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Bonadona v. Louisiana College

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Alexandria Division

August 28, 2019

JOSHUA BONADONA
v.
LOUISIANA COLLEGE AND RICK BREWER

          PEREZ-MONTES MAG. JUDGE

          MEMORANDUM RULING

          DEE D. DRELL JUDGE

         Before the court is a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 37) filed by defendants, Louisiana College ("LC") and its President, Rick Brewer ("Brewer"), in which they seek dismissal of all claims against them in the above captioned matter. For the reasons expressed below, the court finds the defendants' motion should be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         Facts

         Joshua Bonadona ("Bonadona") was born to a Catholic father and Jewish mother. He was raised both culturally and religiously as a member of the Jewish community. His mother is both racially and religiously Jewish.

         Bonadona graduated high school in 2008. Thereafter, he attended a state university for a year and then transferred to LC where he earned a position on the football team as a kicker on the punt block team. It was during his tenure as an LC student that Bonadona converted to Christianity.

         Upon his graduation from LC in 2013, LC hired Bonadona as an assistant football coach. In June 2015, he resigned his position to pursue a graduate degree and football coaching position at Southeast Missouri State University.

         In 2017, LC hired Justin Charles ("Charles") as its new head coach of the football team. Charles reached out to Bonadona about returning to LC as its defensive backs coach. Bonadona submitted an application wherein he identified himself as a Baptist, described his salvation experience, and acknowledged he understood and supported LC's mission statement.

         Bonadona interviewed with Charles who advised that the coaching position was his, subject to approval by Brewer. Accordingly, Bonadona interviewed with Brewer. During the interview, Brewer asked Bonadona about his parents' religious affiliations. Bonadona affirmed his father was Catholic and his mother was Jewish but expressed he was a practicing member of the Christian faith and attended a Baptist church in Missouri.

         Based on representations made by Charles, Bonadona returned to Missouri and submitted his resignation. According to Bonadona, Charles contacted him a week later to advise that LC decided not to hire him because of his Jewish heritage.

         Plaintiff filed a charge of racial discrimination with the EEOC and after exhausting his administrative remedies filed the instant lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by LC and Brewer in violation of Title VII and 42 U.S.C. §1981.

         Applicable Standard

         A 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute of material fact is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Anders on v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). 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 680 (5th Cir.2011) (internal citations omitted). It is important to note that the standard for 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.

         The movant has the burden of pointing to evidence proving there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, or the absence of evidence supporting the nonmoving party's case. The burden shifts to the nonmoving party to come forward with evidence which demonstrates the essential elements of his claim. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). The nonmoving party must establish the existence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial by showing the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to him, is sufficient to enable a reasonable jury to render a verdict in his favor. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986); Duffy v. Leading Edge Products, Inc., 44 F.3d 308, 312 (5th Cir.1995). A party whose claims are challenged by a motion for summary judgment may not rest on the allegations of the complaint and must articulate specific factual allegations which ...


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