United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, District Judge.
Presently pending before the Court in this action brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified as amended at 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), and the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, is a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Morse Moving & Storage, Inc. ("Morse"). [Filing No. 30.]
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Hampton v. Ford Motor Co., 561 F.3d 709, 713 (7th Cir. 2009). In other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute, summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not outcome determinative. Harper v. Vigilant Ins. Co., 433 F.3d 521, 525 (7th Cir. 2005). Fact disputes that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed. 202 (1986).
On summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of the events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if no reasonable factfinder could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller, 570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has "repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them, " Johnson, 325 F.3d at 898. Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).
The Court notes at the outset that Plaintiffs have not complied with Local Rule 56-1(b), which provides that a response to a motion for summary judgment "must include a section labeled Statement of Material Facts in Dispute' that identifies the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment." Instead, Plaintiffs include a section titled "Statement of Material Facts, " [Filing No. 39 at 2], which provides their version of events but without tying the version to alleged inaccuracies in Morse's Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute. This approach does not comply with Local Rule 56-1(b), and has made review of the pending motion unnecessarily cumbersome.
The Court has attempted to sift through Plaintiffs' version of events, determine which facts set forth by Morse they dispute, and construe disputed facts in their favor in connection with Morse's motion when they have provided citations to evidence in the record. But failure to comply with Local Rule 56-1(b) can result in a concession of the movant's version of events. See, e.g., Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994) (the Seventh Circuit has "repeatedly upheld the strict enforcement of these rules, sustaining the entry of summary judgment when the non-movant has failed to submit a factual statement in the form called for by the pertinent rule and thereby conceded the movant's version of the facts").
Giving Plaintiffs, as the non-movants, the benefit of all reasonable inferences from the evidence adduced in connection with the present motion, the Court finds the following to be the undisputed facts, supported by admissible evidence in the record:
A. Employee Pay at Morse
1. Mr. Cartlidge
Morse is a moving business primarily involved in moving and storing household goods and personal belongings. [Filing No. 32-4 at 3.] Mr. Cartlidge, who is African American, applied for a position at Morse in 2011, and on his application for employment, he indicated he would accept at minimum $11 per hour. [Filing No. 39-2 at 3.] After one interview with Pat McGinley, General Manager at Morse, Mr. Cartlidge was offered a position as a driver and warehouse worker. [Filing No. 39-2 at 3-4.] Mr. Cartlidge believed he would be paid between $14 and $15, as the Morse website had advertised. [Filing No. 32-1 at 4.] Mr. Cartlidge had no moving experience prior to working at Morse. [Filing No. 32-1 at 3.] When he began working at Morse as a Class C driver in July 2011, he was paid $11 per hour. [Filing No. 39-1 at 2; Filing No. 39-2 at 4.]
When Mr. Cartlidge learned others were paid more than him at Morse, he asked Mr. McGinley for a raise. [Filing No. 32-1 at 5.] Mr. McGinley informed Mr. Cartlidge that he had little experience with moving, and should come back once he had learned how to do the office paperwork. [Filing No. 32-1 at 5.] After Mr. Cartlidge learned how to do the paperwork from another employee, Darlena Morris, Mr. Cartlidge again requested a raise from Mr. McGinley and Jeff Haddix, Operations Manager at Morse. [Filing No. 32-1 at 5-6.] However, Mr. Cartlidge was informed by Mr. McGinley that he would not be getting a raise at that time. [Filing No. 32-1 at 5.] In the spring of 2012, Mr. Cartlidge again requested a raise from Mr. McGinley. [Filing No. 32-1 at 6.] However, his request went unanswered and Mr. Cartlidge never received a raise. [Filing No. 32-1 at 6.] While at Morse, Mr. Cartlidge felt he was treated unequally because he was not paid the amount advertised, but did not know if it was because of his race. [Filing No. 32-1 at 6.]
2. Mr. Jackson
Mr. Jackson, who is African American, applied for a position with Morse in 2012, and indicated on his application for employment that he would accept at minimum $12 per hour. [Filing No. 32-2 at 17.] After one interview with Mr. McGinley and Mr. Haddix, Mr. Jackson was offered a position as a driver. [Filing No. 32-2 at 5.] Mr. Jackson did not have moving experience prior to working at Morse. [Filing No. 32-4 at 6.] He began working for Morse as a Class A driver in October 2012 at a rate of $13 per hour. [Filing No. 32-2 at 5.] Subsequently, he learned that Morse's website advertised that Class A drivers received $15 per hour, but never raised the issue of pay because he did not want to cause problems and felt that if Morse had wanted to pay him that rate, then it would have. [Filing No. 32-2 at 6.]
3. Other Employees
Between 2010 and 2012, Morse employed sixty-eight different employees in Indianapolis. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Twenty-six of those employees were drivers. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Employees were paid on a scale that factored in experience and the type of license they held. [Filing No. 39-4 at 5.] Mr. McGinley had the discretion to pay wages between $13 per hour and $15 per hour for Class A drivers, before he had to seek approval from upper management. [Filing No. 39-4 at 7-8.] Mr. McGinley and Mr. Haddix were both responsible for scheduling employees. [Filing No. 32-3 at 3.] They also had the discretion to determine what jobs employees were assigned to complete. [Filing No. 39-5 at 11.] For example, they determined what employees received higher paying jobs rather than the small jobs that did not pay as well. [Filing No. 39-5 at 11.]
The pay range for Class C drivers ranged from $9 per hour to $13 per hour. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Morse employed fourteen different Class C drivers. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Mr. Cartlidge was the only Class C driver listed as African American in Morse's records. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Eight of the Class C drivers listed as white made more than Mr. Cartlidge. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.]
For Class A drivers, the pay range was $13 per hour to $14 per hour. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Morse employed five Class A drivers. [Filing No. 32-7 at 9-10.] Two of the Class A drivers were white, and they both ...