United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
HARRIS L. WILLIAMS
STATE OF LOUISIANA, ET AL.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE, HORNSBY
MAURICE HICKS, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Record Document
28) filed by Defendants. Defendants seek the dismissal of
Plaintiff Harris L. Williams' (“Williams”)
racial discrimination claims in their entirety with
prejudice. Williams opposes the motion. See Record
Document 34. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
before the Court are two additional motions which relate to
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment: (1) a Motion to
Strike (Record Document 43) filed by Defendants; and (2) a
Motion to Propound Requests for Admissions FRCP 56(e)(1)
(Record Document 47) filed by Williams. For the reasons set
forth below, both the Motion to Strike and the Motion to
Propound Requests for Admissions are DENIED AS MOOT.
is currently employed as a welding instructor at the
Northwest Louisiana Technical College in Shreveport,
Louisiana (“the Shreveport campus”). See
Record Document 64 at 2. In April 2004, he was hired as an
“adjunct professor” to teach welding at the
Shreveport campus. See Record Document 28-3 at
¶ 11; Record Document 34-1 at ¶ 11. At that time,
he had no technical certifications and his welding
qualifications were on the job training. See id.
Williams became a nine month contract instructor in welding
at the Shreveport campus in 2005. See Record
Document 64 at 3. He became a twelve month contract
instructor effective August 11, 2014, again at the Shreveport
campus. See id. The last nine month contract under
which Williams worked began on August 19, 2013 and expired in
May 2014. See Record Document 28, Exhibit G; Record
Document 28-3 at ¶ 2; Record Document 34-1 at ¶ 2.
Williams has performed his duties as a welding instructor
continuously from his date of hire in April 2004 to present
at the Shreveport Campus. See Record Document 64 at
3; Record Document 34-2. In his deposition, Williams stated
that his job is a lot better now. See Record
Document 28, Exhibit F at 118-120.
alleges that his inability to enter into a twelve month
contract between 2008, the date he asserts he requested a
twelve month contract, and August 2014 was due to his race.
Defendants submit the reason was budgetary, as there have
been regular hiring freezes and budget cuts to higher
education since 2008. See Record Document 28-3 at
¶ 4. Williams denies this contention “because
there was no definitive end to the policy and it was often
ignored.” Record Document 34-1 at ¶ 4. The parties
do agree that nine month faculty members are less of a tax on
the budget than twelve month faculty members. See
Record Document 64 at 4. Likewise, the parties agree that
both nine month instructors and twelve month instructors are
full-time employees. See id. at 4.
point in 2014, Williams learned of an opening for a twelve
month welding instructor contract position at the Mansfield
campus. See Record Document 28, Exhibit I at 42-44.
Williams admits that Angie Rymer (“Rymer”), the
former dean of the Shreveport Campus and Williams' direct
supervisor, communicated information regarding this position
to him and seemed to suggest that he should apply. See
id. at 42-44, 106-107. Williams failed to apply for the
Mansfield position because “[he] didn't want to go
down there.” Id. In his deposition, Williams
admitted that there was never a twelve month welding position
open at the Shreveport campus and that there were no twelve
month welding instructors while he was employed at the
Shreveport campus. See Record Document 28-3 at
¶ 18; 34-1 at ¶ 18; Record Document 28, Exhibit I
alleges that Defendants failed to award him a twelve month
contract because of his race. See Record Documents 3
& 64. He filed an EEOC charge of discrimination on
November 4, 2013. See Record Document 3 at ¶
3A. On September 10, 2015, he filed the instant lawsuit under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, 42 U.S.C. §1981 and Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et
seq. See Record Documents 1 & 3. The remaining
Defendants are the State of Louisiana (“the
State”) through its Louisiana Community and Technical
College System (“LCTCS”) and Board of Regents;
Charles Strong (“Strong”), the former Regional
Director of the Louisiana Northwest Technical College; Rymer,
the former dean of the Shreveport Campus of the Louisiana
Northwest Technical College and Williams' direct
supervisor; and Amber Saunders (“Saunders”), the
current Chief Human Resources Officer for the Louisiana
Northwest Technical College. See Record Document 64.
Strong, Rymer, and Saunders are sued in their individual
capacities. See id.
Motion to Strike and Motion to Propound Requests for
Motion to Strike relates to exhibits attached to
Williams' opposition to Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment, specifically Record Documents 34-2, 34-4,
34-9, and 34-3, and portions of exhibits attached to
Williams' supplemental opposition, specifically Record
Documents 38-2, 38-3, and 38-4. For the most part, Defendants
object to these exhibits on the grounds of authenticity and
filed a Motion to Propound Requests for Admissions in
response to the Motion to Strike. The exhibits at issue in
this motion are personnel records that Williams alleges
evidence higher pay for lesser qualified white employees.
Pursuant to Rule 56(e)(1), Williams seeks leave of court to
propound Requests for Admissions to overcome Defendants'
objection to such personnel records based on lack of
Court has reviewed these motions and the challenged exhibits
in their entirety. For the limited purpose of the instant
Memorandum Ruling, this Court will assume the authenticity of
the challenged documents. If necessary after the conclusion
of dispositive motion practice, any remaining authenticity
and hearsay challenges will be addressed by the Court prior
to trial. Thus, at this stage, both the Motion to Strike and
the Motion to Propound Requests for Admissions are DENIED AS
Summary Judgment Standard.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary
judgment. This rule provides that 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.” F.R.C.P.
56(a). Also, “a party asserting that a fact cannot be
or is genuinely disputed must support the motion by citing to
particular parts of materials in the record.” F.R.C.P.
56(c)(1)(A). “If a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the
court may . . . grant summary judgment.” F.R.C.P.
summary judgment motion, “a party seeking summary
judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing
the district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those portions of the pleadings . . . [and]
affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal
quotations and citations omitted). If the movant meets this
initial burden, then the non-movant has the burden of going
beyond the pleadings and designating specific facts that
prove that a genuine issue of material fact exists. See
Id. at 325; see Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37
F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). A non-movant, however,
cannot meet the burden of proving that a genuine issue of
material fact exists by providing only “some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, by conclusory
allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a
scintilla of evidence.” Little, 37 F.3d at
1075. Additionally, in deciding a summary judgment motion,
courts “resolve factual controversies in favor of the
nonmoving party, but only when there is an actual
controversy, that is when both parties have submitted
evidence of contradictory facts.” Id. Courts
“do not, however, in the absence of any proof, assume
that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary
Claims Against the State, the LCTCS, and the Board of
proposed pretrial order, the parties identify as a defendant
the “State of Louisiana through its LCTCS and Board of
Regents.” Record Document 64 at 2. With this statement,
Williams appears to concede that any claims asserted against
the LCTCS and the Board of Regents are in actuality claims
against the State. Williams also concedes that “the
State of Louisiana and its arms [are] entitled Eleventh
Amendment immunity” for claims arising under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981 and 1983. Record Document 34 at 13.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 17(b), Defendants further
argue that LCTCS and NWLTC are not juridical entities capable
of being sued. In Hall v. Board of Supervisors
of Community and Technical Colleges, et al., No. 15-67,
2015 WL 2383744 (E.D. La.), the court addressed whether the
LCTCS and Delgado Community College were juridical entities
with procedural capacity to be sued. The court ultimately
dismissed the claims against LCTCS and Delgado Community
Movant's first ground for dismissal is that Defendants
Delgado and the LCTCS are not juridical entities with the