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D'Aquin v. Ford

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 18, 2018

THOMAS D'AQUIN
v.
FRANK FORD, ET AL.

         SECTION “N” (5)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          KURT D. ENGELHARDT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Rec.Doc. 45) filed by Defendants Frank Ford and Frank Ford, LLC d/b/a/ Frank Ford Tennis (“Defendants”). Plaintiff Thomas D'Aquin (“D'Aquin”), proceeding pro se, has filed a response in opposition (Rec. Doc. 49), to which Defendants have replied. See Rec. Doc. 59. Having carefully considered the supporting and opposing submissions, the record, and the applicable law, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' motion is GRANTED for the reasons stated herein.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The instant matter arises out of Defendants' alleged breach of a verbal contract with D'Aquin as well as Defendants' alleged discrimination against D'Aquin premised on the race of his wife. On July 21, 2016, D'Aquin filed a Complaint against Defendants, seeking relief for the breach of contract and alleged discrimination. See Rec. Doc. 1. Specifically with regard to his racial discrimination claim, D'Aquin alleges that,

Upon discussing tennis balls Defendant had to inquire about spouse[.] Plaintiff informed Defendants that wife was having immigration problems and was black[.] Defendant states did not know spouse was not a citizen or black Defendant made tennis balls an issue and Plaintiff thought he cleared the matter up[.] Plaintiff arrived in town and informed of the tennis balls again, which he know as code[.] Defendant then informed Plaintiffs his services were not needed and contract was no longer valid. This is a very big point because Defendant or Representative states either contract or offer[.]

(Rec. Doc. 1 at p. 2). In connection with such claim, D'Aquin seeks $2, 000, 000 per defendant because “having to rebuild ACES Tennis Foundation and the mental and physically of the discrimination because of the person he loves is irreplaceable.” Id. In response to D'Aquin's claims, Defendants filed a Motion for More Definite Statement (Rec. Doc. 9) on November 10, 2016. Thus, in response to this Court's Order (Rec. Doc. 10) that granted such motion, D'Aquin filed an Amended Complaint. See Rec. Doc. 12. In his Amended Complaint, D'Aquin states that, Plaintiff upon the 3 day move, Plaintiff contacted Defendants to announce his arrival. Defendants remarked about the early arrival date and the Plaintiff covers issues with his wife, When the Defendants learned his wife was Black. Defendants said he needed to go back to New Orleans because the contract was voided[.]

Plaintiff is belief contacted Defendants after demonstrating extreme discrimination and racism called back and said he had contacted a legal representative said that the real issue was about the quality of tennis balls he brought in the moving truck was unprofessional and from that point forward the Defendants after speaking a lawyer as stated said it was about the tennis balls. And Plaintiff was addressing Defendants for exactly the discrimination he showed towards a protective class[.]
Plaintiff is not sure if the discrimination was influenced by the sites or clubs where Plaintiff would be teaching or that the Defendants had contracted but from the conversations it was apparently so.

(Rec. Doc. 12 at p. 2). Thereafter, Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment, arguing that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law because there are no genuine issues of material fact with regard to D'Aquin's alleged racial discrimination claim. See Rec. Doc. 45. Specifically, Defendants argue that: (1) D'Aquin cannot meet his burden with respect to any discrimination claim under either Title VII or 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and (2) D'Aquin did not exhaust the required administrative remedies for asserting a claim for discrimination under Title VIII. See Rec. Doc. 45-1 at p. 1.

         In response to the motion, D'Aquin first argues that the motion is premature because there has not been enough discovery. See Rec. Doc. 49 at p. 1. D'Aquin also argues that because Defendants' company is a small company, Defendants would not be subject to the EEOC requirements relevant to exhausting administrative remedies prior to bringing a Title VII claim against an employer. Id. at p. 2. In addition, D'Aquin states that in addition to having “[e]qual [p]rotections to hold and sign contracts, own land, etc., ” he also has “[e]qual [p]rotections [u]nder 388 [u]nder Loving 1967 [ ] [t]o enjoy the same rights as all white persons.” Id. at p. 3. Thus, D'Aquin argues that the Court must deny Defendants' motion for summary judgment and rule in his favor. Id. at p. 4.

         Defendants replied, arguing that D'Aquin has failed to offer any competent summary judgment evidence to support any claim for discrimination under any applicable federal law. (Rec. Doc. 59 at p. 1). With respect to any purported claim under Title VII, Defendants argue that: “(i) he has not made a claim for any form of discrimination under Title VII; (ii) he did not exhaust the administrative remedies necessary to bring a Title VII claim had he intended to bring a claim under Title VII; and (iii) any claim under Title VII is inappropriate since Defendants do not meet the statutory definition of ‘employer' under 42 U.S.C. § 2000(b).” Id. at p. 3. With respect to any discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Defendants argue that to the extent D'Aquin has made a claim for associational discrimination, he has failed to provide any evidentiary support for such claim. In addition, Defendants also assert that D'Aquin's reliance on Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), is misplaced under the instant circumstances. Thus, Defendants argue that their motion for partial summary judgment should be granted, and D'Aquin's claim for discrimination should be dismissed with prejudice.

         II. RULE 56 MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD OF LAW

         Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a district court shall grant summary judgment “if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The materiality of facts is determined by the substantive law's identification of which facts are critical and which facts are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. ...


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