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Wrinn v. City of Dothan

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

June 19, 2018

DAWN WRINN, Plaintiff,


          Gray M. Borden, Judge

         Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), this case was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge for consideration and disposition or recommendation on all pretrial matters as may be appropriate. Doc. 3. On December 30, 2016, Plaintiff Dawn Wrinn, proceeding pro se, brought this action alleging age, disability, and gender discrimination during her employment with Defendant City of Dothan. Doc. 1. Now before the court is the City's motion for summary judgment, filed on September 3, 2017. Doc. 35.

         On September 14, 2017, this court issued an Order giving Wrinn until September 28, 2017 to file a response to the motion, and to include evidentiary materials. Wrinn did not file a timely response. On October 6, 2017, Wrinn filed a response to the motion. This court issued an Order on October 6, 2017, striking Wrinn's response as untimely, but giving her until October 18, 2017 to file a motion for leave to file her response. Doc. 41. Wrinn did not file a response to the court's Order. In its Reply in support of its motion, the City urges the court to grant summary judgment on that basis, and on the grounds articulated in its initial brief.

         After consideration of the City's submissions and the applicable law, the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the motion for summary judgment (Doc. 35) be GRANTED, and that all claims be DISMISSED with prejudice.


         The court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the claims in this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and the court finds adequate allegations to support both.


         Summary judgment is appropriate “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). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of material fact is genuine only if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. at 248.

         The moving party “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those 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 [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). In responding to a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Indeed, the non-movant must “go beyond the pleadings” and submit admissible evidence demonstrating “specific facts showing that there is a genuine [dispute] for trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). If the evidence is “merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (citations omitted).

         When a district court considers a motion for summary judgment, it “must view all the evidence and all factual inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and must resolve all reasonable doubts about the facts in favor of the non-movant.” Rioux v. City of Atlanta, Ga., 520 F.3d 1269, 1274 (11th Cir. 2008) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). The court's role is not to “weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “If a reasonable fact finder evaluating the evidence could draw more than one inference from the facts, and if that inference introduces a genuine issue of material fact, then the court should not grant summary judgment.” Allen v. Bd. of Pub. Educ. for Bibb Cty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1315 (11th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). Importantly, if the non-movant “fails to adduce evidence which would be sufficient . . . to support a jury finding for the non-movant, summary judgment may be granted.” Brooks v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Fla., Inc., 116 F.3d 1364, 1370 (11th Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).


         The facts, viewed in a light most favorable to the non-movant, are as follows:

Wrinn was hired by the City in September 1990. At the time of her hire, Wrinn received a copy of the City's employment policies from the Personnel Department. Under City policy, there is disciplinary progression. When a disciplinary action could result in dismissal, the department head conducts a determination hearing and within three days of the hearing renders a decision and serves notification of that decision. Doc. 35-1 at 101.

         Wrinn received a notice of discipline from her employer in April 2008 and December 2008. Doc. 35-1 at 117-20. In September 2014, Wrinn received a formal counseling for an offense which constituted her first offense in the minor offense category that counted toward a determination hearing. Doc. 35-1 at 121-22. In March of 2015, she received a written warning which was the second offense in the minor ...

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