United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
KARL B. MOLDEN
EAST BATON ROUGE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 34), seeking a ruling from this Court dismissing all
claims advanced by the Plaintiff. (Doc. 34 at p. 1).
Plaintiff filed a response that asserts that summary judgment
should not be granted, and raises objections against
Defendant's evidence. (Doc. 40). For reasons explained
fully herein, the Motion is GRANTED.
became a school counselor for the East Baton Rouge Parish
School Board ("EBRPSB") on September 11, 2006.
(Doc. 40-3 at p. 1). Plaintiff initially served several
schools, but in 2010 he was assigned to Winbourne Elementary
School ("Winbourne"). (Id.) When Plaintiff
was assigned to Winbourne, he was informed that he would have
to participate in "duty assignments" which
consisted of before and after school duty, lunch duty, and
aiding students during a "reading
block." (Id. at p. 2; Doc. 45-2 at p. 1).
Plaintiff indicated that he was uninterested in performing
before school duty, lunch duty, and after school duty,
because it would interfere with his ability to be a social
worker by placing him in a position of authority. (Doc. 40-3
at p. 2). Pivotal to this Motion, these are tasks that
Plaintiff alleges require prolonged periods of standing.
(See Doc. 40-3 at ¶¶18, 20).
November of 2010, Millie Williams, the Director of Human
Resources for Defendant, alleges that Plaintiff began to
incur frequent absences, which Plaintiff denies. (Doc. 45-2
at ¶ 5; Doc. 40-3 at ¶ 2). On December 2, 2010,
Plaintiff submitted his first doctor's note, indicating
that he needed to be excused from work for two days. (Doc.
45-2 at ¶ 6). A second note was submitted on December
10, in support of Plaintiffs requests to be excused for 3
days and that he not be required to engage in prolonged
standing. (Id. at ¶ 7). Then on December 22,
2010, Plaintiffs doctor released Plaintiff to return to work
with no restrictions. (Id.). Plaintiff immediately
went to a different doctor, and received a note indicating
that he was under observation and should not engage in
prolonged standing. (Id. at ¶ 8). None of the
notes indicated the nature of the disability, nor fully
explained its consequences. (See Doc. 40-7 at pp.
on January 27, 2011, the Plaintiff provided medical
documentation from his second doctor that indicated that
Plaintiff could not engage in prolonged standing due to
hypertension and acute sinusitis. (Doc. 45-2 at ¶ 13).
After submitting the paper work, Plaintiff applied for and
was granted an extended leave of absence on medical grounds
for the remainder of the school year. (Id. at ¶
to the next school year, Plaintiff was placed on the
"displaced workers list, " (Doc. 40-3 at
¶¶ 26-27), meaning that he would not be required to
return to Winbourne during that school year, and that the
district was required to find him another school to be
assigned to within the school district. (Doc. 45-2 at ¶
20). Plaintiff was subsequently reassigned to the Exceptional
Student Services Department. (Doc. 40-3 at ¶¶ 28,
34). During that school year, Plaintiff received a
satisfactory rating on his evaluations. (Id. at
¶ 30). Further, the record does not indicate that
Plaintiff was required to engage in prolonged standing during
the 2012-2013 school year, Plaintiff was a subject of a
complaint alleging that he was not properly providing
services to students. (Doc. 45-2 at ¶ 24). Additionally, a
parent filed a complaint alleging that Plaintiff
"engaged in unethical behavior" involving a parent
and a student, including potentially forging documents and
acting inappropriately during a home visit. (Id.;
See Doc. 37-1 at p. 1-2). On November 5, 2012, Plaintiff
was placed on leave with pay pending an investigation of the
allegations. (Doc. 45-2 at ¶ 25). Two investigations
were conducted by different departments-one by the Department
of exceptional Student Services and the other by the Office
of Risk Management. (Id. at ¶¶ 26-27).
Both investigations produced evidence that Plaintiff was not
properly providing services to students with disabilities.
The investigation also concluded that Plaintiff had engaged
in unethical conversations with a parent, that he failed to
follow department and district procedures, and that he had
submitted fraudulent documents. (Id.). According to
Defendant, these investigations ultimately led to Plaintiffs
termination on December 21, 2012. (Id. at ¶
disputes that he was involved in unethical activity or
violated any policy. (Doc. 40-3 at ¶¶ 38, 51-52;
Doc. 40-4 at p. 2). Plaintiff also disputes the factual
findings of the investigations, arguing that he was not
interviewed, and that the investigations were too one sided.
(Doc. 40-3 at ¶¶ 40-43).
also alleges that the Defendant's conduct, including the
termination, was attributable to Plaintiffs filing a charge
of discrimination with the EEOC on September 7, 2011, over
one year earlier. (Doc. 14-2 at p. 5). He argues that the
retaliation consisted of "unfair job assignments,
reassignments, and ultimately termination" in January of
2013. (Id.). Following his termination, Plaintiff
brought suit against Defendant, alleging that the actions of
Defendant constituted violations of the Americans with
Disabilities Act ('ADA") and the equivalent
Louisiana law provision.
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[W]hen a properly supported motion
for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250 (198G) (quotation marks and footnote
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997). At this
stage, the Court does not evaluate the credibility of
witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve factual disputes.
Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939
F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991), cert, denied, 502
U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the evidence in the record is
such that a reasonable jury, drawing all inferences in favor
of the non-moving party, could arrive at a verdict in that
party's favor, the motion for summary judgment must be
denied. Int'l Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263.
On the other hand, the non-movant's burden is not
satisfied merely upon a showing of "some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts, by conclusory allegations, by
unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of
evidence." Little u. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
summary judgment is appropriate if, "after adequate time
for discovery and upon motion, [the non-movant] fails to make
a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary
judgment will lie only "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact, and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Sherman v.
Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241 (5th Cir. 1972).
of his response to the Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff
raises several objections to the Williams affidavit and makes
blanket objections to nearly every other piece of evidence
submitted by Defendant. (Doc. 40-1 at pp. 1-6). As to
Williams, Plaintiff lists the same objection to nearly each
of the paragraphs from the affidavit-that the paragraph is
not supported by personal knowledge.
(Id.): In other words, it appears that Plaintiff
believes that Williams, the Director of Human Resources and
custodian of employment records for Defendant, lacks personal
knowledge of Plaintiffs employment for Defendant.
affidavit to be considered for summary judgment purposes, it
must be based on personal knowledge. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4).
Further, it is not enough to merely state that the affidavit
is based on personal knowledge, but it must be clear that it
is so based on the facts described in the affidavit. See
Bright v. Ashcroft, 259 F.Supp.2d 494, 498 (E.D. La.
2003)("A declarant must provide evidence to establish
that he has personal knowledge of the facts stated.").
Court overrules each of Plaintiffs objections to the Williams
affidavit. In her affidavit, Williams indicates that she is
the director of Human Resources for Defendant, which
demonstrates that she has personal knowledge of Plaintiffs
employment, personnel file, and employment action taken
during his time working for Defendant. (See Doc.
45-2 at ¶ 1). It is also clear from Williams'
affidavit, that she was an active participant in employment
decisions that affected Plaintiff. (See Id. at
¶¶ 29-30). Accordingly, Williams' sworn
statements on Plaintiffs employment for Defendant are
admissible, and therefore, Plaintiffs objections are
Plaintiff, in a single paragraph, objects to the next 27
Exhibits. (Doc. 40-1 at pp. 5-6). In that paragraph,
Plaintiff raises blanket objects that seem to be related to
several exhibits, but fails to state specifically which
exhibits the objection applies to. (Id.). This is an
improper method for raising objections to evidence. According
to the advisory committee notes to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56, objections on a motion for summary judgment
function the same as an objection made to the admissibility
of evidence at trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. It is well settled
that objections to evidence must be specific by indicating 1)
the exact evidence being objected to, and 2) the specific
reason for seeking to exclude that item of evidence.
See Fed. R. Evid. 103; United States v. Jimenez
Lopez, 873 F.2d 769, 773 (5th Car, 1989); Tenenbaum
v. United States, 11 F.2d 927, 929 (5th Cir.
1926). Because the Plaintiff does not offer
specific objections and reasons, the Court must overrule
Plaintiffs objection to exhibits 2 through 26.