United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
For TERRENCE PREDDIE, Plaintiff: James D. Masur, II, ROBERT W. YORK & ASSOCIATES, Indianapolis, IN.
For BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY CONSOLIDATED SCHOOL CORPORATION, Defendant: Thomas J. Belcher, KELLEY BELCHER & BROWN, Bloomington, IN.
ENTRY ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, United States District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Defendant Bartholomew County Consolidated School Corporation's (" BCSC" ) Motion for Summary Judgment (Filing No. 28). Plaintiff Terrence Preddie (" Mr. Preddie" ) brought claims against BCSC under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (" Title VII" ); the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (" FMLA" ); the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (" ADA" ); the Civil Rights Act of 1886, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq.
(" § 1981" ); the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 1981a; and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 et seq. (" § 1983" ). Mr. Preddie alleges that BCSC discriminated and retaliated against him on the basis of race and disability, as well as interfered with his rights under FMLA. For the reasons set forth below, BCSC's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
I. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment is appropriate if " the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.Com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 489-90 (7th Cir. 2007). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews " the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in that party's favor." Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). However, " [a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial." Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490 (citation omitted). " In much the same way that a court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat the motion for summary judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the merits of a claim." Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citation and internal quotations omitted). " [N]either the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties . . . nor the existence of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts . . . is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment." Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129 F.3d 391, 395 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations and internal quotations omitted).
A. Objections to Evidence
As an initial matter, the Court notes that BCSC has objected in several respects to Mr. Preddie's affidavit in support of his evidence. Specifically, BCSC alleges that Mr. Preddie's affidavit (Filing No. 50-1) includes " self-serving conclusory statements not shown to be made on personal knowledge and contrary to his deposition testimony in this cause." (Filing No. 52 at ECF p. 9). The Court agrees that such discrepancies exist. For example, in Mr. Preddie's affidavit, he claims that Dr. Diane Clancy (" Dr. Clancy" ) told him that his " ongoing use of leave pursuant to BCSC policy, FMLA or the ADA was forbidden, and would result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination." Filing No. 50-1, at ECF p. 4. However, the statements in his affidavit directly conflict with his deposition testimony, in which he states he never requested FMLA leave or an accommodation under the ADA, and that he was never denied an accommodation for which he asked, either for his or his son's medical conditions. Preddie Dep. 54:21-56:13, 53:16-18 (Filing No. 30-1, at ECF p. 8); Preddie Dep. 26:11-27:8 (Filing No. 30-1, at ECF p. 3); Preddie Dep. 45:14-22 (Filing No. 30-1, at ECF p. 6). The Seventh Circuit has held that " [w]here deposition
and affidavit are in conflict, the affidavit is to be disregarded." Russell v. Acme-Evans Co., 51 F.3d 64, 67-68 (7th Cir. 1995). To reiterate, where deposition and affidavit are in conflict, the affidavit is to be disregarded unless it is demonstrable that the statement in the deposition was mistaken, perhaps because the question was phrased in a confusing manner or because a lapse of memory is in the circumstances a plausible explanation for the discrepancy. Slowiak v. Land O'Lakes, Inc., 987 F.2d 1293, 1297 (7th Cir.1993); Adelman-Tremblay v. Jewel Cos., supra, 859 F.2d at 520-21; Babrocky v. Jewel Food Co., 773 F.2d 857, 861-62 (7th Cir.1985). Here, there is no indication that the statements in the deposition resulted from mistake, confusion or lapse of memory.
In addition, Mr. Preddie's statements in his affidavit that his absences were protected by the FMLA or the ADA are legal conclusions which the Court need not accept as a basis for denying summary judgment. Holman v. Revere Elec. Supply Co., 154 F.App'x 501, 504 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Russell, 51 F.3d at 67 (" We have been highly critical of efforts to patch up a party's deposition with his own subsequent affidavit. . . . Almost all affidavits submitted in litigation are drafted by the lawyers rather than by the affiants." ). Therefore, the Court will not consider the facts in Mr. Preddie's affidavit to the extent they conflict with his deposition testimony or state legal conclusions.
The Court notes, however, that it does not discredit Mr. Preddie's affidavit responses on the bases that it is self-serving, recognizing that the term " self-serving" must not be used to denigrate perfectly admissible evidence through which a party tries to present its side of the story at summary judgment. See Hill v. Tangherlini, 724 F.3d 965, 967 (7th Cir. 2013).
B. Factual Background
The following facts are viewed in light most favorable to Mr. Preddie as the non-moving party. BCSC is a public school corporation providing education to children in grades K-12. Mr. Preddie is an African-American male who has diabetes and high blood pressure. He also has a young son, who suffers from Sickle Cell Anemia. Mr. Preddie began working for BCSC as a second grade teacher at Rockcreek Elementary School (" Rockcreek" ) for the 2009-2010 school year under the terms of a Teacher's Temporary Contract. He was hired under a temporary contract because the permanent second grade teacher at Rockcreek had taken a ...