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Childrey v. CGI Technologies and Solutions

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

January 9, 2018

ZEFFIE CHILDREY, Plaintiff,
v.
CGI TECHNOLOGIES AND SOLUTIONS, Defendant.

          RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          CHARLES S. COODY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         On September 29, 2017, this matter was referred back to the undersigned for consideration of the plaintiff's retaliation claim. See Doc. # 118. Her sole remaining claim is that she was subjected to retaliation after she complained about sexual harassment by a co-worker. Specifically, Childrey asserts that the defendant “transferred [her] in October 2012 to work under the authority of Benjamin McCall and others” in retaliation for her complaint and in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 et seq. See Doc. # 118 at 2. The court has jurisdiction of the plaintiff's claim pursuant to its federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and the jurisdictional grant contained in 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3).

         The case is now before the Court on the defendant's renewed motion for summary judgment on the plaintiff's remaining retaliation claim. See Doc. # 120. The plaintiff has filed a response to the motion.[1] See Docs. # 124 & 125. After careful review, the court concludes that summary judgment should be granted in favor of defendant CGI on Childrey's retaliation claim.

         THE SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         “Summary judgment is appropriate ‘if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine [dispute[2] as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'” Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d 1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam) (citation omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“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.”). The party moving for summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the [record, including pleadings, discovery materials and affidavits], which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by presenting evidence which would be admissible at trial indicating there is no dispute of material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-324.

         Once the movant meets its evidentiary burden and demonstrates the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to his case exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1) (“A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or (B) 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.”). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the nonmoving party produces evidence that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict in its favor. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263.

         To survive the movant's properly supported motion for summary judgment, a party is required to produce “sufficient [favorable] evidence” “that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986). “If the evidence [on which the nonmoving party relies] is merely colorable . . . or is not significantly probative . . . summary judgment may be granted.” Id. at 249-250. “A mere ‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing party's position will not suffice; there must be enough of a showing that the [trier of fact] could reasonably find for that party.” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1576-1577 (11th Cir. 1990) (quoting Anderson, supra). Conclusory allegations based on subjective beliefs are likewise insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact and, therefore, do not suffice to oppose a motion for summary judgment. Waddell v. Valley Forge Dental Assocs., Inc., 276 F.3d 1275, 1279 (11th Cir. 2001). Hence, when a nonmoving party fails to set forth specific facts supported by appropriate evidence sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to his case and on which the nonmovant will bear the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment is due to be granted in favor of the moving party. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322 (“[F]ailure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”).

         For summary judgment purposes, only disputes involving material facts are relevant. United States v. 5800 SW 74th Ave., 363 F.3d 1099, 1101 (11th Cir. 2004). What is material is determined by the substantive law applicable to the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Lofton v. Sec'y of Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 358 F.3d 804, 809 (11th Cir. 2004) (“Only factual disputes that are material under the substantive law governing the case will preclude entry of summary judgment.”). “The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case.” McCormick v. City of Fort Lauderdale, 333 F.3d 1234, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003) (citation omitted). To demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact, the party opposing summary judgment “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. . . . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no ‘genuine [dispute] for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co, Ltd., v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In cases where the evidence before the court which is admissible on its face or which can be reduced to admissible form indicates that there is no genuine dispute of material fact and that the party moving for summary judgment is entitled to it as a matter of law, summary judgment is proper. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323-324 (summary judgment appropriate where pleadings, evidentiary materials and affidavits before the court show there is no genuine dispute as to a requisite material fact); Waddell, 276 F.3d at 1279 (to establish a genuine dispute of material fact, the nonmoving party must produce evidence such that a reasonable trier of fact could return a verdict in his favor). However, if there is a conflict in the evidence, “the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Ruiz de Molina v. Merritt & Furman Ins. Agency, 207 F.3d 1351, 1356 (11th Cir. 2000).

         Although factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party and pro se complaints are entitled to liberal interpretation by the courts, a pro se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact. Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 529 (2006); Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Thus, the plaintiff's pro se status alone does not mandate this court's disregard of elementary principles of production and proof in a civil case.

         FACTS[3]

As set forth in the Recommendation entered on March 7, 2016, the following basic facts are undisputed.

1. CGI Technologies and Solutions is a professional services company dedicated to providing IT solutions and business process outsourcing services to commercial clients and federal, state, and local government agencies. CGI is headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia and has locations throughout the country.
2. In January 2010, CGI opened its Onshore IT Services Delivery Center in Troy, Alabama. The work in Troy includes high-level IT services (e.g., Applications Developers, Business Analysts, Database Administrators, Software Engineers, Systems Support Experts, User Support Analysts, Technical SMEs, Technical Architects, and various managers). Most of these roles support CGI's software development and testing, which serves CGI's clients. Some of them support client projects directly, and others provide internal support for CGI's development activities. Troy also has lower-level IT work comprised of IT/Help Desk Support Staff roles. Finally, the Troy office has work supporting collections work that has been outsourced by clients to CGI, as well as work in internal CGI functions that have been centralized in Troy to service all of the U.S. (e.g., some finance roles, some workforce management, some HR processing, and some internal IS-IT services).
3. CGI provides varying levels of IT services to a number of clients who outsource their internal technology needs, including Fannie Mae as the largest client serviced by that location. Some of those services are provided by the Level 1 IT Support/Helpdesk team, in addition to other teams out of our Troy, AL office. These roles are filled by IT Support Specialists.
4. Each of Fannie Mae's application portfolios (also sometimes referred to as a “BIO”) is typically managed by a separate team, which is led by a supervisor. Some BIOs are combined. In addition, each team has a team lead. Generally, members of each team will use a specific skill set applicable for their specific BIO the (sic) support.
5. In April of 2012, CGI's Troy office hired a number people for the IT Support Specialist role for the Ll Fannie Mae group.
Childrey was hired by CGI on April 16, 2012, as an IT specialist for the BIO which provided support services for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae). Her supervisor at that time was Calvin Patterson. Lynn Engram was the overall manager for the BIOs supporting Fannie Mae operations.

(Doc. # 112 at 6-7).

         Other pertinent facts are as follows. On August 15, 2012, Childrey was leaving work at the same time as co-worker Willie McCall. At the bottom of a stairwell, McCall “grabbed” Childrey's buttock. (Doc. # 109, Ex. G, Pl. Aff. at 13, ¶ 22). Childrey ...


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