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Pate v. Pontchartrain Partners, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

November 7, 2014

DAISY PATE,
v.
PONTCHARTRAIN PARTNERS, LLC

ORDER AND REASONS ON MOTION

JOSEPH C. WILKINSON, Jr., Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Daisy Pate, alleges that her former employer, Pontchartrain Partners, LLC ("Pontchartrain"), discriminated against her based on her sex by terminating her employment while she was pregnant, in violation of Title VII. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). Pate also brings state law claims of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrongful discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud, deceit and misrepresentation related to the termination of her employment. Complaint, Record Doc. No. 1. This matter was referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for all proceedings and entry of judgment in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) upon written consent of all parties. Record Doc. No. 8.

Pontchartrain filed a motion for summary judgment addressing all of plaintiff's claims, supported by affidavits, certified documents and excerpts from Pate's deposition. Record Doc. No. 25. Pate received leave to file an untimely memorandum in opposition, which is supported by her entire deposition transcript. Record Doc. Nos. 27, 28, 29. Defendant received leave to file a reply memorandum. Record Doc. Nos. 30, 21, 32.

Having considered the complaint, the record, the arguments of the parties and the applicable law, IT IS ORDERED that the motion is GRANTED IN PART as to plaintiff's state law claims AND DENIED IN PART as to plaintiff's pregnancy discrimination claim, for the following reasons.

ANALYSIS

A. Standards of Review

"A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment 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). Rule 56, as revised effective December 1, 2010, establishes new procedures for supporting factual positions:

(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
(2) Objection That a Fact Is Not Supported by Admissible Evidence. A party may object that the material cited to support or dispute a fact cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible in evidence.
(3) Materials Not Cited. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.
(4) Affidavits or Declarations. An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c).

Thus, the moving party bears the initial burden of identifying those materials in the record that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuinely disputed material fact, but it is not required to negate elements of the nonmoving party's case. Capitol Indem. Corp. v. United States, 452 F.3d 428, 430 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). "[A] party who does not have the trial burden of production may rely on a showing that a party who does have the trial burden cannot produce admissible evidence to carry its burden as to [a particular material] fact." Advisory Committee Notes, at 261.

A fact is "material" if its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome of the action under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). No genuine dispute of material fact exists if a rational trier of fact could not find for the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented. Nat'l Ass'n of Gov't Employees v. City Pub. Serv. Bd., 40 F.3d 698, 712 (5th Cir. 1994).

To withstand a properly supported motion, the nonmoving party who bears the burden of proof at trial must cite to particular evidence in the record to support the essential elements of its claim. Id . (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 321-23); accord U.S. ex rel. Patton v. Shaw Servs., L.L.C., 418 F.Appx. 366, 371 (5th Cir. 2011). "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case ...


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