United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. BRASHER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
an employment discrimination lawsuit between Robert Fuller
(“Plaintiff”), his former employer, Koch Foods of
Alabama, LLC, his former employer's related company, Koch
Foods, Inc., and his former co-worker, Melissa McDickinson.
This matter comes before the court on the following motions:
Defendant McDickinson's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
148); Defendant Koch Foods of Alabama, LLC's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 158); Motion for Summary Judgment by
Koch Foods, Inc., as to Plaintiff's Claims (Doc. 165);
and Defendant Koch Foods, Inc., and Koch Foods of Alabama,
LLC's Objections to and Motion to Strike Portions of
Plaintiff's Evidentiary Submission in Support of His
Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 204). The respective motions have been fully briefed
and are ripe for decision.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
matter jurisdiction is conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as
to Plaintiff's federal causes of action, and the Court
may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's
state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The
parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and
there are adequate allegations to support both. See
28 U.S.C. § 1391.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate when 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). The Court views the evidence, and all
reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Jean-Baptiste v.
Gutierrez, 627 F.3d 816, 820 (11th Cir. 2010).
party moving for summary judgment “always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for the motion.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). This responsibility
includes identifying the portions of the record illustrating
the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact.
Id. Alternatively, a movant who does not have a
trial burden of production can assert, without citing the
record, that the nonmoving party “cannot produce
admissible evidence to support” a material fact.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
56 advisory committee's note (“Subdivision
(c)(1)(B) recognizes that a party need not always point to
specific record materials.... [A] party who does not have the
trial burden of production may rely on a showing that a party
who does have the trial burden cannot produce admissible
evidence to carry its burden as to the fact.”).
movant meets its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving
party to establish - with evidence beyond the pleadings -
that a genuine dispute material to each of its claims for
relief exists. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324. A
genuine dispute of material fact exists when the nonmoving
party produces evidence allowing a reasonable fact finder to
return a verdict in its favor. Waddell v. Valley Forge
Dental Assocs., 276 F.3d 1275, 1279 (11th Cir. 2001).
Koch Foods of Alabama, LLC ("Ala-Koch") is a
chicken processing facility in Montgomery, Alabama. Koch
Foods, Inc. ("Koch Foods") owns Ala-Koch and
several other processing facilities. On behalf of Ala-Koch,
Complex Human Resources (“HR”) Manager David
Birchfield hired Defendant Melissa McDickinson as a HR
Supervisor in 2014, and later promoted her to HR Manager of
the debone plant.
February 9, 2015, a temporary staffing agency assigned
Plaintiff to work at Ala-Koch as a temporary employee in the
HR department at the Ala-Koch debone plant. On March 9, 2015,
McDickinson hired Fuller as a full-time Ala-Koch employee to
work under her supervision. During the course of his
employment with Ala-Koch, Plaintiff alleges that McDickinson
sexually harassed him by kissing him, touching his chest,
placing her breasts on him, requesting sexual favors,
suggesting that he leave his family for her, asking him to
sit in her lap, calling him at home at inappropriate times,
and making sexual comments to him when she visited a bar that
Plaintiff owned and operated. Plaintiff alleged that he was
afraid to report the sexual harassment to Birchfield because
he had heard that Birchfield and McDickinson were in a sexual
relationship. In May 2015, Plaintiff sent an email to
Birchfield and McDickinson reporting a claim of racial
discrimination which another employee had reported to him
regarding disproportionate discipline received by
African-American employees. Two days later, McDickinson
terminated Plaintiff's employment on the basis that he
had abandoned his employment while he was attending his
son's elementary school graduation during his lunch
filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) on October 9, 2015, alleging
race discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. The
EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue letter to Plaintiff on
February 27, 2017. Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this court
on February 16, 2017. In the Third Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff averred the following counts:
Count I - Invasion of Privacy.
Count II - Assault and Battery.
Count III - Outrage.
Count IV - Negligent/Wanton Supervision, Training and
Retention against Koch Foods and Ala-Koch.
Count V - Retaliation against Defendants Koch Foods and
Ala-Koch arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, as amended
Count VI - Retaliation against Defendants Koch Foods and
Ala-Koch arising under 42 U.S.C. §1981 of the Civil
Rights Act of ...