4.07, 4.12 [hereinafter Pl.'s
SAC]. Fannie Mae fired Warren in February 2013. Id.
¶ 4.07. The reason for Warren's termination lies at
the heart of this suit. Warren maintains that she was fired
because of her race. Id. ¶ 6.03. Fannie Mae
counters that it was because she violated company policy by
engaging in an improper relationship with an outside real
estate broker. See, e.g., Doc. 54, Def.'s Br.
Supp. Mot. Summ. J. 1, 6 [hereinafter Def.'s Br.].
Mae is a publicly traded company created by congressional
charter to support the national housing market by investing
in mortgage loans. 12 U.S.C. § 1723a; Doc. 28, Pl.'s
SAC ¶ 4.01. Due to its mortgage investments, Fannie Mae
owns real estate throughout the United States. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 3. More specifically, when a property secured
by one of Fannie Mae's mortgage interests is foreclosed
upon, Fannie Mae takes ownership of the property-a
“real estate owned” (REO) property-to manage and
eventually sell it. Id.
facilitate the sale of REO properties, Fannie Mae employs
sales representatives who work to sell the properties through
licensed outside brokers in an assigned territory.
Id. (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. Supp. Mot.
Summ. J. 77:10-78:13 [hereinafter Def.'s App.], Ex. 5,
Warren Depo.). Fannie Mae then contracts with outside brokers
(REO Brokers) after a rigorous screening process to work with
Fannie Mae's sales reps to assist with the maintenance
and disposition of REO properties. Id. at 4; Doc.
28, Pl.'s SAC ¶¶ 4.02-04. As part of that
screening and contracting process, sales reps can recommend
to Fannie Mae's management team that particular real
estate agents be selected as REO Brokers. Doc. 54, Def.'s
Br. 4 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 78:8-79:25, Ex. 5,
Warren Depo.). If selected as brokers, then those agents
receive unique passwords to access Fannie Mae's
proprietary Asset-Management Network (AMN). Id. at
started working for Fannie Mae in July 1996. Doc. 28,
Pl.'s SAC ¶ 4.02; Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 9. And at
all times relevant to this case, Warren worked for Fannie Mae
as a sales rep. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 9 (citing Doc. 55,
Def.'s App. 76-77, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.); see
also Doc. 66, Pl.'s App. Supp. Pl.'s Resp. 1
[hereinafter Pl.'s App.], Ex. 1, Warren Decl. ¶ 3
[hereinafter Warren Decl.]. In 2010, Warren was assigned to
Fannie Mae's Virginia territory. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br.
9 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 81, Ex. 5, Warren
Depo.). While there, she met Rhyan Finch, a Virginia
real estate agent who later became an approved REO Broker for
Fannie Mae's Virginia properties. See Doc. 66,
Pl.'s App. 2, Warren Decl. ¶¶ 8-10.
moved from Fannie Mae's Virginia territory to its
Pennsylvania territory in 2011. Id. ¶ 6. To
carry out her duties there, Warren needed the help of real
estate agents in Pennsylvania. Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC ¶
4.03. With that in mind, Warren requested and Fannie Mae
provided a list of agents available in the area. Id.
¶ 4.09; Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 11. The list included
just one potential agent: Emma Djiya. Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC
¶¶ 4.06, 4.09; Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 11.
was not listed as an option. See Doc. 28, Pl.'s
SAC ¶¶ 4.06, 4.09; Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 11.
Nevertheless, Warren spoke with Finch before proposing to
Fannie Mae any names as potential REO Brokers. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 11 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 86-87, Ex.
5, Warren Depo.); Doc. 66, Pl.'s App. 2, Warren Decl.
¶ 12. Finch independently recommended Djiya and said
that he would assist with bringing her up to speed to handle
and market properties. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 11 (citing
Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 86-91, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.); Doc.
66, Pl.'s App. 2, Warren Decl. ¶ 12. After a brief
conversation with Djiya in which she confirmed that Djiya
would receive assistance from Finch, Warren recommended to
Fannie Mae that Djiya be on-boarded as a REO Broker. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 11 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 90, Ex. 5,
Mae asserts and its summary judgment evidence indicates that
in March 2012, Finch emailed Warren to say that Djiya's
application to Fannie Mae had been submitted, and attached to
the email copies of documents that Warren was supposed to
submit to Fannie Mae about Djiya's application.
Id. at 12 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 92-93,
Ex. 5, Warren Depo.). Finch, Fannie Mae says, had filled in
the documents to look as though Warren had completed them
when in fact he had. Id. The documents included an
email address and phone number for Djiya that were different
from her usual email and phone number. Id. (citing
Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 119, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.). Finch
could access the new email address and potentially the phone
line, too. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 12 (citing Doc. 55,
Def.'s App. 131-33, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.). Warren knew
that communications intended for Djiya also went to Finch.
Id. Fannie Mae maintains that none of its other
employees did. Id. Finch closed his email to Warren
by saying: “Can you delete my name from the email
forwarding it on and they can use the email in the form as it
goes to me as well as the phone call.” Id.
(quoting Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 186, Ex. 6, Warren Depo.
Mae's summary judgment indicates-and Warren does not
appear to contest-that Warren and Finch exchanged a few more
emails about Djiya's application as it wound through
Fannie Mae's screening process. See Id. at 12-13
(citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 94, 97-98, 189, 191-92).
Warren's deposition testimony further indicates that
while she did not forward the documents pre-filled by Finch,
neither did she inform her manager at that time about
Finch's involvement with Djiya's application.
Id. at 13 (citing Doc. 155, Def.'s App. 99, Ex.
5, Warren Depo.). Fannie Mae eventually completed its
screening process and on-boarded Djiya as a REO Broker, at
which point she started working with Warren on the sale and
disposition of REO properties. See id.; Doc. 28,
Pl.'s SAC ¶ 4.06. This case turns on the working
relationship between Warren, Djiya, and Finch-and more
specifically, Fannie Mae's investigation into whether
that relationship violated its internal personnel policies.
Mae maintains that it employs both practical and formal
safeguards to avoid potential conflicts of interest between
sales reps and REO Brokers. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br.
3-4. In that regard, Fannie Mae often reassigns its
territories among sales reps and uses multiple REO Brokers
within a given sales rep's territory. Id. But as
a more formal measure, Fannie Mae has a Code of Conduct and
personnel policy that govern, among other things, sales
reps' relationships and interactions with REO Brokers.
Mae states that its Code of Conduct and personnel policy aim
to prevent the existence or appearance of impropriety or
conflict between Fannie Mae and its REO Brokers. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 4; see also Doc. 55, Def.'s App.
278, Ex. 21, Conflict of Interest Policy. Along those lines,
Fannie Mae's Code of Conduct articulates a non-exhaustive
list of “Code Breakers, ” that is, examples of
conduct that would violate the code. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br.
4 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 256, Ex. 19, Arrington
Decl.). Listed among those exemplary Code Breakers is:
“Giving one Fannie Mae vendor an inappropriate
advantage over other vendors.” Id. Read in
context, Fannie Mae says, that means that its employees may
not engage in conduct that either: (1) gives a vendor an
inappropriate advantage; or (2) appears to give a vendor an
inappropriate advantage. See id.; see also
Doc. 65, Pl.'s Resp. 10-11, 22, 25. Fannie Mae claims
that it requires that all of its employees, including Warren
when she worked there, review the Code of Conduct annually.
Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 4 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App.
162:4-13, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.).
Mae asserts that its dedicated investigations unit examines
alleged violations of its Code of Conduct and personnel
policies. Id. at 5; see also Doc. 65,
Pl.'s Resp. 12, 27. The investigations unit's
practices are governed by Fannie Mae's Investigations
Policy, which, at least on paper, strives to ensure that
investigations are fair, impartial, and insulated from
influence by Fannie Mae's management team. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 5 (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 264, Ex.
20, Investigations Policy). Warren, as will soon become
apparent, disputes that the investigation of her conduct was
impartial. See, e.g., Doc. 65, Pl.'s Resp. 12
(arguing that Fannie Mae engaged in a sham investigation).
event, Fannie Mae says that once an investigation is
complete, the lead investigator identifies “directed
action” to be taken as a result of the
investigation's findings. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 5.
Fannie Mae's Chief Compliance Officer then purportedly
reviews the proposed directed action before it is
implemented. Id. at 5-6. During that process, the
proposed directed actions are often discussed with Fannie
Mae's management team. See Id. Fannie Mae
maintains-but Warren disagrees-that those discussions are
just to ensure that all pertinent information is on the
table; management supposedly has no input into the selection
or enactment of directed actions. Id.; see
also Doc. 65, Pl.'s Resp. 7, 12, 23.
allegations at issue here involve former REO Brokers Finch
and Jonathan Spinetto. Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC ¶ 4.05;
Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 6. Fannie Mae alleges that in 2012,
it received an anonymous tip that one of its sales reps,
Stephanie Neugent, had helped Finch to establish a referral
network through which he received fees for referring REO
properties to other agents. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 6. Fannie
Mae says that its investigations unit looked into the
complaint, determined that Neugent's conduct violated the
Code of Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, and proposed
as directed action that she be fired as a result.
Id. (citing Doc. 56, Def.'s Sealed App. Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. 563-75, Ex. 52, Neugent Inv. Decision
[hereinafter Def.'s Sealed App.]). Management agreed and
fired Neugent. See id.; see also Doc. 56,
Def.'s Sealed App. 578, Ex. 53, Approval Memo re:
Mae claims that its mortgage fraud group later expanded the
investigation into Finch's conduct, as well as that of
another unrelated broker named Jonathan Spinetto. Doc. 54,
Def.'s Br. 7. Fannie Mae maintains that it concluded
through the investigation that Finch and Spinetto improperly:
(1) accessed the AMN without Fannie Mae's authorization
or approval using other brokers' login credentials and
passwords; (2) required the brokers that they worked with to
split commissions as payment; and (3) masked their
participation by creating false emails and phone numbers to
lead Fannie Mae to believe that it was contacting other
brokers when it was in fact corresponding with Finch and
Spinetto. Id. Fannie Mae also became concerned that
sales reps other than Neugent were implicated by Finch and
Spinetto's behavior. Id. at 8.
that reason, Fannie Mae states, its investigations unit
looked into which sales reps had worked with either Finch or
Spinetto. Id. That inquiry initially identified 12
employees but two more names later came to light through
ensuing investigations. Id.; Doc. 65, Pl.'s
Resp. 22-24. Warren was among the first 12-Finch, cooperating
with Fannie Mae's request, specifically named Warren as a
sales rep who he had worked with in a list forwarded to the
investigations unit. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 8
(citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 303-05, Ex. 23, Finch
Depo.). Fannie Mae asserts that an investigation into
Warren's behavior then began as a result of Finch's
report. Id. at 9.
Mae claims that its investigation uncovered a number of
questionable or improper activities by Warren, including: (1)
acquiescing to Finch's unauthorized access of Fannie
Mae's AMN using Djiya's login credentials; (2)
letting Finch conduct training for Djiya that Warren should
have conducted herself; (3) permitting Finch to manage or at
least be involved in managing REO properties assigned to
Djiya; and, most importantly, (4) not telling anyone about
it. Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 13-15. In essence, Fannie Mae
says, when Warren worked with Djiya, she was actually working
with Finch. Id. And despite, Fannie Mae maintains,
signs that interplay might be improper-for instance,
Warren's annual review of Fannie Mae's Code of
Conduct or requests that names be redacted from emails-Warren
never reported it to her supervisor or other
casts these facts in a different light. Djiya was the only
REO Broker available in the area, so she worked with her.
Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC ¶ 4.09. What's more, her
understanding of Fannie Mae's rules and practices allowed
for relationships like that between Finch and Djiya.
Id. ¶ 4.10. And Warren never received payments,
kickbacks, or any other benefits from Finch or Djiya.
Id. ¶ 4.11. Therefore, Warren says, nothing was
amiss and there was no conflict of interest. Id.
Fannie Mae says that its investigations unit concluded that
Warren's actions created an appearance of impropriety.
Doc. 54, Def.'s Br. 15. Warren's deposition
testimony, proffered by Fannie Mae, indicates that in August
2012 another REO Broker in Pennsylvania contacted Warren and
asked whether Djiya was working with someone in Virginia.
Id. (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App. 122-23, Ex. 5,
Warren Depo.). Fannie Mae says that Warren reported that call
to Djiya and Finch, but not to her supervisor or any other
superior. Id. (citing Doc. 55, Def.'s App.
125-26, Ex. 5, Warren Depo.). Fannie Mae claims that based on
all of those occurrences and Warren's failure to report
them to management, the lead investigator on Warren's
case, Leslie Arrington, determined that termination was the
appropriate direct action to take. Id. at 15-18.
Mae says that its Chief Compliance Officer Nancy Jardini then
reviewed and approved the proposed directed action.
Id. at 18.
February 2013, Fannie Mae's Director of Sales informed
Warren that she was being terminated for allegedly violating
Fannie Mae's Code of Conduct in connection with her work
on REO properties in Pennsylvania. Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC
¶ 4.07. A few days later, Warren received a letter from
Meghan Chadsey, an internal investigator, informing her that
she was fired for failing to maintain an arm's length
relationship with Finch. Id. ¶ 4.08. Warren
asserts that Fannie Mae's reasons for firing her are
false and pretext for illegal discrimination. Id.
basis, Warren filed suit in state court against Fannie Mae
and Jerome Devadoss, Fannie Mae's Director of Real Estate
Asset Management. See Doc. 1,
Notice of Removal, Ex. A-2, Pl.'s Orig. Pet. Warren
amended her state suit, dropping Devadoss and adding Ray
Donovan, an employee in Fannie Mae's auction sales
department. Id., Ex. 6 Pl.'s Am. Pet. Fannie
Mae, in turn, removed the case to this Court. See
Id. Warren moved to remand the case to state court, but
the Court denied her motion and dismissed Warren's claims
against Donovan after finding that he had been improperly
joined. See Doc. 23, Order.
then filed her Second Amended Complaint against Fannie Mae
and Arrington, the lead investigator on Warren's case.
See Doc. 28, Pl.'s SAC. In it, Warren asserts
the following claims: (1) race discrimination in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42
U.S.C. § 2000e, and the Texas Commission on Human Rights
Act (TCHRA), Tex. Labor Code §§ 21.001 et
seq., against Fannie Mae; (2) race discrimination in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Section 1981) against
Fannie Mae and Arrington; and (3) defamation against Fannie
Mae. Id. ¶¶ 5.01-7.07.
Court has already dismissed Warren's defamation claim.
See Doc. 36, Elec. Order. The Court has also
dismissed Warren's claims against Arrington under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m) for failure to timely serve
Arrington with process. See Doc. 51, Order. So the
only claims remaining are those against Fannie Mae for race
discrimination under Title VII, Section 1981, and the TCHRA.
Fannie Mae's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 53) seeks
to dismiss all three. Warren has responded to Fannie
Mae's Motion, and Fannie Mae has replied. See
Doc. 65, Pl.'s Resp.; Doc. 69, Def.'s Reply to
Pl.'s Resp. [hereinafter Def.'s Reply]. Thus, Fannie
Mae's Motion is ripe for the Court's review.
judgment is appropriate “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). A dispute “is ‘genuine'
if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury to return
a verdict for the non-moving party.” Burrell v. Dr.
Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Grp., 482 F.3d 408, 411 (5th
Cir. 2007). And a fact “is ‘material' if its
resolution could affect the outcome of the action.”
summary judgment movant bears the burden of proving that no
genuine issue of material fact exists. Latimer v.
Smithkline & French Labs., 919 F.2d 301, 303 (5th
Cir. 1990). Usually, this requires the movant to identify
“those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal quotation
marks omitted). But if the non-movant ultimately bears the
burden of proof at trial, the movant may satisfy its burden
just by pointing to the absence of evidence supporting the
non-movant's case. Id. at 322-23.
movant meets that burden, then it falls to the non-movant to
“show with significant probative evidence that there
exists a genuine issue of material fact.” Hamilton
v. Segue Software Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477 (5th Cir.
2000) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Conkling
v. Turner, 18 F.3d 1285, 1295 (5th Cir. 1994)). And
significant probative evidence is just that: significant.
See Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075
(5th Cir. 1994) (per curiam). “[M]etaphysical doubt as
to material facts, ” “conclusory allegations,
” “unsubstantiated assertions, ” or a mere
“scintilla of evidence” will not do.
Id.(internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
Rather, “the non-movant must go beyond the pleadings
and present specific facts indicating a genuine issue for
trial.” Bluebonnet Hotel Ventures, L.L.C. v. Wells
Fargo Bank, N.A., 754 F.3d 272, 276 (5th Cir. 2014)
(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324).
sure, the court views evidence in the light most favorable to
the non-movant when determining whether a genuine issue
exists. Munoz v. Orr, 200 F.3d 291, 302 (5th Cir.
2000). Yet it need not “sift through the record in
search of evidence to support a party's opposition to
summary judgment.” Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline
Co., 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915-16
& n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)). Simply put, the non-movant must
“identify specific evidence in the record” and
“articulate the precise manner in which that evidence
supports [its] claim.” Id. If it cannot, then
the court must grant summary judgment. Little, 37
F.3d at 1076.
The McDonnell Douglas Burden Shifting Framework
referenced, Warren has asserted race discrimination claims
under Title VII, Section 1981, and the TCHRA. The Court
employs the McDonnell Douglas burden shifting
framework to analyze all of those claims.
brought under Title VII and Section 1981 “are
‘governed by the same evidentiary framework, ' such
that the analyses under both statutes are substantively the
same.” Jackson v. Watkins, 619 F.3d 463, 466
(5th Cir. 2010) (quoting Pegram v. Honeywell, Inc.,
361 F.3d 272, 281 n.7 (5th Cir. 2004)). The same goes for
“[c]laims of race discrimination brought under Title
VII and the TCHRA.” Bender v. Shulkin, No.
3:14-cv-2595-L, 2017 WL 1156327, at *6 (N.D. Tex. Mar. 22,
2017) (quoting Shackelford v. Deloitte & Touche,
LLP, 190 F.3d 398, 404 n.2 (5th Cir. 1999); see also
Reed v. Neopost USA, Inc., 701 F.3d 434, 439 (5th Cir.
2012) (noting parallelism between Title VII and the TCHRA).
On that basis, the Court may address all three of
Warren's claims together using the Title VII evidentiary
framework. See Bender, 2017 WL 1078509, at *6;
Jackson, 619 F.3d at 466.
VII prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise
discriminating against employees because of race.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Should
discrimination occur, “Title VII affords employees the
option of proving a violation through either direct or
circumstantial evidence.” Jackson, 619 F.3d at
466. Warren relies on circumstantial evidence. For that reason, the Court
analyzes her claims “under the three-step,
burden-shifting analysis embodied in the ‘modified
McDonnell Douglas approach.'”
Jackson, 619 F.3d at 466 (quoting Burrell v. Dr.
Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Grp., Inc., 482 F.3d 408, 411
(5th Cir. 2007)).
the plaintiff must “establish a prima facie case of
discrimination.” Id. “‘Although
the precise elements of this showing will vary depending on
the circumstances, the plaintiff's burden at this stage
of the case is not onerous.'” Reed, 701
F.3d at 439 (quoting Mission Consol. Ind. Sch. Dist. v.
Garcia, 372 S.W.3d 629, 633 (Tex. 2012)). Second, if the
plaintiff shows a prima facie case, then “the
‘burden shifts to the employer to show a legitimate,
nonretaliatory reason for the adverse employment
action.'” Id. (quoting Black v. Pan
Am. Labs., L.L.C., 646 F.3d 254, 259 (5th Cir. 2011)).
“This is a burden of production, not persuasion, on the
employer's part, and it ‘can involve no credibility
assessment.'” Bender, 2017 WL 1078509, at
*6 (quoting St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509
U.S. 502, 509 (1993)). Third, “[i]f the employer meets
its burden, then the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to
make an ultimate showing of intentional
discrimination.” Reed, 701 F.3d at 339.
so, the plaintiff “may proceed under one of two
alternatives: the pretext alternative or the mixed-motives
alternative.” Jackson v. Watkins, No.
3:07-cv-1837-D, 2009 WL 1437824, at *3 (N.D. Tex. May 21,
2009), aff'd, 619 F.3d 463 (5th Cir. 2010). For
pretext, the plaintiff “must ‘offer sufficient
evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that [the
employer's] reason is not true, but is instead a pretext
for discrimination.'” Id. (quoting
Rachid v. Jack in the Box, Inc., 376 F.3d 305, 312
(5th Cir. 2004)) (internal alterations omitted).
prevail under the mixed-motives alternative, by contrast, the
plaintiff “must offer sufficient evidence to create a
genuine issue of material fact ‘that [the
employer's] reason, while true, is only one of the
reasons for [its] conduct, and another motivating factor is
[the plaintiff's] protected characteristic.'”
Id. Simply put, under the mixed motives theory
“the plaintiff can survive summary judgment by
producing evidence that creates a jury issue as to the
employer's discriminatory animus or the falsity of the
employer's nondiscriminatory explanation.”
Sandstad v. CB Richard Ellis, Inc., 309 F.3d 893,
897 (5th Cir. 2002).
Objections to Evidence
analyzing Warren's race discrimination claims, the Court
must first address Fannie Mae's objections to
Warren's summary judgment evidence. Fannie Mae objects to
Warren's submission of: (1) Keitha Jefferson's
Declaration; and (2) Warren's own
to the extent that it contradicts with her prior deposition
testimony. Doc. 67, Def.'s Obj. 1-5. The Court addresses
each objection in turn.
Keitha Jefferson Declaration
Jefferson was formerly employed by Fannie Mae as a real
estate asset analyst and foreclosure specialist. See
Doc. 66, Pl.'s App. 527, Ex. 10, Jefferson Decl.
Jefferson claims that Fannie Mae improperly terminated her
after a biased investigation by Chadsey and Arrington in
retaliation for her reporting unpaid overtime hours and
requesting disability accommodation. Id. at 528-31.
Warren offers her declaration to challenge the
trustworthiness and character of Fannie Mae's
investigators, Chadsey and Arrington. See Doc. 72,
Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Obj. 2 [hereinafter Pl.'s
Mae argues that Jefferson's Declaration should be
excluded because it is irrelevant, prejudicial, hearsay, not
based on personal knowledge, and improper opinion testimony.
Id. at 1-3. Warren, by contrast, argues that
Jefferson's testimony is intimately relevant in that it
speaks to Fannie Mae's investigator's bad faith. Doc.
72, Pl.'s Obj. Resp. 2. Further, Warren continues,
Jefferson's Declaration is not hearsay because it is
based on party admissions by Fannie Mae's employees, and
is not improper opinion evidence because it is based on her
own experience. See Id. at 3-4.
Court agrees with Fannie Mae. As an initial matter, Warren
purportedly offers Jefferson's declaration to attack
Chadsey and Arrington's credibility. It has no other
evidentiary value. Yet credibility determinations are not
allowed at the summary judgment stage. See Baylor Cty.
Hos. Dist. v. Burwell, 163 F.Supp.3d 372, 377 (N.D. Tex.
2016) (“The Court cannot make a credibility
determination in light of conflicting evidence or competing
inferences.”). Even if the Court were to overlook that
shortcoming, Jefferson's Declaration is wholly unrelated
to facts at hand. She was employed by Fannie Mae at the same
time as Warren but the similarities end there-the two held
different jobs, were fired for purportedly different reasons,
and asserted different claims. See Doc. 66,
Pl.'s App. 528-29, Ex. 10, Jefferson Decl. So her