United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ZAINEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc.
17) filed by Defendant Boudreau &
Thibodeau's Cajun Cookin' Inc. Plaintiff Amanda
Acosta opposes the Motion. (Rec. Doc. 24). Also before the
Court is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 18)
filed by Plaintiff. Defendant opposes the Motion. (Rec. Doc.
25). The Motions, set for submission on August 9, 2017, are
before the Court on the briefs without oral argument.
matter arises out of the alleged sexual discrimination,
retaliation, and sexual harassment of Plaintiff, Amanda
Acosta, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 (“Title VII”) and Louisiana law. Debra
Blanchard and her husband Michael Blanchard are the sole
owners of Defendant, Boudreau & Thibodeau's Cajun
Cookin', Inc., which operates a restaurant in Houma,
Louisiana. Plaintiff was employed as a service manager at the
restaurant. On February 13, 2015, Plaintiff gave notice to
the Blanchards that their nephew made sexual comments to
Plaintiff at work. (Rec. Doc. 24). After her report of sexual
harassment, Plaintiff alleges that her employers sent jokes
of a sexual nature to Plaintiff at her work place, made
comments on her breasts and told Plaintiff that she dressed
in a provocative manner. (Rec. Doc. 24). Additionally,
Plaintiff alleges that after she reported the sexual
harassment, her employers wrongfully reprimanded her,
investigated her, and took away many of her responsibilities
before eventually terminating Plaintiff on September 30,
filed her complaint against Defendant for violation of Title
VII under 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq., and violation of
Louisiana law under La. R.S. 23:302, et seq. (Rec. Doc. 1).
Defendant now seeks summary judgment in its favor on
Plaintiff's claims against it (Rec. Doc. 17), and
Plaintiff seeks partial summary judgment in her favor on the
issue of unpaid bonuses (Rec. Doc. 18).
seeks summary judgment in its favor on Plaintiff's
claims, arguing that 1) Plaintiff's Title VII claims fail
because the alleged conduct was not severe or pervasive
enough to create an objectively hostile or abusive work
environment, and 2) Plaintiff's Louisiana law claims fail
because the conduct was not severe enough and she has given
no proof of a causal link between the alleged harassment and
the environment or discharge of Plaintiff. (Rec. Doc. 17-2).
Defendant maintains that Plaintiff was terminated for
justifiable reasons. (Rec. Doc. 17-2). Plaintiff opposes
Defendant's Motion, arguing that she has made a prima
facie case of discrimination and that Defendant fails to show
that there is no issue of material fact. (Rec. Doc. 24).
moves for partial summary judgment on the issue of alleged
unpaid compensation in the form of bonuses. (Rec. Doc. 18-1).
Defendants argue that Plaintiff is not entitled to summary
judgment in her favor on the issue of bonus payments because
Defendant “never agreed to pay any of its employees a
guaranteed ‘bonus, ' let alone any particular
amount in ‘bonus.'” (Rec. Doc. 25).
judgment is appropriate only if “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, ” when
viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant,
“show that there is no genuine issue as to any material
fact.” TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick
James, 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
249-50 (1986)). A dispute about a material fact is
“genuine” if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party. Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248). The court must draw all justifiable inferences in favor
of the non-moving party. Id. (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255).
the moving party has initially shown “that there is an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's
cause, ” the non-movant must come forward with
“specific facts” showing a genuine factual issue
for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
325 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
Conclusional allegations and denials, speculation, improbable
inferences, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic
argumentation do not adequately substitute for specific facts
showing a genuine issue for trial. Id. (citing
SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir.1993)).
Additionally, if the moving party will bear the burden of
persuasion at trial, then the moving party “must come
forward with evidence which would ‘entitle it to a
directed verdict if the evidence went uncontroverted at
trial.'” Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263-64 (5th Cir.
1991) (quoting Golden Rule Ins. Co. v. Lease, 755
F.Supp. 948, 951 (D.Colo. 1991)).
Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
seeks partial summary judgment on the issue of unpaid bonuses
for the first three quarters of 2015. (Rec. Doc. 18-1).
Defendant asserts that it never agreed to pay Plaintiff any
particular bonus. (Rec. Doc. 25).
order to meet her burden on summary judgment, Plaintiff must
present evidence that, if uncontroverted, would entitle her
to a directed verdict at trial. In support of her Motion,
Plaintiff cites to a “Proposal for Amanda's pay
beginning Monday, June 23, 2014.” (Rec. Doc. 18-7).
This document states that “[t]he bonus structure will
be set according to proposed plan from RestaurantOwner.com
wi[th] some adjustments recommended by accountant.”
(Rec. Doc. 18-7). Additionally, she submits her own
affidavit, an e-mail exchange between Plaintiff, one of the