United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER & REASONS
WELLS ROBY, CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc.
46) filed by Plaintiff, Angela “Angie”
Scott-Benson (“Benson”) seeking summary judgment
in her favor of her Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq., claims filed against Defendant KBR, Inc
(“KBR”). The motion is opposed. R. Doc. 58. The
motion was heard on the briefs on October 9, 2019.
filed this discrimination lawsuit against her former
employer, KBR, Inc., pursuant to Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (“Title VII”).
The heart of her claim is that she was discriminated against
because her coworkers accused her of being involved in
inappropriate romantic relationships with men on the job in
violation of the company's prohibited relationship policy
subjecting her to a hostile work environment. She further
alleges that KBR failed to hire her in December 2015 after
being subject to a reduction in force because she complained
earlier of a HIPAA violation.
also alleges that KBR's investigation of the romantic
relationship complaint between her and her immediate manager,
Danny Geisinger, along with the rumors and gossip by her
coworkers, constitute retaliation because she had earlier
complained of a HIPAA violation. According to Benson, the
HIPAA violation consisted of the removal of her prescription
medication list from her employee file. She further alleges
that KBR hired a male for the position she had been told
previously was hers but upon relocating to Texas was denied
the job subjecting her to gender discrimination and disparate
also alleges that because she was subject to a reduction in
force, she was wrongfully discharge in retaliation for
complaining about a HIPAA violation. Benson further contends
that KBR failed to hire her in February 2017, without an
application but based on her resume, in retaliation for
filing her March 2016 discrimination charge. Benson also
generally alleges that the defendant subjected her to
intentional infliction of emotional distress.
addressing each of the specific issues she attempts to raise
in her motion and further before comparing what she complains
of now verses what she complained of to the EEOC, the Court
finds that Bensons own pleadings contain genuine issues of
material fact. In connection with the subject motion Benson
submitted a statement of “Uncontested Material
Facts.” However, Benson's purported statements of
“Uncontested Material Facts” are in fact
contested and also contradict the evidence Benson submitted
in support of her Motion for Summary Judgment. Additionally,
Defendant KBR largely opposes Benson's representation of
what facts are material and uncontested as compared to
contested and immaterial or vague. Rec. doc. 46.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 56(a) provides
that summary judgment is appropriate where “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) (emphasis added). A
fact is “material” if resolving that fact in
favor of one party could affect the outcome of the suit.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248 (1986); Poole v. City of Shreveport, 691 F.3d
624, 626-27 (5th Cir. 2012).
the moving party bears the burden of proof at trial as the
plaintiff, or as a defendant asserting an affirmative
defense, that party must support its motion with
“credible evidence . . . that would entitle it to
directed verdict if not controverted at trial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 331 (1986).
In such a case, the moving party must “establish beyond
peradventure all of the essential elements of the
claim or defense to warrant judgment in his favor.”
Fontenot v. Upjohn Co., 780 F.2d 1190, 1194 (5th
Cir. 1986) (emphasis in original); see also Access
Mediquip L.L.C. v. UnitedHealthcare Ins. Co., 662 F.3d
376, 378 (5th Cir. 2011). Credible evidence may include
depositions, documents, affidavits, stipulations, admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). Moreover, in evaluating a motion for summary judgment
by the party with the underlying burden of proof, the Court
considers the substantive evidentiary burden of proof that
would apply at the trial on the merits. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 252. The moving party's burden is therefore
“understandably heavier” where that party is the
plaintiff. S. Snow Mfg. Co. v. Snow Wizard Holdings,
Inc., 829 F.Supp.2d 437, 447 (E.D. La. 2011).
the moving party has made its showing, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to produce evidence that demonstrates
the existence of a genuine issue of fact. Engstrom v.
First Nat. Bank of Eagle Lake, 47 F.3d 1459, 1462 (5th
Cir. 1995) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-24). All
justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-moving
party's favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
However, “[u]nsubstantiated assertions, improbable
inferences, and unsupported speculation are not sufficient to
defeat a motion for Summary Judgment.” Brown v.
City of Houston, Tex., 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir. 2003)
(internal citations omitted); see also Eason v.
Thaler, 73 F.3d 1322, 1325 (5th Cir. 1996) (stating that
“mere conclusory allegations” are insufficient to
defeat a motion for summary judgment). Although the Court may
not evaluate evidence on a motion for summary judgment, the
Court may make a determination as to the “caliber or
quantity” of evidence as part of its determination of
whether sufficient evidence exists for the fact-finder to
find for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
summary judgment standard in an employment discrimination
matter is premised upon a burden-shifting analysis from
McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973), and its progeny. Thereunder, the Court must first
determine if the plaintiff has established a prima
facie case of discrimination, sufficient to raise an
inference of discrimination. McDonnell-Douglas, 411
U.S. at 802; Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S.
506, 510-11 (2002) (finding that in Title VII actions, a
prima facie standard is used for evidentiary
purposes on summary judgment); Powell v. Rockwell
Int'l Corp., 788 F.2d 279, 285 (5th Cir. 1986)
(“The McDonnell-Douglas formula . . . is
applicable . . . in a . . . summary judgment
situation.”); see also Jackson v. Texas A & M
Univ. Sys., 975 F.Supp. 943, 947 (S.D. Tex. 1996)
(citing LaPierre v. Benson Nissan, Inc., 86 F.3d
444, 448 (5th Cir.1996)).