United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
T. MOODY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.
case stems from the former employment relationship between
plaintiff Freshawna Bryant and the United States Postal
Service, represented in this suit by defendant Megan J.
Brennan, Postmaster General. Plaintiff’s complaint
alleges that defendant discriminated against her on the basis
of her race and gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 et seq.
(“Title VII”), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
moved for summary judgment on October 25, 2018. (DE # 32.)
Plaintiff, who is represented by counsel, failed to respond.
Defendant moved for summary ruling. (DE # 34.) The motions
are now ripe for ruling.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 allows for the entry of summary
judgment 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). “[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 quotation marks omitted).
“[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by
‘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.
plaintiff failed to file a response to defendant’s
motion for summary judgment, defendant is entitled to summary
ruling on the motion – that is, a ruling without the
benefit of plaintiff’s response. However, even in a
summary ruling posture, the court must find that “given
the undisputed facts, summary judgment is proper as a matter
of law.” Wienco, Inc. v. Katahn Assoc., Inc.,
965 F.2d 565, 568 (7th Cir. 1992).
legal analysis for discrimination claims under Title VII and
Section 1981 is identical, so the court merges its discussion
of the two claims. Smith v. Chicago Transit Auth.,
806 F.3d 900, 904 (7th Cir. 2015). Little discussion is
well-known that for a discrimination claim to survive the
summary judgment phase, the evidence must permit a reasonable
factfinder to conclude that the plaintiff’s race or
gender (or other proscribed factor) caused an adverse
employment action. Ortiz v. Werner Enterprises,
Inc., 834 F.3d 760, 765 (7th Cir. 2016). The burden-
shifting framework articulated in McDonnell Douglas Corp.
v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), may assist a plaintiff in
convincing a court that the evidence permits such a
conclusion, but that framework requires a plaintiff to
establish a prima facie case of discrimination and,
ultimately, pretext, in order to be successful. Id.
Plaintiff has not attempted to take advantage of
McDonnell Douglas, and, in any case, the court sees
no support for any such argument in the record. Nor is there
any evidence from which a reasonable factfinder could more
generally conclude that plaintiff’s race or gender
caused an adverse employment action. Ortiz, 834 F.3d
ultimately bears the burden of proof on the question of
discrimination. St. Mary’s Honor Ctr. v.
Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 511 (1993). Thus, by pointing out
an absence of evidence on the question of discrimination,
defendant has discharged her own burden in connection with
her motion for summary judgment. Celotex, 477 U.S.
motion for summary judgment (DE # 32) and motion for summary
ruling (DE # 34) are GRANTED. The court
directs the Clerk to ENTER FINAL
Judgment is entered in favor of defendant Megan J. Brennan,
Postmaster General, and against plaintiff Freshawna Bryant,
who shall ...