Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Simmons v. O'Neill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Spartanburg Division

October 16, 2018

Morgan Simmons, Plaintiff,
v.
Spartanburg County, Defendant.[1]

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          Jacquelyn D. Austin United States Magistrate Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 44.] Plaintiff alleges race discrimination and retaliation claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”). [Doc. 1.] Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(g), D.S.C., all pretrial matters in employment discrimination cases are referred to a United States Magistrate Judge for consideration.

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed this action on August 31, 2017. [Doc. 1.] On June 25, 2018, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 44.] Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on July 24, 2018 [Doc. 53], and Defendant filed a reply on July 31, 2018 [Doc. 55]. Accordingly, the motion for summary judgment is ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         Defendant hired Plaintiff to work as a Technical Support Technician in the IT department July 2013. [Doc. 44-2 at 2-3.] Plaintiff's direct supervisor was Wyatt Shennan (“Shennan”), Client Services Manager, and Shennan's supervisor was Kim Danner (“Danner”), Director of Information Technology. [Id. at 3, 4; Doc. 55-2 ¶ 1.] On June 28, 2014, Plaintiff was promoted to work in the Communications/911 department. [Docs. 44-2 at 3; 55-2 ¶ 2.] Danner; Mike Flynn (“Flynn”), Director of Spartanburg County Communications/911; and Kevin White (“White”), IT Infrastructure Manager, selected Plaintiff for the position in the Communications/911 department. [Doc. 44-2 at 4.] Although Plaintiff's physical workplace changed, he never relinquished responsibilities in the IT department. [Doc. 55-2 ¶ 2; see Doc. 44-2 at 4, 10.] After Plaintiff was promoted to the Communications/911 department, Flynn was his director, and he could attend training with White. [Doc. 44-2 at 4.]

         Plaintiff, who is African American, alleges that he was discriminated against on October 2, 2014, when he was told he was not supposed to disable user accounts but white males were allowed to disable accounts. [Docs. 1-1 at 3; 53 at 3 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 1-4).] On May 8, 2015, he was not allowed to order cell phones even though his white, male co-worker was allowed to order cell phones without any cell phone experience. [Docs. 1 at 5, 6; 53 at 2 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 18, 20, 30-31).] Plaintiff contends that he was threatened with disciplinary action on December 22, 2015, for suggesting to a white male with 30 years of technology experience that he use new technology. [Docs. 1 at 5, 7; 53 at 1 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 11-14).]

         On February 10, 2016, Plaintiff completed an intake questionnaire with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), asserting that Defendant had discriminated against him on the basis of race. [Docs. 1 at 5; 1-1 at 3-6.] Plaintiff contends that he was subsequently retaliated against when his name was removed from an electronic mail distribution list that received help desk tickets from 911 [Doc. 53 at 3 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 8)], he was moved to a new office in March 2016 [Docs. 1 at 5, 7; 53 at 1], he was not invited to a recognition meeting [Doc. 53 at 2 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 15-16)], his yearly evaluation was changed [Docs. 1 at 5, 7; 53 at 3 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 63-64)], and he was denied training [Doc. 53 at 2 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 38-41)]. Further, Plaintiff was told to move on and that he was trying to set up another employee when he reported the employee for tampering with the network. [Id. at 3 (citing Doc. 53-1 at 54-57).] The EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights on June 12, 2017 [Doc. 1-1 at 1; see Id. at 2], and Plaintiff filed this action on August 31, 2017, asserting race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII [Doc. 1].[2]

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Liberal Construction of Pro Se Complaint

          Plaintiff brought this action pro se, which requires the Court to liberally construe his pleadings. Estelle, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978); Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978). Pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Haines, 404 U.S. at 520. Even under this less stringent standard, however, a pro se complaint is still subject to summary dismissal. Id. at 520-21. The mandated liberal construction means that only if the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the complainant could prevail, it should do so. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999). A court may not construct the complainant's legal arguments for him. Small v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993). Nor should a court “conjure up questions never squarely presented.” Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, as to a party who has moved for summary judgment:

The court shall grant summary judgment 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). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or non-existence would affect disposition of the case under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if the evidence offered is such that a reasonable jury might return a verdict for the non-movant. Id. at 257. When determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.