United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division
LEON W. DAVIS
LOUISIANA BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA SYSTEMS o/b/o NORTHWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
DRELL, CHIEF JUDGE
the Court is the motion of defendant Louisiana Board of
Supervisors through Northwestern State University
("Northwestern"), for summary judgment. (Doc. 47).
Plaintiff filed a response to the motion (Doc. 54), and the
matter is ready for disposition. For the following reasons,
Northwestern's Motion for Summary Judgment will be
Background and Procedural History
suit was brought pursuant to federal question jurisdiction by
plaintiff Leon Davis against defendant Northwestern claiming
hiring discrimination based on race and age under 42 U.S.C.
§2000e-2(a)(1). (Doc. 1). Mr. Davis filed the instant
case on May 28, 2014. (Doc. 1, p. 1). Mr. Davis claims he
applied for a position at Northwestern's library in
November 2013 in response to an advertisement for a Library
Associate position. (Doc 1, p. 1, Doc. 47-5, p. 1). Mr. Davis
claims that a "less qualified and much younger white
male was interviewed and hired" in spite of Mr.
Davis' two years of experience in teaching and having a
Master of Arts degree from Northwestern. (Doc. 1, p. 1-2).
Mr. Davis further claims he was not interviewed or hired for
the Library Associate position because he is an older
African-American gentleman. (Doc. 1, p. 1).
we observe the following: Northwestern advertised an open
position for a Library Associate in the fall of 2013. (Doc.
47-2, p. 3). The position required three application
documents for each submission: (1) a letter of application,
(2) a resume, and (3) the names and contact information for
three references. (Doc. 47-5, p. 3). The position also listed
required qualifications including: "a) Masters in
History, Folklife, Public History or an ALA-accredited MLS
[Masters in Library Sciences] with concentration in archives
management, . .. d) experience with computerized academic
reference services . . ., and e) experience with current
academic reference service, online databases, and the
internet." (Doc. 47-5, p. 1-2). In response, Mr. Davis
submitted a resume which stated he had a Master of Arts and a
Doctorate in Arts and Humanities, but did not include a
letter of application nor three references as required in the
posting. (Doc. 47-7, p. 2, Doc. 54-1, p. 1). Mr. Davis was
not invited to interview for the position. (Doc. 47-2, p. 6).
Ultimately, Northwestern interviewed four candidates who had
each submitted the letter of application, resume, and the
contact information for three references. (Doc. 47-2, p. 10).
Of these four candidates, the one who was hired had a
Master's degree in Library Science, a Bachelor of Arts in
History and extensive experience working with various
computerized academic reference services. (Doc. 47-2, p. 10).
Dissatisfied, Mr. Davis filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on March
29, 2014, and received a Right to Sue letter on April 3,
2014. (Doc. 1-1, p. 1, 3).
October 15, 2015, Northwestern filed a partial motion to
dismiss, asserting lack of subject matter jurisdiction over
Mr. Davis' age discrimination claim. (Doc. 30). Mr. Davis
did not dispute this motion (Doc. 34) and Mr. Davis' age
discrimination claim was dismissed on March 9, 2016. (Doc.
37). The instant motion for summary judgment by Northwestern
asks this court to now dismiss the remaining racial
discrimination claims by Mr. Davis because he was not
qualified for the position. (Doc. 47, p. 2). Mr. Davis
responded claiming he is qualified based upon his educational
background and familiarity with Northwestern's library.
(Doc. 54, p. 1).
Law and Analysis
Summary Judgment Standard
"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). If the non-movant bears the burden of
proof at trial, the movant need not disprove every element of
the non-movant's case; rather, the movant can satisfy his
burden by pointing to the absence of evidence to support the
non-movant's case. Little v. Liquid Air Corp.,
37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Further, we consider
"all evidence in the light most favorable to the party
resisting the motion." Seacor Holdings, Inc. v.
Commonwealth Ins. Co., 635 F.3d 675, 680 (5th Cir. 2011)
(internal quotations omitted). In this analysis, we review
facts and draw all inferences most favorable to the
nonmovant; "[h]owever, mere conclusory allegations are
not competent summary judgment evidence, and such allegations
are insufficient, therefore, to defeat a motion for summary
judgment." Eason v. Thaler, 73 F.3d 1322, 1325
(5th Cir. 1996). It is important to note that the standard
for a summary judgment is two-fold: (1) there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact, and (2) the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Employment Discrimination Standard
summary judgment, claims of racial discrimination based only
on circumstantial evidence are evaluated under the familiar
burden-shifting framework set forth in McDonnell Douglas
Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-805 (1973); Price
v. Federal Express Corp.. 283 F.3d 715, 719-20
(5th Cir. 2002). Under the McDonnell
Douglas framework, the plaintiff must establish a.
prima facie case of discrimination. Russell v.
McKinney Hosp. Venture, 235, F.3d 219, 222
(5th Cir. 2000). Aprima facie case of
discrimination requires the plaintiff to show that: (1) he is
a member of a protected group; (2) he was qualified for the
position at issue; (3) he was discharged or suffered some
adverse employment action by the employer; and (4) he was
replaced by someone who is not a member of his protected
group or he was treated less favorably than others similarly
situated to him. Byers v. Dallas Morning News, 209
F.3d 419, 426 (5th Cir. 2000).
plaintiff makes a prima facie showing, the burden
then shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate,
nondiscriminatory or nonretaliatory reason for its employment
action. Russell, 235 F.3d at 222. The employer's
burden is only one of production, not persuasion, and
involves no credibility assessments. Id. If the
employer meets its burden of production, the plaintiff then
bears the ultimate burden of proving that the employer's
proffered reason is not true but instead is a pretext for the
real discriminatory or retaliatory purpose. Id. To
carry this burden, the plaintiff must rebut each
nondiscriminatory or nonretaliatory reason articulated by the
employer. Laxton v. Gap, Inc. 333 F.3d 572, 578
(5th Cir. 2003). A plaintiff may establish pretext
"by showing that the employer's proffered
explanation is false or 'unworthy of credence.'"
reviewing the evidence submitted, it is clear that Mr. Davis
cannot meet his prima facie case obligation. It is
not disputed that Mr. Davis is a member of a protected group
as he is, based upon the evidence submitted, African
American. (Doc. 1, p. 1). However, Mr. Davis was not
qualified for the Library Associate position. Again, that
position required an applicant send a letter of application,
resume, and contact information for three references. (Doc.
47-5, p. 3). Mr. Davis only submitted a resume and a
"vitae" (this Court presumes this to be a
curriculum vitae and will refer to this document as a
"curriculum vitae") that purported to reflect Mr.
Davis' educational and work experience. (Docs. 47-7,
54-1). However, other applicants submitted detailed resumes,
cover letters, and contact information for the necessary
references. (Docs. 47-8, 47-9, 47-10, 47-11). When Mr. Davis
was informed by Ms. Abbie Landry, Northwestern's Director
of Libraries, that he lacked the additional required
application materials, he did not supplement his application
with the required documents. (Doc. Doc. 47-4, p. 2).
Additionally, the position required an applicant to have a
Masters in History, Folklife, Public History or an
ALA-accredited MLS [Masters in Library Sciences] with
concentration in archives management. (Doc. 47-5, p. 1).
Contrarily, Mr. Davis had a Master of Arts from Northwestern
State University and a Doctor of Arts and Humanities from
Clark Atlanta University. (Doc. 47-7, p. 2). The individual
who was ultimately hired for the position has a Masters
Degree in Library Science and a Bachelor of Arts in History.
(Doc. 47-8, p. 2). The position also required the applicant
to have "experience with computerized academic reference
services, online databases . . . including Academic Search
Complete, JSTOR, Bayou State Periodical Index, America's
Historical Newspapers and WorldCat." (Doc. 47-5, p. 2).
Mr. Davis stated he became familiar with JSTOR while
researching for his Masters at Northwestern. However this