United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. 21). Plaintiff Brian Martin sued
Defendants Lawson State Community College and Lieutenant
Robert Tate under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. He alleges that he
was removed from the work schedule as a police officer at
Lawson State on the basis of his race. As explained below,
the court finds that no genuine issue of material fact exists
and Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Therefore, the court will GRANT the motion.
Brian Martin is a Caucasian police officer who has worked a
variety of jobs- both full and part-time-providing law
enforcement and security services for various entities. He
worked full-time for the Pell City Police Department from
October 2011, until the spring of 2015. And beginning on July
7, 2011, he supplemented those hours by working at Lawson
State Community College.
Mr. Martin worked the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift for Pell City.
(Doc. 22 at 3). At the end of each shift, he would return to
the office to debrief, and then depart the station at
approximately 6:15 a.m. After leaving his Pell City shift,
Mr. Martin would then drive approximately one hour to Lawson
State to work his 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift. (Id. at
3-4). This scheduling conflict resulted in Mr. Martin
consistently arriving late to his job at Lawson State. (Doc.
29 at 5).
the majority of the time that Mr. Martin was employed at
Lawson State, Chief Williams was the chief of the
college's police force. Mr. Martin always called when he
was going to arrive late for his shift at Lawson State, and
he asserts that he and Chief Williams operated under this
arrangement for nearly four years. Chief Williams resigned in
February 2014, and was replaced by Lieutenant Robert Tate, a
21-year employee of Lawson State. (Doc. 22 at 2). At least
initially, Mr. Martin enjoyed the same flexibility under
Lieutenant Tate as he had while Chief Williams was in charge:
he provided Lieutenant Tate with his availability, and
Lieutenant Tate would place him on the schedule accordingly.
(Doc. 29 at 11-12).
March 2014, Mr. Martin began working two day shifts per week
from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the St. Clair County
Sherriff's Department. (Doc. 22 at 4). This employment
supplemented his full-time employment with Pell City and his
part-time contract services with Lawson State. As a result,
his availability to work for Lawson State decreased. (Doc.
23-2 at 17).
in June 2014, Lieutenant Tate informed Mr. Martin that he was
taking him off the schedule. (Doc. 29 at 6). Lieutenant Tate
told Mr. Martin that the Lawson State administration wanted
him removed from the payroll; other officers had complained
that he frequently arrived late but was not reprimanded the
same way they were; and the police department needed a
regularly-scheduled employee. (Docs. 23-2 at 13; 29 at 6).
Tate also terminated at least two other officers in 2014. He
fired Jady Pipes- the only other Caucasian officer working at
Lawson State during Mr. Martin's time there-in late June
2014 (doc. 29 at 6; 30-2 at 2), and he fired Fredtonio
Coleman, an African American, sometime between February and
May 2014. (Docs. 29 at 4; 22 at 6; 23-1). The Defendants
allege Lieutenant Tate fired Mr. Pipes over a uniform
dispute, but Mr. Pipes' affidavit states that he was
never provided with that reason. The parties do agree,
however, that Lieutenant Tate fired Mr. Coleman for arriving
late to work.
terminating Mr. Martin, Lieutenant Tate increased the
department's use of SanGuard Security, a company that
provides Lawson State with extra unsworn officers to cover
unfilled areas of the schedule when needed. (Doc. 22 at 6;
23-1 at 10). Lieutenant Tate had no control over the race of
the officers that SanGuard provided, and did not know the
officers' race until they arrived for work.
October 2015, James Blanton replaced Lieutenant Tate as the
Chief of the Lawson State Police Department. (Doc. 23-1 at
5). Chief Blanton hired eight police officers, only one of
whom was white. (Docs. 29 at 7; 32-1 at 1-2). The officers
were hired to begin working at Lawson State between January
2016 and October 2016. As of December 20, 2016, Lawson State
was still using SanGuard Security to fill uncovered areas of
its schedule. (Doc. 23-1 at 10).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
district court reviews a motion for summary judgment, it must
determine two things: whether any genuine issues of material
fact exist, and whether the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
court must “view the evidence presented through the
prism of the substantive evidentiary burden” to
determine whether the non-moving party presented sufficient
evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court must not weigh the