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Oliver v. Lauren Engineers & Constructors, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

October 22, 2017




         Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Lauren Engineers & Constructors, Inc.[1] Pro Se Plaintiff, Nicole Oliver, has not filed an opposition.[2] The Court's jurisdiction exists pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Oral argument is not necessary. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion is granted.


         In this employment discrimination case, pro se Plaintiff, Nicole Oliver, ("Plaintiff" or "Oliver") has asserted claims against her former employer, Lauren Engineers & Constructors, Inc. ("Defendant" or "Lauren") and her former supervisor, Jackie Lnu.[4]Oliver began her employment with Lauren on March 5, 2015 as a Labor Foreman at the CF Industries Plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, All employees hired by Lauren on this jobsite, including Oliver, were required to attend site-specific training through the local safety council. During this training, Oliver was advised of the client's expectation that cell phone use, taking pictures, and recording videos of the client's proprietary property and equipment was prohibited for confidentiality reasons. On May 11, 2015, Lauren terminated Oliver for violating this policy.

         On May 28, 2015, Oliver filed a Charge of Discrimination ("Charge") with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") asserting sex discrimination.[5] In her Charge, Oliver claimed that she was terminated for using her phone to take pictures and videos while at work in violation of work policy.[6] She further stated that a male foreman also used his phone to take pictures but no action was taken against him.[7] On March 17, 2016, a Notice of Right to Sue (Issued On Request) was sent to Oliver.[8] Subsequently, on June 30, 2016, Oliver filed her federal complaint asserting a Title VII sex discrimination claim and multiple negligence claims under Louisiana state law.[9]

         Lauren now seeks dismissal of Oliver's claims on summary judgment on two grounds. First, Lauren argues that Oliver's Title VII sex discrimination claim should be dismissed as a matter of law because it is time barred. As for Oliver's remaining state law negligence claims, Lauren contends the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Act ("LWCA") bars negligence claims against employers; therefore, Oliver's claims against Lauren must be dismissed. Oliver has not responded to any of Lauren's arguments.


         A. Summary Judgment Standard

         "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."[10] "An issue is material if its resolution could affect the outcome of the action."[11] "When assessing whether a dispute to any material fact exists, we consider all of the evidence in the record but refrain from making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence."[12] "A party moving for summary judgment 'must "demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, " but need not negate the elements of the nonmovant's case.'"[13] If the moving party satisfies its burden, "the non-moving party must show that summary judgment is inappropriate by setting 'forth specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue concerning every essential component of its case.'"[14] However, the non-moving party's "burden is not satisfied with some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence."[15]

         Notably, "[a] genuine issue of material fact exists, 'if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'"[16] The Court must resolve all reasonable factual inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.[17] However, "[t]he court has no duty to search the record for material fact issues. Rather, the party opposing the summary judgment is required to identify specific evidence in the record and to articulate precisely how this evidence supports his claim."[18] "Conclusory allegations unsupported by specific facts, however, will not prevent an award of summary judgment; 'the plaintiff [can]not rest on his allegations ... to get to a jury without 'any significant probative evidence tending to support the complaint.'"[19]

         B. Is Oliver's Title VII Sex Discrimination Claim Time-Barred?

         Lauren argues that Oliver's Title VII sex discrimination claim is untimely because she failed to file her lawsuit within ninety days of receiving her Notice of Right to Sue (Issued On Request) ("Notice"). The Court agrees.

         Upon receipt of a notice of right-to-sue from the EEOC, a plaintiff has ninety days to file her lawsuit.[20] "The requirement that a party file a lawsuit within this ninety-day limitations period under Title VII ... is strictly construed."[21] "[C]ommencement of the ninety-day period begins to run on the day that notice is received at the address supplied to the EEOC by the claimant."[22] However, when the date on which the notice of right-to- sue was received is unknown, the Fifth Circuit has adopted a presumption that the plaintiff received the notice in three days.[23]

         In this case, the EEOC mailed Oliver her Notice on March 17, 2016. After reviewing the record and evidence, it is unknown when Oliver actually received her Notice. Therefore, applying the three-day presumption rule, the Court finds that Oliver received the Notice on Monday, March 21, 2016.[24] As previously discussed, Oliver had to file her civil action no more than ninety days after she received her Notice. In other words, Oliver had until June 20, 2016 to file her lawsuit. However, the record demonstrates that Oliver did not file her lawsuit until June 30, 2016-approximately ten days past the ...

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