440 F.3d 350 (6th Cir. 2006), 04-3420, Amini v. Oberlin College

Docket Nº:04-3420.
Citation:440 F.3d 350
Party Name:Saeid B. AMINI, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. OBERLIN COLLEGE, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:March 10, 2006
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
 
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440 F.3d 350 (6th Cir. 2006)

Saeid B. AMINI, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

OBERLIN COLLEGE, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 04-3420.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.

March 10, 2006

Argued: June 7, 2005.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio at Cleveland., No. 00-00274—Lesley Brooks Wells, District Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

ARGUED:

Saeid B. Amini, LAW OFFICE OF SAEID B. AMINI, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant.

Michael J. Frantz, FRANTZ WARD, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Saeid B. Amini, LAW OFFICE OF SAEID B. AMINI, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellant.

Michael J. Frantz, Michael N.

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Chesney, FRANTZ WARD, Cleveland, Ohio, for Appellee.

Before: SILER and GIBBONS, Circuit Judges; LAWSON, District Judge.[*]

OPINION

DAVID M. LAWSON, District Judge.

For the second time, plaintiff Saeid B. Amini appeals the dismissal of his civil rights lawsuit. Amini applied for a job as an assistant professor of mathematics at defendant Oberlin College in 1998. He was not hired; in fact, he was not even interviewed for the position. He responded to the rejection by filing a lawsuit in the district court alleging discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, religious affiliation, and age under a variety of federal statutes. The district court dismissed the complaint, and this court reversed in part, remanding the racial discrimination count based on 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for further consideration. Thereafter, the district court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment on that remaining count, which is the subject of the present appeal. We affirm.

I.

The plaintiff is an Iranian-born Muslim who has lived in the United States since 1977. He holds a bachelor of science degree in statistics and information science from the Iranian Institute of Statistics & Information Science, a masters of science degree in applied mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a doctorate degree in statistics from the University of Iowa. While teaching at Case Western Reserve University, he earned masters of business administration and juris doctorate degrees. The plaintiff is admitted to practice law in New York, Florida, and Ohio. He taught over ten years and has an extensive record of publishing his work.

The defendant, Oberlin College, located in Oberlin, Ohio, purports to be an equal opportunity employer, engages in affirmative action hiring, and has a reputation for providing equal opportunities for minorities. In September 1998, Oberlin circulated in journals and on the Internet an advertisement for an assistant professor tenure-track position in the mathematics department to begin in the fall semester of 1999 and lasting a term of four years. The employment notice stated:

COLLEGE OF ARTS & SCIENCES, OBERLIN COLLEGE

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

The Department of Mathematics at Oberlin College invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track faculty position in the College of Arts and Sciences. Appointment to this position will be for a term of four years, beginning Fall Semester 1999 and will carry the rank of Assistant Professor.

The incumbent will teach courses in the general area of undergraduate statistics and/or mathematics (5 courses/year). All research specialties in statistics and related fields will be considered. He or she will also be expected to participate in full range of faculty responsibilities, including supervising honors students, academic advising, service on committees, and sustained scholarly research and/or other creative work.

Among the qualifications required for appointment is the Ph.D. degree in Statistics

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or Mathematics (in hand or expected by August 31, 1999). Candidates must demonstrate interest and potential excellence in undergraduate teaching. Successful teaching experience at the college level is desirable.

To be assured of consideration, letters of application, including a curriculum vitae, graduate and undergraduate academic transcripts, and at least three letters of reference, should be sent to Jeffrey Witmer, Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, 44074, by November 15, 1998. Application materials received after that date may be considered until the position is filled. Salary will depend on qualifications and experience. Oberlin College has admitted women since its founding in 1833 and has been historically a leader in the education of blacks. The Mathematics Department has a strong record of producing students who earn Ph.D. degrees in the mathematical sciences.

September 18, 1998

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

J.A. at 206. Department Chairman Michael Henle and Professors of Mathematics Jeffrey Witmer and Robert Bosch formed an informal recruiting and hiring committee for the position.

Amini was unemployed at the time and applied for the position, submitting a cover letter dated October 9, 1998, a short resume, and a version of his full curriculum vitae. The cover letter described the highlights of his teaching experience, awards, and his multidisciplinary work experience, and it disclosed that Case Western Reserve University denied him a tenure position with its medical school. Oberlin sent a letter dated October 14, 1998 informing Amini that his application lacked educational transcripts and three letters of reference. In response, Amini supplemented his application with three letters of reference and one transcript along with a cover letter dated November 23, 1998 offering to provide additional information upon request. The recommendation letters related to the appellant's applications for tenure with Case Western Reserve University and were dated May 14, 1992, May 15, 1995, and September 26, 1996. Oberlin apparently considered the letters deserving of less weight because the applicant sent them unsealed, so they were not "confidential." Oberlin did not pursue the plaintiff's invitation to request additional materials.

Dr. Chris Andrews, the ultimately successful candidate and a former Oberlin College student, contacted Dr. Henle in October of 1998 to demonstrate interest in applying for the open position and to request a letter of recommendation. Dr. Henle already had written a letter of recommendation for Dr. Andrews in connection with a position at another academic institution. Andrews had received a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Oberlin College, a masters degree in mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University. He had experience teaching at Oberlin College with the texts utilized by the Mathematics department. Completion of a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellowship distinguished him from his peers. The father of Dr. Andrews had taught as a statistician at Oberlin until taking a position as the college's director of athletics, which created the vacancy for a statistics professor. At the time Dr. Andrews applied for his father's position at Oberlin, he taught at Lafayette College and had not yet completed one semester there.

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Dr. Henle added to Dr. Andrews' application file by providing a letter of recommendation. He also testified that he was concerned about complications that Dr. Andrews' application created for the...

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