United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
TIMOTHY R. RAPP
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR UNITED STATES
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are Defendant Ryan Zinke in his capacity as
Secretary of the Department of Interior's Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment (Rec. Doc. 16), Plaintiff Timothy
Rapp's Response in Opposition (Rec. Doc.
and Defendant's Reply (Rec. Doc. 22). For the reasons
discussed below, IT IS ORDERED that the
partial motion for summary judgment is
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
an employment discrimination case involving discriminatory
garnishment and discriminatory discharge under Title VII.
See Rec. Doc. 16-3 at 5. The instant motion only
involves the discriminatory discharge claim. See
Rec. Doc. 16 at 1.
is a former employee of the Department of the Interior
(“DOI”). See id. He worked as a
petroleum engineer in the Bureau of Safety and Environmental
Enforcement. See Rec. Doc. 16-3 at 1.
began his employment with Defendant on December 1, 2013.
See id. He was terminated on November 4, 2014.
See id. According to Defendant, Plaintiff's
termination notice cited two instances of Plaintiff's
inappropriate workplace communications with co-workers.
See id. at 2. Plaintiff states that one of the two
instances “never happened and is completely
fraudulent.” See Rec. Doc. 17-2 at 2.
Plaintiff also states that he has repeatedly asserted that
response throughout his EEO process. See id.
Defendant states that Plaintiff signed the termination notice
to signify his receipt. See Rec. Doc. 16-3 at 2.
first contacted an Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) counselor on October 20, 2016. See
id. In addition to alleging discriminatory garnishment
in 2016, he alleged discriminatory discharge from DOI in 2014
based on his non-Cajun national origin. See id.
Plaintiff filed a formal complaint on January 23, 2017.
See id. DOI's Office of Civil Rights issued a
final agency decision in November 2017 finding that Plaintiff
was not subjected to unlawful employment discrimination.
February 23, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint
alleging that DOI terminated him and recouped its relocation
payments because of Plaintiff's non-Cajun national
origin. See Rec. Doc. 3. Plaintiff seeks, inter
alia, a letter from DOI stating that his employment
ended in good standing as well as monetary damages in the
amount of $10, 399, 133.00. See Rec. Doc. 3-2 at
1-3. On June 4, 2018, Defendant answered with affirmative
defenses. See Rec. Doc. 9. Subsequently, on August
23, 2018 Defendant filed the instant motion for summary
judgment on the claim of discriminatory discharge.
Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is
appropriate when “the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
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.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). See also TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of
Wash., 276 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002). A genuine
issue of material fact exists if the evidence would allow a
reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The court should view all facts and evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. United Fire
& Cas. Co. v. Hixson Bros. Inc., 453 F.3d 283, 285
(5th Cir. 2006). Mere conclusory allegations are insufficient
to defeat summary judgment. Eason v. Thaler, 73 F.3d
1322, 1325 (5th Cir. 1996).
movant must point to “portions of ‘the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If and when
the movant carries this burden, the non-movant must then go
beyond the pleadings and present other evidence to establish
a genuine issue. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). However,
“where the non-movant bears the burden of proof at
trial, the movant may merely point to an absence of evidence,
thus shifting to the non-movant the burden of demonstrating
by competent summary judgment proof that there is an issue of
material fact warranting trial.” Lindsey v. Sears
Roebuck & Co., 16 F.3d 616, 618 (5th Cir. 1994).
“This court will not assume in the absence of any proof
that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary
facts, and will grant summary judgment in any case where
critical evidence is so weak or tenuous on an essential fact
that it could not support a judgment in favor of the
[non-movant].” McCarty v. Hillstone Rest.
Grp., 864 F.3d 354, 357 (5th Cir. 2017).
Plaintiff Failed to Timely Exhaust Administrative
to Title VII, employees of the federal government
“shall be made free from any discrimination based on
race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a). Title VII grants
an aggrieved federal employee the right to file suit in
federal district court, but before suing, an employee must
exhaust his administrative remedies against his ...