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Cruz v. Texas Steel Conversion, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

January 9, 2018

Jorge Cruz, Plaintiff,
v.
Texas Steel Conversion, Inc., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Gray H. Miller United States District Judge.

         Pending before the court is defendant Texas Steel Conversion, Inc.'s (“TSC”) motion for partial summary judgment. Dkt. 10. Plaintiff Jorge Cruz responded. Dkt. 12. TSC replied. Dkt. 13. Having considered the motion, the response, the reply, the record evidence, and the applicable law, the court is of the opinion that the motion should be GRANTED.

         I. Background

         This is an employment discrimination case. Dkt. 1. In his complaint, Cruz alleges TSC employed him for approximately twenty-one years. Id. at 2. During his employment, TSC Foreman Doustin Paredes informed Cruz that TSC was investigating Cruz for misusing his authority by showing favoritism towards certain employees he supervised and intimidating other employees. Id. Cruz alleges that Paredes continuously found “petty ways to discredit [Cruz's] work.” Id. at 3. When Cruz told another supervisor of Paredes accusations and actions, the supervisor allegedly told Cruz that Paredes seemed to be looking for a way to terminate him. Id.

         Based on Paredes's allegations, TSC fired Cruz on August 29, 2016. Id. Cruz alleges that TSC replaced him with a younger and less qualified employee. Id. According to Cruz, TSC terminated him because of his age. Id. Believing that he was discriminated against, Cruz filed a charge of discrimination with the United States Equal Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). Id. at 4. The EEOC provided Cruz with a notice of the right to sue. Id. at 4. Accordingly, Cruz sued TSC alleging the following causes of action: (1) age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 623; (2) gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e; (3) equal pay discrimination on the basis of age in violation of the ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 623; and (4) gender discrimination in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. Id. at 4-6. Notably, counts II and IV are substantially identical.[1]

         In the instant motion, TSC moves for partial summary judgment and asks the court to dismiss counts II, III, and IV for failing to exhaust administrative remedies. Dkt. 10. In his response, Cruz objects to TSC's summary judgment evidence and argues that summary judgment is not proper in this case. Dkt. 12-1.

         II. Legal Standard

         A court shall grant summary judgment when a “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] fact is genuinely in dispute only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Fordoche, Inc. v. Texaco, Inc., 463 F.3d 388, 392 (5th Cir. 2006). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986). If the moving party meets its burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Envtl. Conservation Org. v. City of Dallas, 529 F.3d 519, 524 (5th Cir. 2008).

         III. Analysis

         TSC argues that the court should grant summary judgment and dismiss counts II, III, and IV because Cruz did not exhaust administrative remedies for those causes of action. Dkt. 10. In response, Cruz objects to TSC's evidence and argues that summary judgment should not be granted. Dkt. 12-1. The court will address each argument in turn. Because counts II and IV are substantially identical, the court will address those counts together.

         A. Objection to Summary Judgment Evidence

         Cruz objects to the “statements contained in pages 1-2 of Defendant's exhibit or appendix.” Dkt. 12-1 at 2. Specifically, Cruz alleges that the statements “are not properly verified and are hearsay.” Id. It is unclear which “exhibit or appendix” Cruz is referring to. It is also unclear the precise grounds for his objection. Regardless, the court need only consider Cruz's own statement in the EEOC charge of discrimination for the purposes of this motion. Cruz's statements are statements of an opposing party and not hearsay. Fed.R.Evid. 801(d)(2). To the extent Cruz objects to his own statements in the EEOC charge, his objection is OVERRULED. To the extent Cruz objects to any other piece of evidence, his objection is OVERRULED AS MOOT.

         B. Counts II and IV

         TSC argues that the court should grant summary judgment as to counts II and IV because Cruz did not exhaust administrative remedies regarding these claims. Dkt. 10 at 5. In his ...


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