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Joll v. Valparaiso Community Schools

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

June 4, 2018

MOLLY JOLL, Plaintiff,
v.
VALPARAISO COMMUNITY SCHOOLS, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 23], filed by Defendant Valparaiso Community Schools on October 19, 2017. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

         I. Procedural Background

         On July 19, 2016, Plaintiff Molly Joll filed a Complaint alleging that she was discriminated against on the basis of her age and/or gender when she was not selected by Defendant for either high school coaching position for which she applied and was interviewed, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. On October 19, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff filed a response on December 1, 2017, and on December 18, 2017, Defendant filed a reply.

         The parties filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandate that motions for summary judgment be granted “if 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). Rule 56 further requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, against a party “who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). “[S]ummary judgment is appropriate - in fact, is mandated - where there are no disputed issues of material fact and the movant must prevail as a matter of law. In other words, the record must reveal that no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party.” Dempsey v. Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 16 F.3d 832, 836 (7th Cir. 1994) (citations and quotations omitted).

         A party seeking summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party may discharge its initial responsibility by simply “‘showing' - that is, pointing out to the district court - that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. When the nonmoving party would have the burden of proof at trial, the moving party is not required to support its motion with affidavits or other similar materials negating the opponent's claim. Id. at 323, 325; Green v. Whiteco Indus., Inc., 17 F.3d 199, 201 n.3 (7th Cir. 1994); Fitzpatrick v. Catholic Bishop of Chi., 916 F.2d 1254, 1256 (7th Cir. 1990). However, the moving party, if it chooses, may support its motion for summary judgment with affidavits or other materials, and, if the moving party has “produced sufficient evidence to support a conclusion that there are no genuine issues for trial, ” then the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show that an issue of material fact exists. Becker v. Tenenbaum-Hill Assoc., 914 F.2d 107, 110-111 (7th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted); see also Hong v. Children's Mem'l Hosp., 993 F.2d 1257, 1261 (7th Cir. 1993).

         Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the non-moving party cannot resist the motion and withstand summary judgment by merely resting on its pleadings. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Donovan v. City of Milwaukee, 17 F.3d 944, 947 (7th Cir. 1994). Rule 56(e) provides that “[i]f a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion [or] grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials - including the facts considered undisputed - show that the movant is entitled to it . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2), (3); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-50 (1986). Thus, to demonstrate a genuine issue of fact, the nonmoving party must “do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” but must “come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)) (emphasis in original).

         In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all legitimate inferences in favor of that party. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255; Srail v. Vill. of Lisle, 588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009); NLFC, Inc. v. Devcom Mid-Am., Inc., 45 F.3d 231, 234 (7th Cir. 1995). A court's role is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to judge the credibility of witnesses, or to determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact. See Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50.

         III. Material Facts

         Northern District of Indiana Local Rule 56-1 requires the moving party to include with its motion for summary judgment a “‘Statement of Material Facts' that identifies the facts that the moving party contends are not genuinely disputed.” N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(a). In response, the opposing party is obligated to file a “‘Statement of Genuine Disputes' that identifies the material facts that the party contends are genuinely disputed.” N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1(b)(2). In this case, as the moving party, Defendant has submitted a Statement of Material Facts, along with appropriate citations to supporting evidence. Plaintiff has not submitted a Statement of Genuine Disputes. She has included a “Statement of Facts, ” with some citations to evidence, but does not clearly identify which of Defendant's facts, if any, she disagrees with, and Defendant objects that some of the evidence she relies upon is inadmissible. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In the interest of justice, the Court has attempted to ascertain areas of dispute, but reminds counsel for Plaintiff that failure to comply with applicable rules can be fatal to their client's case. See Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994) (noting that the Seventh Circuit has routinely sustained “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”).

         Plaintiff began working for Defendant Valparaiso Community Schools in 1991 as a middle school teacher. In addition to her work as a teacher, she has also coached track and cross country at the middle school level, was an assistant cross country coach at the college level from approximately 1994 until 2004, and coached track at the high school level prior to 1995.

         In June 2014, Plaintiff applied for the position of assistant girls' cross country coach for the high school. She interviewed for the position with the high school principal and head coach. In mid-July, the athletic director advised Plaintiff that she was not selected, and when she asked, he informed her that the person they chose had more recent high school coaching experience. The selected assistant ...


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