United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Sherman Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. MAZZANT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court are Defendant Obiora M Ekwani, M.D.,
P.A.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #29) and
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Summary
Judgment Evidence (Dkt. #32). Having considered the motions
and the relevant pleadings, the Court finds that
Defendant's motion should be denied and Plaintiff's
motion should be denied as moot.
Robert Harrison is a licensed Radiological Technologist. At
some point between April 27, 2016 and May 4, 2016, Plaintiff
applied for a position with Defendant. Plaintiff submitted a
resume and completed an employment application packet.
Defendant interviewed Plaintiff for a job opening. After the
interview, Defendant conducted a background check and
reference checks. Defendant expressed interest in making
Plaintiff an offer.
to Defendant, during this post-interview screening, Defendant
discovered that Plaintiff lied about his current employment
status on multiple occasions. Based on that discovery,
Defendant determined that an employment offer was not
warranted. However, Plaintiff claims that he was not
dishonest about his current employment and that the reason
that Defendant did not extend an offer is due to the fact
that Defendant discovered Plaintiff filed a Title VII
complaint against his previous employer. Plaintiff states
that Ife Ekweani, the administrator of Defendants, even
called him and told him that was the reason he was not hired
for the position.
on this set of facts, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant
on August 29, 2017, asserting claims for unlawful retaliation
under Title VII and Section 21.055 of the Texas Labor Code
(Dkt. #1). On March 22, 2018, Defendant filed its motion for
summary judgment (Dkt. #29). On April 12, 2018, Plaintiff
filed a response to the motion for summary judgment (Dkt.
#33). Additionally, on April 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed its
motion to strike Defendant's summary judgment evidence
(Dkt. #32). On April 25, 2018, Defendant filed a response to
the motion to strike (Dkt. #34) and Plaintiff filed a reply
on May 2, 2018 (Dkt. #35).
purpose of summary judgment is to isolate and dispose of
factually unsupported claims or defenses. Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Summary
judgment is proper under Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure “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 about a material fact is genuine when
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Substantive law identifies which facts are material.
Id. The trial court “must resolve all
reasonable doubts in favor of the party opposing the motion
for summary judgment.” Casey Enters., Inc. v. Am.
Hardware Mut. Ins. Co., 655 F.2d 598, 602 (5th Cir.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
informing the court of its motion and identifying
“depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials”
that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material
fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); Celotex, 477 U.S. at
323. If the movant bears the burden of proof on a claim or
defense for which it is moving for summary judgment, it must
come forward with evidence that establishes “beyond
peradventure all of the essential elements of the
claim or defense.” Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780
F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th Cir. 1986). Where the nonmovant bears
the burden of proof, the movant may discharge the burden by
showing that there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmovant's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325;
Byers v. Dall. Morning News, Inc., 209 F.3d 419, 424
(5th Cir. 2000). Once the movant has carried its burden, the
nonmovant must “respond to the motion for summary
judgment by setting forth particular facts indicating there
is a genuine issue for trial.” Byers, 209 F.3d
at 424 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49). A
nonmovant must present affirmative evidence to defeat a
properly supported motion for summary judgment.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257. Mere denials of material
facts, unsworn allegations, or arguments and assertions in
briefs or legal memoranda will not suffice to carry this
burden. Rather, the Court requires “significant
probative evidence” from the nonmovant to dismiss a
request for summary judgment. In re Mun. Bond Reporting
Antitrust Litig., 672 F.2d 436, 440 (5th Cir. 1982)
(quoting Ferguson v. Nat'l Broad. Co., 584 F.2d
111, 114 (5th Cir. 1978)). The Court must consider all of the
evidence but “refrain from making any credibility
determinations or weighing the evidence.” Turner v.
Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir.
moved for summary judgment arguing that the Court should
dismiss Plaintiff's claims for unlawful retaliation
practice in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
and Section 21.055 of the Texas Labor Code. After a careful
review of the record and the arguments presented, the Court
is not convinced that Defendant has met its burden
demonstrating that there is no material issue of fact as to
Plaintiffs unlawful retaliation claims entitling it to
judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court finds
that the motion should be denied.
the Court denies the motion, the Court finds it unnecessary
to strike any of Defendant's summary judgment evidence.
As such, the Court finds that motion to strike should be
denied as moot.
therefore ORDERED Defendant Obiora M Ekwani,
M.D., P.A.'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. #29) is
hereby DENIED and Plaintiffs Motion to
Strike Defendant's Summary ...