United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
race and sex discrimination and retaliation case comes before
the court on Defendant Republic Parking System's motion
for summary judgment. (Doc. 26).
to Plaintiff Lekisha Reddick, in 2014, her supervisor at
Republic told her that he did not promote her to Assistant
Manager and instead hired a white male because he needed a
“white face” to fill the position and
“soften” the look of the African-American staff.
So a genuine issue exists as to whether Republic failed to
promote Ms. Reddick in 2014 because she is African-American.
But no evidence exists from which reasonable jurors could
determine that she suffered race or sex discrimination or
retaliation at any point after 2014 or when Republic
terminated her in 2017. So, as further explained below, the
court will DENY IN PART and GRANT IN PART Republic's
motion for summary judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court can resolve a dispositive issue on summary judgment
only when the moving party establishes two essential
elements: (1) no genuine disputes of material fact exist;
and (2) the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
the first element of the moving party's summary judgment
burden, “‘[g]enuine disputes [of material fact]
are those in which the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the
non-movant.'” Evans v. Books-A-Million,
762 F.3d 1288, 1294 (11th Cir. 2014) (emphasis added)
(quoting Mize v. Jefferson City Bd. of Educ., 93
F.3d 739, 742 (11th Cir. 1996)). And when considering whether
any genuine disputes of material fact exist, the court must
view the evidence in the record in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party and draw reasonable inferences in
favor of the non-moving party. White v. Beltram Edge Tool
Supply, Inc., 789 F.3d 1188, 1191 (11th Cir. 2015).
non-moving party's self-serving declarations can create
genuine issues of fact. See United States v. Stein,
881 F.3d 853, 857 (11th Cir. 2018) (“A litigant's
self-serving statements based on personal knowledge or
observation can defeat summary judgment.”);
Feliciano v. City of Miami Beach, 707 F.3d 1244,
1253 (11th Cir. 2013) (“To be sure, Feliciano's
sworn statements are self-serving, but that alone does not
permit us to disregard them at the summary judgment
only factual allegations in a declaration based on
personal knowledge can defeat summary judgment;
conclusory allegations cannot. See Stein,
881 F.3d at 857 (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife
Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990)). And even if the
court doubts the veracity of a self-serving declaration, the
court cannot make credibility determinations at the summary
judgment stage. Feliciano, 707 F.3d at 1252 (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
with the summary judgment standard, the court will present
the facts of this case in the light most favorable to Ms.
Reddick. The court draws most of the facts from Ms.
Reddick's declaration submitted with her response to
Republic's motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 34-1). In
doing so, the court notes that these may not be the facts
presented at trial.
manages parking lots and garages owned by UAB Hospital and
provides valet services at the Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham,
Reddick began working for Republic on October 1, 2013 as a
cashier at the UAB Hospital parking lots and garages. On
November 1, 2013, Republic promoted her to Team Leader and
gave her a raise from $9 an hour to $10 an hour. As Team
Leader, Ms. Reddick managed the day-to-day operations of the
Kirklin Clinic parking location.
Reddick informed her supervisor and Republic's General
Manager for the UAB parking concession, Kwento Ikwuezunma,
that she was interested in filling the vacant Assistant
Manager position. In her declaration, Ms. Reddick contends
that Mr. Ikwuezunma represented to her that she could apply
for the position. (Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 9).
1, 2014, Republic hired Evan Stewart, a white male, as
Assistant Manager, and gave him a starting salary of $32, 000
annually. Mr. Ikwuezunma did not post a vacancy for the
Assistant Manager position or solicit applications.
same day that Republic hired Mr. Stewart, Republic promoted
Ms. Reddick to Supervisor and gave her a raise from $10 an
hour to $13 an hour.
Reddick asked Mr. Ikwuezunma why he did not give her an
opportunity to apply for the Assistant Manager position.
According to Ms. Reddick, he responded: “Kisha it's
a whole different ball game out here, we have to play these
white folks game.” (Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 10). Ms.
Reddick asked him what he meant by that statement, and Mr.
Ikwuezunma said that he needed a “white face” at
the Kirklin Clinic to “soften” the look of staff,
which, at that time, consisted of all African-American
employees. (Id.). Mr. Ikwuezunma also told her that
the African-American employees had aggressive looks that were
not good for business. (Id.).
25, 2014, Ms. Reddick recorded a conversation between herself
and Mr. Ikwuezunma. During the conversation, Ms. Reddick
asked, “you said you need the white faces up there or
whatever, however. Right?” (Doc. 27-9 at 2). Mr.
Ikwuezunma responded, “[u]h-huh.” Ms. Reddick
reiterated, “[y]ou said you just need that white look,
” and Mr. Ikwuezunma responded, “[u]h-huh. Well,
not even really white. Diverse. If I can get Mexican,
Spanish, any of that on here.” (Doc. 27-9 at 2). He
then said, “[g]oing back to the white face, that was
talking about people like Hunter when they were in valet
because they need to soften up them people. Because you had
Brandon Augusta. You had Leyette. They all aggressive
April 1 and 2, 2015, Ms. Reddick reported Mr.
Ikwuezunma's “white face” comment to
Republic's District Manager of the Eastern Division,
Steve Bartlett, and Republic's Director of Human
Resources, Jan Veal. On April 13, 2015, Ms. Reddick, Mr.
Bartlett, and Ms. Veal participated in a conference call to
discuss the “white face” comment. Ms. Veal
apologized for Mr. Ikwuezunma during the conference call.
on April 15, 2015, Republic announced that Mr. Stewart would
leave the Assistant Manager position. Republic decided to
eliminate the Assistant Manager position and distribute the
responsibilities of that position among Ms. Reddick and two
other Team Leaders, Brandon Waugh and Jeremy High. Ms.
Reddick contends that Republic never made her aware of the
plan to split the Assistant Manager responsibilities.
1, 2015, Republic gave Ms. Reddick a raise from $13 an hour
to a salary of $32, 900 annually.
September 22, 2015, Ms. Reddick filed a charge of race and
sex discrimination with the EEOC based on Republic's
hiring of Mr. Stewart as Assistant Manager, Mr.
Ikwuezunma's statements that he needed to “soften
up the look up front by having a white face up there”
and “the whole staff up front is black and they all
have an aggressive look, ” and the failure to promote
her upon Mr. Stewart's departure. (Doc. 1-1 at 2-3).
16, 2016, Republic gave Ms. Reddick an annual salary raise to
March 2017, Republic informed Ms. Reddick that she would be
responsible for auditing the Kirklin Clinc on Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Thursdays by reconciling the cashiers'
tickets to the payments received during the day. Republic
also assigned auditing duties to Mr. Waugh and Mr. High.
(See Doc. 27-18 at 1; Doc. 34-1 at ¶ 22).
4, 2017, within 90 days of receiving her right to sue notice
from the EEOC on her September 22, 2015 charge of
discrimination, Ms. Reddick filed this lawsuit. In her
original complaint, she brought a race discrimination claim
and a sex discrimination claim against Republic for its
failure to promote her to Assistant Manager. ...