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Lacey v. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

United States District Court, Middle District of Alabama, Northern Division

May 1, 2015

WALTER C. LACEY, Plaintiff,
v.
ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION AND NATURAL RESOURCES, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

W. HAROLD ALBRITTON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

I. Introduction

This cause is before the court on a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 10), Supporting Brief (Doc. # 11), and Evidentiary Submission (Doc. # 12) filed by the Defendant, the Alabama Department of Conservation and National Resources (“DCNR”), on April 1, 2015. Also before the court are the Response (Doc. # 14) to the Motion filed by the Plaintiff, Walter C. Lacey (“Lacey”) and DCNR’s Reply thereto (Doc. # 15).

Lacey’s Complaint, filed on June 27, 2014, alleges a single claim of race discrimination in violation of § 703(a) of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)-2(a). Specifically, Lacey alleges that DCNR failed to promote him to sergeant even though he was qualified, and instead promoted a white male who was not qualified. (Doc. # 1 at 2 ¶ 8, 4 ¶ 23.)

Upon consideration of the briefs and evidence in support of and in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment, and for the reasons to be discussed, the Motion for Summary Judgment is due to be GRANTED.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper “if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

The party asking for summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, ” relying on submissions “which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 323. Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the pleadings” and show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324.

Both the party “asserting that a fact cannot be, ” and a party asserting that a fact is genuinely disputed, must support their assertions by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record, ” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 (c)(1)(A)–(B). Acceptable materials under Rule 56(c)(1)(A) include “depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”

To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party “must do more than show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). On the other hand, the evidence of the nonmovant must be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in its favor. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

After the nonmoving party has responded to the motion for summary judgment, 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. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

III. Facts and Procedural Background

The submissions of the parties establish the following facts, construed in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, Lacey:

Lacey, who is black, began his employment with the Marine Police Division of DCNR as a conservation enforcement officer on June 9, 2006. In 2008, he heard that the Division would have some open sergeant positions available and would be looking to fill those positions. He logged into the Alabama State Personnel Department’s website and applied for the open sergeant promotional register. He also took a written test as an assessment tool to get on the employment register. He was ranked sixth on ...


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