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Summary Judgment Orders From June

Posted by B&F Contributor | Jul 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Butts v. Centimark Corp.; District Judge Cohen and Magistrate Judge Salinas; race discrimination and retaliation; Summary Judgment: Granted.

Alexander v. Georgia State University; District Judge Ross and Magistrate Judge Cannon; race, sex and age discrimination; Summary Judgment: Granted.

Moore v. Cobb County School District; District Judge Brown and Magistrate Judge Johnson; FMLA interference and retaliation, Disability discrimination and retaliation; Summary Judgment: Granted in part, denied in part.

Clark v. Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, LLC et al.; District Judge Brown and Magistrate Judge Cannon; Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, Retaliation, Battery, Negligent Retention; Summary Judgment: Granted in part, denied in part.

Michael Dobbs v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.; District Judge Cohen and Magistrate Judge Walker; age discrimination and retaliation; Summary Judgment: Recommended.

Gray v. Atlanta Structural Concrete Co.; District Judge Batten, Sr. and Magistrate Judge Vineyard; Sex Discrimination – Disparate Pay and retaliation; Summary Judgment: Granted.

Hendricks v. Henry County, Georgia; District Judge Batten, Sr. and Magistrate Judge Vineyard; disability discrimination; Summary Judgment: Recommended.

Naomi Pittman v. JCG Foods of Georgia LLC, d/b/a Koch Foods of Pine Mountain Valley; District Judge Batten, Sr. and Magistrate Judge Vineyard; Gender Discrimination; Summary Judgment: Granted.

Robinson v. FCA US LLC; District Judge Pannell, Jr. and Magistrate Judge Johnson; Retaliation; Summary Judgment: Granted.

Yarbrough v. YKK U.S.A., Inc; District Judge Totenberg and Magistrate Judge Vineyard; Race discrimination and retaliation; Summary Judgment: Granted in part, denied in part.

Olliff v. Emory Univ.; District Judge Totenberg and Magistrate Judge Fuller; Disability discrimination and ADA Retaliation; Summary Judgment: Recommend Denial.

Case Name: Butts v. Centimark Corp.

Nature of the Order: Magistrate's Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Catherine M. Salinas

District Judge: Mark H. Cohen

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Title VII Race/Color Discrimination

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

2. Claim: Retaliation (Title VII)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: African-American

Gender of Plaintiff: N/A

Summary:

Defendant CentiMark Corporation selected Plaintiff Keian Butts, Sr. to train for a Service Salesman position. Unfortunately, he did not pass part of the training. When CentiMark gave him an opportunity to try again, Butts did not complete the training. CentiMark then demoted him back to his old position. Butts (African-American) filed an EEOC Charge alleging race discrimination and retaliation. Three days after Butts filed the Charge, his car broke down and he could not get to work. He never showed up for work again, and CentiMark terminated him a few weeks later for job abandonment. Butts filed suit, alleging race discrimination and retaliation in his demotion and termination.

CentiMark moved for summary judgment. Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas found that Plaintiff failed to provide a separate statement of facts and, more importantly, to provide any evidence for his responses to Defendants statements of fact. Therefore, Plaintiff's facts were not considered and Defendant's facts were deemed admitted. Judge Salinas then found Butts had not proven race discrimination with respect to his promotion because the fellow trainee (who was white) whom he claimed was treated better was no sufficiently similar to him. Among other things, the other trainee passed the training. Butt's race discrimination claim for the termination failed because he did not identify any comparator at all. Judge Salinas also found that Butts's discrimination and retaliation claims both failed because he provided zero evidence to rebut CentiMark's justifications for the demotion (failure to complete training) and the termination (job abandonment). Judge Salinas, therefore, recommended granting summary judgment on all claims in favor of Defendant.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name:Butts v. Centimark Corp.

Nature of the Order:Order Adopting the Magistrate Judge's R&R Granting Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

Magistrate Judge: Catherine M. Salinas

District Judge: Mark H. Cohen

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Title VII Race/Color Discrimination

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

2. Claim: Retaliation (Title VII)

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: Yes

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff:

Gender of Plaintiff: Male

Summary:

Magistrate Judge Catherine M. Salinas granted CentiMark's motion to strike Plaintiff Keian Butt's untimely materials filed in response to its motion for summary judgment, in part because he did not ask for permission from the Court to file out of time and because Butts gave the Court no reason for missing the deadline. Therefore, Butts' objections were overruled.

Next, Butts objected to Judge Salinas's conclusion that he failed to satisfy the fourth prong of the McDonnell-Douglas burden-shifting framework: that CentiMark treated similarly situated employees outside his class more favorably than it treated Butts. Judge Cohen overruled his objection because the person Butts identified as a comparator was a white man with 14 years of experience as opposed to Butts's two years of experience. Butts also struggled with training and was disciplined for failing to complete assignments.

Finally, Butts contended that CentiMark failed to articulate a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for its actions. Judge Cohen agreed with Judge Salinas, that even if Butts had made out a prima facie case, CentiMark met its burden by offering the reasoning that Butts was demoted because he declined an opportunity to redo a portion of training, that he did not complete assigned tasks, and that Butts was terminated for failing to come to work. Butts didn't challenge Judge Salinas's reasoning.

Thus, the Court adopted the Magistrate Judges R&R.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Alexander v. Georgia State University

Nature of the Order: Magistrate Judge's Final Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Regina D. Cannon

District Judge: Eleanor L. Ross

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Race Discrimination under Title VII

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommended

2. Claim: Sex Discrimination under the EPA

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommended

3. Claim: Age Discrimination under the ADEA

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommended

Whether R&R Followed:

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: African American

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Ms. Alexander filed suit against her former employer, Georgia State University, alleging claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, insisting that GSU unlawfully failed to provide written evaluations, failed to promote her, failed to award merit increases commensurate with other white male GSU employees, subjected her to harassment, and terminated her employment. GSU moved for summary judgment as to all claims. Ms. Alexander was unsuccessful in defending her Equal Pay Act, wage discrimination, and racial discrimination claims against Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment because she was unable to show she performed substantially similar work for less pay, the incidents she complained about were isolated, and she was neither the only person who did not receive performance evaluations, nor were merit increases dependent on the performance evaluations.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Alexander v. Georgia State University

Nature of the Order: Order Adopting the R&R

Magistrate Judge: Regina D. Cannon

District Judge: Eleanor L. Ross

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Race Discrimination under Title VII

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

2. Claim: Sex Discrimination under the EPA

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

3. Claim: Age Discrimination under the ADEA

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: Yes

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: African American

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Ms. Alexander filed suit against her former employer, Georgia State University, alleging claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, insisting that GSU unlawfully failed to provide written evaluations, failed to promote her, failed to award merit increases commensurate with other white male GSU employees, subjected her to harassment, and terminated her employment. GSU moved for summary judgment as to all claims. Ms. Alexander was unsuccessful in defending her Equal Pay Act, wage discrimination, and racial discrimination claims against Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment because she was unable to show she performed substantially similar work for less pay, the incidents she complained about were isolated, and she was neither the only person who did not receive performance evaluations, nor were merit increases dependent on the performance evaluations.

Thus, the Magistrate Judge recommended GSU was granted summary judgment on all of Ms. Alexander's non-abandoned claims. District Court Judge Ross agreed and adopted Magistrate Judge Regina D. Cannon's R&R.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Moore v. Cobb County School District

Nature of the Order: Magistrate Judge's Final Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Walter E. Johnson

District Judge: Michael L. Brown

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: FMLA Interference

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Denied

2. Claim: FMLA Retaliation

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Denied

3. Claim: Disability Discrimination under ADA and Rehabilitation Act

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Denied

4. Claim: Disability Retaliation under ADA and Rehabilitation Act

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Denied

5. Claim: Retaliation for engaging in protected activity under Title VII

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Granted

6. Claim: Retaliation for complaining about discrimination under Title VI

  • Outcome: Recommended Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed:

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: African American

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

The Cobb County School District chose not to renew the contract of Ms. Moore, and African-American teacher with anxiety, ADHD, and a panic disorder, following poor evaluations and multiple absences due to her medical issues. She was able to successfully defend her FMLA and disability claims against Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment by showing the court that her supervisor, Ms. Young, made comments about her absences at the same time that she requested FMLA leave and within performance evaluations, the temporal proximity between her taking FMLA leave and being denied contract renewal a month later was significant, and her Professionalism (related to absences) scores were consistently low. She was unable to defend her racial discrimination claims because the Court found the timing of comments and complaints to be insignificant when the adverse employment action occurred 5 months later, and the incidents complained about were isolated to only a few times or the instigators were punished by Defendant.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Clark v. Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, LLC et al.

Nature of the Order: Magistrate's Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Regina D. Cannon

District Judge: Michael L. Brown

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment (Title VII)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Denied

2. Claim: Retaliation (Title VII)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

3. Claim: Battery (GA State Law)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

4. Claim: Negligent Retention (GA State Law)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Plaintiff Dawn M. Clark initially ignored the sexual advances of Defendant Rob Wheeley. But, when he was promoted to CEO of her employer, Defendant Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists (“AWRS”), Clark feared for her job and gave in to his sexual advances. Still, she grew increasingly uncomfortable with the year-long affair, such that she tried to avoid Wheeley. She told her supervisor (Nye) about the affair and asked that supervisor's help in avoiding Wheeley. When a second supervisor (Coad) tried to terminate Clark for insubordination, Wheeley intervened and saved her job. Later, however, AWRS terminated Nye and Nye's attorney sent the company a demand letter disclosing the Clark/Wheeley affair. Shortly thereafter, AWRS terminated Clark for alleged insubordination. Clark filed suit, alleging quid pro quo sexual harassment in violation of Title VII, retaliation in violation of Title VII, and state law claims of battery (against Wheeley) and negligent retention/supervision (against AWRS)

AWRS and Wheeley moved for summary judgment. As to the quid pro quo sexual harassment claim, Magistrate Regina D. Cannon recommended denying summary judgment. Judge Cannon found that there was evidence that Wheeley's sexual advances were unwelcome as Clark tried to avoid him and only submitted because she feared losing her job. Judge Cannon also found that there was evidence that Wheeley was involved in the termination and caused it because others had knowledge of his advances toward her. However, Judge Cannon recommended granting summary judgment as to the remaining claims. As to the retaliation claim, Judge Cannon found Clark had not engaged in protected activity by taking any steps to complain of unlawful harassment or discrimination. As to the battery claim against Wheeley, Judge Cannon found the evidence showed that, when Wheeley touched Clark, it was not “offensive” (i.e. didn't make her fearful) and it was consensual. (Judge Cannon explained that whether the sexual intercourse was “consensual” for the battery claim is a separate issue from whether the overarching sexual advances were “welcome” for the sexual harassment claim.) Finally, Judge Cannon found the negligent retention claim failed because there was no underlying state law tort claim that the alleged negligence allowed to occur. Judge Cannon, therefore, recommended denying summary judgment on Plaintiff's quid pro quo sexual harassment claim and granting summary judgment on all the other claims.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Michael Dobbs v. Martin Marietta Materials, Inc.

Nature of the Order: Magistrate Judge's Final Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Linda T. Walker

District Judge: Mark H. Cohen

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Age Discrimination Under the ADEA

  • Outcome: Defendant's Motion Should Be GRANTED

2. Claim: Retaliation Under the ADEA

  • Outcome: Defendant's Motion Should Be GRANTED

Whether R&R Followed: N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: N/A

Summary:

In June 2017, Defendant Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (“Martin Marietta”) announced its intent to acquire another company. In order to avoid coming in conflict with antitrust laws, Martin Marietta proposed divestiture of its Forsyth Quarry, On February 12, 2018, Dobbs was informed that Martin Marietta would be divesting its quarry and that the employees would be changing employers. Dobbs was also told that if he tried to apply for employment at Martin Marietta, he would not be rehired. Dobbs testified that he believed that Martin Marietta was demoting him and terminating him based on his age by February 12, 2018, and he felt the same on April 10, 2018, when he was again notified that his employment with Martin Marietta was ending, and he would not be eligible for rehire. Dobbs filed an EEOC charge on October 22, 2018.

Martin Marietta argued that Dobbs failed to file an EEOC Charge within 180 days of when he knew or reasonably should have known that he was being discriminated against – February 12, 2018, or April 10, 2018, at the latest. 180 days from April 10, 2018, was October 8, 2018. Judge walker agreed, finding that that, based on Dobbs' testimony, he had sufficient facts to support his contention that he was subjected to age discrimination as early as February 12, 2018, and no later than April 10, 2018. Accordingly, Judge Walker recommended that Martin Marietta's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted.

Judge Walker also noted that Dobbs' retaliation claim failed for another reason – it was temporally impossible. Dobbs alleged that the first time he engaged in protected activity was August 23, 2018. However, Dobbs was notified of the adverse actions on February 12, 2018, and April 10, 2018. Accordingly, it was not possible for the protected conduct to be causally connected to the protected activity because the retaliatory conduct must come after the protected activity.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Gray v. Atlanta Structural Concrete Co.

Nature of the Order: Order Adopting the Report & Recommendation and Granting Summary Judgment

Magistrate Judge: Russell G. Vineyard

District Judge: Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Retaliation (Title VII)

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

2. Claim: Title VII Sex Discrimination – Disparate Pay

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: Yes

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Plaintiff Shana Krishel Gray complained of sexual harassment and then took a few weeks' leave. Defendant Atlanta Structural Concrete Company (“ASCC”) fired the alleged harasser. Upon Gray's return to work, she was assigned to use a forklift to move Styrofoam from a shed in advance of a visit to the worksite by industry representatives. Gray claimed that this assignment was retaliatory, because she lacked the training to complete the task during the workday and ASCC knew she was afraid to work alone overnight because her harasser might return. Gray also alleged that she was paid less than her male counterparts. Gray later filed suit, alleging pay discrimination and retaliatory assignment of duties.

ASCC moved for summary judgment on all claims. As to the retaliation claim, Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard found that Gray had not suffered from a materially adverse action. Assignment of tasks within one's job duties and even inadequate training are, he found, ordinary tribulations of work and not sufficient to dissuade a reasonable employee from opposing discrimination. Also, Judge Vineyard noted, the allegedly inadequate training occurred before Gray's complaint of sexual harassment. Finally, Gray did not try to rebut ASCC's justification for the assignment – the need to clean up before industry representatives visited. Judge Vineyard also found that Gray's pay discrimination claim was untimely, because she did not file an EEOC Charge within 180 days of the final allegedly-discriminatory paycheck. Gray also failed to identify a similarly situated male comparator who was paid better. All the comparators she identified were, unlike her, supervisors with much more experience. Finally, Gray did not rebut ASCC's justifications that she was paid and received raises according to the same standards as male laborers. Judge Vineyard therefore recommended summary judgment be granted as to all claims. Because nobody objected to Judge Vineyard's recommendations, District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. adopted them as the opinion of the Court.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Hendricks v. Henry County, Georgia

Nature of the Order: Magistrate Judge's Final Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Russell G. Vineyard

District Judge: Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Disability Discrimination under ADA

  • Outcome: Defendant's Summary Judgment Recommended

2. Claim: Disability Discrimination under Rehabilitation Act

  • Outcome: Defendant's Summary Judgment Recommended

Whether R&R Followed:N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: N/A

Summary:

Plaintiff Herbert Hendricks (“Hendricks”) was hired as an Equipment Operator II for Henry County's Department of Transportation on August 27, 2018. The job description to which he had responded listed various types of equipment that the applicant would be required to know how to operate. Hendricks informed the interviewer that he had limited experience with equipment but was hired anyway. Two weeks later, upon informing his employer of his vision problems, including glaucoma, Henry County terminated his employment. Hendricks filed a claim of disability discrimination under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. The Court found that Hendricks failed to establish a prima facie case because he could not show he was a qualified individual. His argument had been that he was qualified because Henry County hired him knowing he didn't meet the requirements included in the job description and he had not been asked to use other equipment. The Court decided that was mere speculation and speculation is not enough to establish a genuine dispute of material fact. Because Hendricks failed to identify an accommodation that would enable him to perform the essential functions of the job, including operating equipment with which he was unfamiliar, Hendricks failed to meet his burden of establishing a reasonable accommodation, and the recommendation was that the motion for summary judgment be granted.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Naomi Pittman v. JCG Foods of Georgia LLC, d/b/a Koch Foods of Pine Mountain Valley

Nature of the Order: Order Adopting the Report & Recommendation and Granting Summary Judgment

Magistrate Judge: Russel G. Vineyard

District Judge: Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Title VII – Gender Discrimination

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: Yes

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Plaintiff Naomi Pittman began working for Defendant Koch Foods on November 28, 2016, as a production worker. Koch Foods is organized by a Union, with which it would enter into a Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”) every few years. Under this CBA, Human Resources posted job bids for jobs classified in the bargaining unit higher than “production worker.” Ms. Pittman signed a bid sheet on July 30, 2018, for a position as a Maintenance Supervisor. A man was selected for this job instead. On September 5, 2018, Ms. Pittman filed a union grievance regarding the Maintenance Department bid process. On September 24, 2018, Ms. Pittman received a Corrective Action Report with a serious counseling statement for failing to put several items in the Parts Room. Believing this report was in retaliation for her union grievance, she filed another formal union grievance and made a report of discrimination.

Ms. Pittman signed the bid sheet for another position in the Maintenance Department on October 2, 2018. The person in charge of this bid, Marlon Spires, went out on leave before being able to conduct interviews, so the position was reposted on November 9, 2018. Ms. Pittman signed the bid sheet for the reposted position. On November 13, 2018, a co-worker filed a union grievance on Ms. Pittman's behalf based on the fact that Ms. Pittman had been denied several maintenance positions. That same day, Ms. Pittman was selected for the position she applied to on November 9, 2018. Ms. Pittman repeatedly requested a Personnel Action Form (“PAF”) for this new position from Human Resources, but one was never given to her. She resigned on November 29, 2018. She later filed suit, alleging sex discrimination.

At summary judgment, Magistrate Judge Russell G. Vineyard skipped to the pretext analysis. He first considered the July 30, 2018, Maintenance Technician bid. Ms. Pittman argued that she was more qualified, but Judge Vineyard explained that the pretext inquiry centers on the employer's beliefs, and an employee cannot prove pretext by simply arguing that she was better qualified than the individual who received the position. There was therefore insufficient evidence to prove pretext. Turning to the October 2, 2018, bid, Judge Vineyard found that Ms. Pittman could not refute Koch Foods' explanation that it failed to timely fill the position because Spires went out on leave. Lastly, Ms. Pittman failed to prove that the delay in obtaining a PAF following her selection for the November 9, 2018 bid was pretextual. Ms. Pittman did not rebut Koch Foods' legitimate, nondiscriminatory explanations that the delay was because the Parts Room – where Ms. Pittman's was working at the time – was understaffed and needed her to work until it found a replacement. Further, Ms. Pittman resigned before the 30-day period expired. Judge Vineyard therefore recommended summary judgment be granted as to Ms. Pittman's sex discrimination claim. Because nobody objected to Judge Vineyard's recommendation, District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr. adopted it as the opinion of the Court.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Robinson v. FCA US LLC

Nature of the Order: Magistrate's Report & Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: Walter E. Johnson

District Judge: Charles A. Pannell, Jr.

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Retaliation (ADA)

  • Outcome: Recommend Summary Judgment Granted

Whether R&R Followed: N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: N/A

Summary:

Plaintiff Nafeesah Robinson was injured on the job and worked restricted duty. After a dispute about whether a certain assignment violated her work restrictions, Robinson's supervisor at Defendant FCA US LLC disciplined her for being loud and disruptive during the dispute. Robinson sent two emails protesting the discipline, but one was sent to a misspelled email address and the other went to union members, not management. Months later, Robinson complained about a work assignment she believed was unsafe and was reassigned to a different assignment. Later that day, her supervisor found her away from her workstation and ordered her back. She did not immediately go back. Robinson claims she was just going to the bathroom, which was allowed under company rules, but the supervisor said her actions indicated she was not going to the bathroom. FCA terminated Robinson later that day, purportedly for abandoning her workstation and defying her supervisor's orders. Robinson filed suit, alleging retaliation in violation of the ADA.

FCA moved for summary judgment. Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson found that the evidence didn't support a prima facie case that any of Robinson's protected activities caused her demotion or termination. First, her request for accommodation (work restrictions) was over 6 months before her demotion and nearly a year before her termination. Second, neither of her emailed complaints were received by management, so they could not have caused her termination. Third, her complaint on the day she was terminated was a workplace safety complaint, not a complaint about disability discrimination or some other activity protected by the ADA. Finally, Judge Johnson found that Robinson could not rebut that her supervisor had a good faith, honest – if possibly mistaken – belief that she was disruptive (for the demotion) and abandoned her workstation (for the termination). Judge Johnson, therefore, recommended granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the ADA retaliation claim.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Yarbrough v. YKK U.S.A., Inc

Nature of the Order: Order Adopting as Amended the Magistrate Judge's R&R, and Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

Magistrate Judge: Russell G. Vineyard

District Judge: Amy Totenberg

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Race Discrimination – Title VII

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommended

2. Claim: Race Discrimination – 42 U.S.C. § 1981

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommended

3. Claim: Retaliation – Title VII

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Denied

4. Claim: Retaliation – 42 U.S.C. § 1981

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Denied

Whether R&R Followed: Yes

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: White

Gender of Plaintiff: Female

Summary:

Plaintiff Heather Yarbrough brought her discrimination action against her employer YKK U.S.A., Inc. (“YKK”), claim claiming race discrimination (hostile work environment) and retaliation under both Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment. Magistrate Judge Vineyard's Final Report and Recommendation, YKK's Objections, and Yarbrough's Response were before Judge Totenberg.

YKK objected to his findings that (1) there was direct evidence; (2) Yarbrough established a causal connection between her protected activity and her termination, as a part of her prima facie case; and (3) Yarbrough presented evidence that YKK's reason for terminating Yarbrough was pretextual, thereby establishing a jury question as to Yarbrough's retaliation claims.

However, the HR manager's statements that Yarbrough “should have kept [her] mouth shut,” her comments that YKK did not need any “racial tension on the floor,” and the fact that the HR manager reviewed Yarbrough's first complaint coupled with the lack of evidence that Plaintiff was on a final warning (a basis of the HR manager's termination decision), served as Judge Totenberg's reasoning to deny summary judgment on Yarbrough's retaliation claims.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

Case Name: Olliff v. Emory Univ.

Nature of the Order: Final Report and Recommendation

Magistrate Judge: J. Clay Fuller

District Judge: Amy Totenberg

Claims & Outcomes:

1. Claim: Disability Discrimination – Failure to Make Reasonable Accommodation

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommendation - Grant

2. Claim: ADA Retaliation

  • Outcome: Summary Judgment Recommendation - Grant

Whether R&R Followed: N/A

For Race/Gender Discrimination Cases:

Race of Plaintiff: N/A

Gender of Plaintiff: N/A

Summary:

Plaintiff Brian Olliff brought claims against his former employer and Defendant Emory University. Olliff informed his then employer that he had anxiety, depression, and ADHD. After struggling to understand tasks assigned to him, instructions, and failing to meet expectations, his supervisor expressed her concerns. He then asked the employer for accommodations for his ADHD. Emory provided him with various accommodations, including a reduced workload (which they contend provided him with more time to handle his assigned workload), and the ability to close his door to cut down on distractions.

First, Olliff erred in not addressing many of Defendants motion for summary judgment arguments. Those claims, the Court decided, were to be considered abandoned. The court found the remaining claims to be equally uncompelling.

Emory argued it provided Olliff every reasonable accommodation he had requested. The Court agreed with Emory, stating that Emory had no obligation to change the essential functions of the job to accommodate Olliff, who continued to miss deadlines (causing more work and productivity issues for coworkers), failed to follow instructions, and continued to make mistakes, despite all the various forms of accommodation that had been provided to him. Thus, the Court granted Emory's motion for summary judgment.

To read the full analysis, click here.

For a copy of the complete order, click here.

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