United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Galveston Division
LJUBICA CAMPBELL Plaintiff.
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMEDATION
M. EDISON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
me is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 32),
which was filed on July 22, 2019. Plaintiff Ljubica
Campbell's ("Campbell") response was originally
due on August 12, 2019. In lieu of filing a response,
Campbell sought an extension. See Dkts. 34, 36, 37.
Over the objection of Defendant Texas Department of Criminal
Justice ("TDCJ"), I extended Campbell's
response deadline until August 22, 2019. See Dkt.
40. On August 22, Campbell sought another extension until
August 23, 2019. See Dkt. 41. In an attempt to be
incredibly accommodating, I granted Campbell one final
extension until August 24, 2019-a day longer than she even
requested. See Dkt. 43. The August 24 deadline has
come and gone, and Campbell still has not filed a response.
Accordingly, I treat Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment as unopposed; and, for the reasons articulated
below, I RECOMMEND that the motion be
is a former correctional officer who worked for TDCJ at its
Hospital Facility in Galveston, Texas, from 2006 until she
was terminated in 2016. As a correctional officer,
Campbell's job was to provide security for hospital staff
and escort inmates to medical appointments.
her tenure with TDCJ, Campbell filed numerous complaints with
the TDCJ Employee Relations Office about other TDCJ
employees. These complaints ranged from accusing certain
coworkers of creating a hostile work environment to accusing
other coworkers of pushing her in an elevator. However,
Campbell was not the only person filing complaints.
March 2013 and February 2016, numerous individuals complained
to TDCJ about Campbell's behavior, including multiple
nurses, a medical doctor, and even a chaplain. Pertinent
here, the TDCJ investigated the complaints, and several
resulted in disciplinary convictions against her.
January 2015, Campbell filed a charge with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC").She alleged discrimination and retaliation,
referencing the many incidents underlying her various
complaints to the TDCJ Employee Relations Office. Prior to
the EEOC completing its review, Campbell was involved in a
verbal altercation with a superior officer. After a thorough
investigation of the altercation, Campbell was found guilty
of instigating and participating in a verbal altercation with
her superior officer. Based on this determination, coupled
with her long disciplinary history, TDCJ terminated
Campbell's employment in July 2016. After her
termination, Campbell supplemented her EEOC charge to include
the facts surrounding her recent termination. Thereafter,
Campbell received a right to sue letter and filed suit.
lawsuit, Campbell seeks money damages and alleges the
following claims: violations of her constitutional rights to
substantive and procedural due process under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 ("Section 1983"); race (Caucasian), national
origin (Macedonian), and sex (female) discrimination under 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-2, et seq. ("Title
VII"); and retaliation under Title VII. TDCJ has moved
for summary judgment as to each claim.
judgment is appropriate when "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
genuine dispute of material fact does not exist unless
"the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Bur ell
v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 820 F.3d 132, 136 (5th
Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). "The moving party . . .
bears the initial responsibility of informing the district
court of the basis for its motion." Brandon v. Sage
Corp., 808 F.3d 266, 269-70 (5th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). If the burden of production at trial
"ultimately rests on the nonmovant, the movant must
merely demonstrate an absence of evidentiary support in the
record for the nonmovant's case." Lyles v.
Medtronic Sofamor Danek, USA, Inc., 871 F.3d 305, 310-11
(5th Cir. 2017). Once a party "meets the initial burden
of demonstrating that there exists no genuine issue of
material fact for trial, the burden shifts to the non-movant
to produce evidence of the existence of such an issue for
trial." Brandon, 808 F.3d at 270. The party
opposing summary judgment "must do more than simply show
that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts. [It] must go beyond the pleadings and come forward
with specific facts indicating a genuine issue for trial to
avoid summary judgment." Id. (citations and
quotation marks omitted). "In deciding whether a fact
issue exists, courts must view the facts and draw reasonable
inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party." Ray born v. Bossier Par. Sch. Bd, 881
F.3d 409, 414 (5th Cir. 2018) (quotation marks and citation
omitted). Importantly, "[a]lthough it is reversible
error for the Court to grant a summary judgment motion simply
because the nonmovant fails to respond [as is the case here],
the Court may decide the merits of the case based on the
Defendant's Motion and supporting evidence since
Plaintiff has proffered no controverting evidence."
Daniels v. BASF Corp., 270 F.Supp.2d 847, 852 (S.D.
Tex. 2003) (citations omitted).
Due Process Claims under Section 1983
argues that Eleventh Amendment immunity bars Campbell's
due process claims arising under Section 1983. I agree. As
this Court has explained, "the Eleventh Amendment bars a
suit for money damages against TDCJ, as a state agency, under
42 U.S.C. § 1983." Hampton v. Brindley,
No. 3:17-CV-299, 2018 WL 3609034, at *5 (S.D. Tex. July 27,
2018) (citing Talib v. Gilley, 138 F.3d 211, 213
(5th Cir. 1998)). Thus, Campbell's due process claims
must be dismissed.
Discrimination and Retaliation ...