United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
SPARKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically Defendants Jon
Weizenbaum, Sylvia Rodriguez, and Texas Department of Aging
and Disability Services (collectively, Defendants)'
Motion for Summary Judgment [#17], Plaintiff Jennifer
Crampton's Response [#26] in opposition, and
Defendants' Reply [#27] in support; as well as
Crampton's Motion for Leave to File Supplement Summary
Judgment Response with Newly Obtained Evidence [#28], and
Defendants' Response [#29] in opposition. Having
considered the case file and the applicable law, the Court
enters the following opinion and orders.
case relates to Plaintiff Jennifer Crampton's employment
termination from the Defendant Texas Department of Aging and
Disability Services (DADS). Crampton was hired by the Home
and Community Support Service Agencies (HCSSA) Licensing and
Certification Unit of DADS on January 5, 2015, where she
worked as a Licensing and Permit Specialist II. Mot. Summ. J.
[#17-6] Ex. E (Rodriguez Decl.) at APPX-0122.
April 16, 2015, Crampton was counseled by her then manager,
Mary Jo Grassmuck, regarding interactions with her co-worker,
Olivia Williams, who had complained of disrespectful and
unprofessional conduct by Crampton. See Mot. Summ.
J. [#17-8] Ex. G (Bourland Decl.) at APPX-0218-19; Mot. Summ.
J. [#17-2] Ex. A [#17-2] (Crampton Dep. Tr.) at APPX-0020.
Rodriguez became manager of the HCSSA group on June 1, 2015,
after Grassmuck retired. See Rodriguez Decl. at
APPX-0122. Shortly thereafter, on July 22, 2015, Crampton was
again counseled by Rodriguez and Director Cindy Bourland
regarding her interactions Williams along with other
work-related issues. Bourland Decl. at APPX-0220.
September 14, 2015, Rodriguez informed Crampton she had not
been selected to interview for the position of Licensing and
Permit Specialist IV. Rodriguez Decl. at APPX-0131. That same
day, Rodriguez sent an email instructing her team that
Management Change Requests would no longer require resumes.
See Mot. Summ. J. [#17-3] Ex. B (Crampton Report) at
APPX-0048. Crampton considered this policy change to be
unlawful, and subsequently in September or October 2015 began
reporting the change to 40 or 50 different officials,
including the Governor, the Office of Attorney General (OAG),
and several congressmen. See Resp. [#26] at 2. On
October 12, 2015 Crampton also filed an employment
discrimination complaint with the Civil Rights Office in
which she alleged Rodriquez unlawfully denied her an
interview for the Licensing and Permit Specialist IV job
because of her race, sex, and disability. See Resp.
[#26-2] Exs. at 52.
was issued a Second Level Reminder on November 9, 2015.
Rodriguez Decl. at APPX-0131-34. This reminder documented
Crampton's disciplinary history, including complaints
from other DADS employees and management. See Id.
Rodriguez and Bourland met with Crampton in person to discuss
the Second Level Reminder, and both found Crampton's
behavior in the meeting to be inappropriate and consistent
with that for which she was being disciplined. See
Id. at APPX-0124; Bourland Decl. at APPX-0220-21.
Office of Inspector General (OIG) initiated an investigation
on December 31, 2015 based on a complaint submitted by
Crampton. See Mot. Summ. J. [#17-5] Ex. D (OIG
Records) at APPX-0118. The OIG originally referred
Crampton's complaint to the Civil Rights Office and
closed the investigation on January 28, 2106. See
Id. at APPX-0120; see also [#17-13] Ex. L (OIG
Report) at 3. Crampton continued reporting alleged unlawful
conduct to the OIG and others. Resp. [#26] at 3-6. On March
29, 2016, the OIG reopened its investigation based on new
information submitted by Crampton. See OIG Report at
3. After performing a full investigation, the OIG again
closed the investigation finding Crampton's allegations
to be unsubstantiated. See Id. at 1-25.
March 28, 2016, Rodriguez issued Crampton a Decision-Making
Leave (DML) letter documenting Crampton's continued
behavior problems at work. See Rodriguez Decl. at
APPX-0137-39. The DML letter required Crampton take paid time
off to make a decision on her job performance and continued
employment. Rodriguez Decl. at APPX-0137-39. Rodriguez and
Robbi Craig met with Crampton on April 1, 2016 to discuss the
DML letter. See Id. at APPX-0124; see also
Mot. Summ. J. [#17-7] Ex. F (Craig Decl.) at 154. Audio of
the meeting was recorded, and both Rodriguez and Craig
documented Crampton's behavior as inappropriate and
disrespectful. Id; see also Mot. Summ. J. [#17-4]
Ex. C (Meeting Tr.). Later that day, DADS management decided
Crampton should be issued a Notice of Possible Disciplinary
Action (NOPDA). Rodriguez Decl. at APPX-0124. Notes from the
meeting indicate Crampton's report the OIG was discussed.
See Resp. [#26-2] Exs. at 94 (listing "OIG,
Civil Rights, Fraud" in meeting notes).
NOPDA letter was sent to Crampton on April 7, 2016, and she
responded to Rodriguez by email on April 15, 2016. See
Id. at APPX-0142-49. After reviewing Crampton's
response, Rodriguez issued a Notice of Final Disciplinary
Action to Crampton on April 15, 2016, effectively terminating
Crampton's employment with DADS. See Id. at
8, 2016, Crampton filed this lawsuit against Defendants in
the 200th Judicial District Court of Travis County, Texas.
See Notice Removal [#1-4] (Pet.). Defendants removed
the case to this Court on August 10, 2016, invoking the
Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1441(b).
See Notice Removal [#1]. Crampton contends
Defendants violated the Texas Whistleblower Act, the First
Amendment of the United States Constitution, and Article 1,
Section 8 of the Texas Constitution in terminating her
employment. Pet. at ¶¶ 68-85.
filed the instant motion for summary judgment on July 7,
2017, and Crampton responded on July 25, 2017. After summary
judgment briefing was completed, Crampton filed a motion for
leave to amend her summary judgment response and to
supplement the record with a declaration from ...