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Hawkins v. Allegion, PLC

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

January 3, 2019

ALLEGION, PLC, Defendant.


          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff Cameron Hawkins filed this Title VII employment action on December 14, 2017. [Filing No. 1.] Following the filing of various pleading amendments, [Filing No. 23; Filing No. 32], and a period of discovery, Defendant Allegion, plc[1] (“Allegion”) filed its Motion for Summary Judgment, [Filing No. 54], which is currently pending before the Court. Mr. Hawkins failed to respond in the allotted time, and to date has not responded. The Motion is therefore ripe, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the Motion for the reasons set forth below.

         I. Legal Standard

         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, that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. SeeFed. 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 suffice to defeat summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (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 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).

         By failing to respond to Allegion's Motion for Summary Judgment, Mr. Hawkins has conceded Allegion's version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but it does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relevant to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Background

         As set forth above, while the following facts are presented in the light most favorable to Mr. Hawkins as the nonmoving party, they are limited to those presented in Allegion's version of the facts due to Mr. Hawkins' failure to respond to Allegion's Motion. Furthermore, the recitation of the facts is limited to those necessary for resolving the issues presented by Allegion's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         A. Mr. Hawkins' Employment at Allegion

         Mr. Hawkins began his employment with Allegion in March 2013. [Filing No. 55-2 at 1.] The plant at which Mr. Hawkins worked manufactured locks and related devices for doors. [Filing No. 55-2 at 7.] From June 2016 until his eventual discharge in June 2017, Mr. Hawkins worked as a “receiving clerk.” [Filing No. 55-2 at 8.] Up until his termination, Mr. Hawkins had a satisfactory performance record and was awarded a raise based upon his performance. [Filing No. 55-4 at 2.]

         B. September 2015 EEOC Charge

          In September 2015, Mr. Hawkins filed an EEOC charge, alleging that he had suffered harassment and race discrimination. [Filing No. 55-2 at 50-51; Filing No. 32-1 at 4.] Allegion and the EEOC investigated Mr. Hawkins' complaints, which based upon his deposition testimony involved someone printing a Confederate flag on the company computer. [Filing No. 55-2 at 63-64.] Mr. Hawkins elected not to sue after he received his right-to-sue letter from the EEOC. [Filing No. 55-2 at 17.] The September 2015 EEOC charge was the only charge Mr. Hawkins filed during his employment with Allegion. [Filing No. 55-2 at 10.] Neither Ernest Maul nor Dimo Vckov, the two supervisors responsible for terminating Mr. Hawkins in 2017, were supervising Mr. Hawkins at the time of his September 2015 EEOC charge, and neither were aware of the September 2015 EEOC charge until after Mr. Hawkins' termination. [Filing No. 55-2 at 51; Filing No. 55-3 at 3-4; Filing No. 55-4 at 3-4.]

         C. Events Leading to Mr. ...

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