United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Pratt Industries
(U.S.A.) Inc.'s Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 67].
The Plaintiff, Calvin Dunn, filed a Complaint [ECF No. 1] on
July 13, 2012, alleging race discrimination and retaliation,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 2000, Title VII, and to 42
U.S.C. § 1981. This matter is fully briefed and ripe for
the Court's review.
OF THE CASE
otherwise specified, the following material facts are not in
dispute. The Plaintiff, an African American man, applied to
work as a truck driver for the Defendant, a paper and
packaging company, on December 29, 2010. (Overstreet Decl.
¶ 3 & Attach. 2, ECF No. 72-1.) The Plaintiff had
prior experience as a truck driver with multiple companies.
(Attach. 2 at 2.) As part of the application process, the
Plaintiff submitted a paper application and was scheduled for
an in-person interview with Rebecca Lockwin, the
parties dispute the interim steps between the Plaintiff's
submission of his application and the scheduling of his
interview. The Plaintiff asserts that the Defendant's
internal policy required pre-approval of job applicants for
an in-person interview, which included a satisfactory motor
vehicle record (“MVR”) and a background check.
(Pl.'s Opp'n 6-7, ECF No. 80.) The Defendant argues
that a “clean” MVR was required for hiring
(Overstreet Decl. ¶ 12).Additionally, the Defendant
disputes that this internal policy was followed in the
Plaintiff's case, as his interview was expedited before
review of his MVR or a background check. (Lockwin Dep.
18:6-20:2, 22:1-22:22, ECF No. 72-4.)
interviewed the Plaintiff on January 6, 2011, but the parties
dispute how it concluded. The Defendant argues that Lockwin
did not offer the Plaintiff the position, as it was
conditional upon the completion of its MVR review.
(Id. 27:13-27:16, 30:11-30:25.) The Plaintiff argues
that Lockwin told him the job was his, asked how soon he
could start, and scheduled him for orientation the following
Monday. (Dunn Dep. 72:10-72:22, ECF No. 79-1.) The
Defendant's internal review of the Plaintiff's
application was completed on January 7, 2011, which came back
adversely as to both his MVR and background check (Overstreet
Decl. ¶ 8.) Shortly thereafter, Lockwin notified the
Plaintiff that he would not be hired as a truck driver.
(Lockwin Dep. 43:17-44:16, ECF No. 72-5.)
his rejection, the Plaintiff obtained a trucking job with
Perez Trucking in early 2011. (Lockwin Dep. 53:11-56:13.)
Esteban Perez owns and operates Perez Trucking, which
contracts with the Defendant to do runs from its Valparaiso
facility. (Id. 51:3-52:4.) Through his employment
with Perez Trucking, the Plaintiff worked on the
Defendant's premises, and on September 13, 2011, he
emailed the Defendant's corporate offices and claimed
that he “was lied to and discriminated against”
when it rejected his job application that January.
(Id. Ex. B.)
email, the Plaintiff alleged that “over 10 new drivers
have been hired” after he was rejected “and they
all have one similarity, they are all [Caucasian].”
(Id.) Additionally, he claimed that another
applicant without proper qualifications was hired because he
was a friend of a facility dispatcher. Finally, the Plaintiff
said that he was “writing down everything that will
strengthen my case.” (Id.) The Defendant
conducted an internal investigation of the Plaintiff's
claims and, two days after receiving the email, banned the
Plaintiff from its property and asked Perez Trucking to
assign a different driver to Valparaiso. (Req. for Admis.
Nos. 8, 10, ECF No. 69-8.) Although Perez Trucking did not
formally terminate the Plaintiff's employment,
reassignment of the Plaintiff led to his separation from the
company because Perez Trucking only had two truck drivers,
Perez and the Plaintiff. (Interrog. No. 5, ECF No. 79-4.)
ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Complaint, the Plaintiff alleged race discrimination against
the Defendant under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for
failing to hire him and then banning him from its property,
and retaliation under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
based on the Defendant's response to the Plaintiff's
September 13 email. The Plaintiff timely filed a
discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, which issued a final agency decision that was
adverse to his claims. (Answer ¶ 7, ECF No. 11; Compl.
¶ 7, ECF No. 1.) On July 13, 2012, the Plaintiff filed
his Complaint [ECF No. 1] with this Court. The Defendant
filed its Answer and Affirmative Defenses [ECF No. 11] on
September 18, 2012. Additionally, the Defendant filed a
Third-Party Complaint [ECF No. 18] against Third-Party
Defendant Perez Trucking on February 27, 2013, and Perez
Trucking filed its Answer [ECF No. 24] on June 3, 2013. After
the close of discovery, the Defendant and Perez Trucking
jointly stipulated to dismissal of the Third-Party Complaint
[ECF No. 57], which was granted on December 15, 2015 [ECF No.
58]. The Defendant moved for Summary Judgment on April 4,
2016 [ECF No. 67]. The Plaintiff filed his Opposition [ECF
No. 80] on July 8, 2016. The Defendant's Reply [ECF No.
87] was entered on September 2, 2016.
judgment is warranted 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). Summary judgment is the moment in
litigation where the nonmoving party is required to marshal
and present the court with evidence on which a reasonable
jury could rely to find in that party's favor.
Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d
651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). A court should only deny a motion
for summary judgment when the nonmoving party presents
admissible evidence that creates a genuine issue of material
fact. Luster v. Ill. Dep't of Corrs., 652 F.3d
726, 731 (7th Cir. 2011) (first citing United States v.
5443 Suffield Terrace, 607 F.3d 504, 510 (7th Cir.
2010); then citing Swearnigen-El v. Cook Cnty.
Sheriff's Dep't, 602 F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir.
2010)). A court's role in deciding a motion for summary
judgment “is not to sift through the evidence,
pondering the nuances and inconsistencies, and decide whom to
believe. [A] court has one task and one task only: to decide,
based on the evidence of record, whether there is any
material dispute of fact that requires a trial.”
Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920
(7th Cir. 1994). Material facts are those that are outcome
determinative under the applicable law. Smith v.
Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 427 (7th Cir. 1997). Although a
bare contention that an issue of material fact exists is
insufficient to create a factual dispute, a court must
construe all facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, view all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor, see Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485,
491-92 (7th Cir. 2000), and avoid “the temptation to
decide which party's version of the facts is more likely
true, ” Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770
(7th Cir. 2003).
Plaintiff “does not proceed upon Counts I and II of his
Complaint, which allege race discrimination under Title VII
and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.” (Opp'n 1 n.1, ECF No.
80.) Accordingly, the Court deems the Plaintiff's race
discrimination claims abandoned. Palmer v. Marion
Cnty., 327 F.3d 588, 597 (7th Cir. 2003). The Court
directs its attention to the Plaintiff's claims for
retaliation under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, as the