906 F.2d 1017 (5th Cir. 1990), 89-2664, Fields v. Hallsville Independent School Dist.

Docket Nº:89-2664.
Citation:906 F.2d 1017
Party Name:Allene FIELDS and Earine Daniels, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. HALLSVILLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 03, 1990
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 1017

906 F.2d 1017 (5th Cir. 1990)

Allene FIELDS and Earine Daniels, Plaintiffs-Appellants,



No. 89-2664.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

July 3, 1990

Rehearing Denied July 30, 1990.

Page 1018

Larry R. Daves, Daves, Hahn & Levy, San Antonio, Tex., for plaintiffs-appellants.

John F. Bufe, Potter, Guinn, Minton, Roberts & Davis, Tyler, Tex., for Hallsville Independent School Dist., et al.

Kevin O'Hanlon, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jim Mattox, Atty. Gen., Austin, Tex., for State of Tex.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

Before POLITZ, KING and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiffs Allene Fields and Earine Daniels (collectively, Teachers) appeal from the district court's grant of summary judgment to all defendants in this discrimination action. We conclude that Teachers failed to put forth evidence creating a genuine issue that the State of Texas or certain officials or agencies of the State were their employers. We also hold that Teachers failed to present evidence that they applied for subsequent vacancies at Hallsville Independent School District after being fired.


After Teachers failed to pass a compulsory certification examination--the Texas Examination for Current Administrators and Teachers (TECAT)--they were terminated from their teaching positions at Hallsville Independent School District (HISD). Teachers obtained right to sue letters from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Teachers claimed that the Texas Education Agency, Texas Commissioner of Education, Texas State Board of Education and State of Texas (collectively, the State), chose a cut-off score on the TECAT that worked to discriminate against them based on age and/or race. 1 Teachers also claimed that HISD discriminated against them, subsequent to their termination, by failing or refusing to consider them for non-certified positions that became available the following school year.

Teachers were special education instructors for HISD. Plaintiff, Allene Fields, a 61 year-old black woman, had been employed by HISD for 14 years, while plaintiff, Earine Daniels, a 59 year-old black woman, had worked at HISD for 11 years. Both obtained contracts for the 1986-87 school year conditioned upon passage of the TECAT examination. Teachers each took the TECAT twice but failed on each attempt.

Page 1019

After receiving their results, Teachers requested the HISD Board of Trustees (Board) to waive the TECAT requirement so that they could retain their positions. On August 28, 1986, Teachers, along with two other persons failing the exam, appeared before the Board with their union representative. The union representative, on behalf of Teachers, requested a waiver or, in the alternative, asked that they be considered for non-certified positions (positions not requiring passage of the TECAT). The Board denied Teachers' waiver request but ordered the Superintendent to write Teachers "advising them that upon their successful passage of the TECAT examination, and if they so desire, they will be considered for future employment on an equal basis with other applicants in their field of preparation and experience." Teachers did not subsequently take or pass the TECAT. Nor did Teachers ever fill out a written application or otherwise express a desire to be considered for arising vacancies. Over one year after Teachers meeting with the Board, the first non-certified teachers aide positions became available. These positions were filled by other persons.

HISD and the State defendants each moved for summary judgment. The district court granted these motions finding, inter alia, that the State was not Teachers' employer and that Teachers had not applied for subsequent vacancies at HISD.


Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper if there is "no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. "[T]he plaintiff must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2514, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). This requires that a plaintiff "make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an[y] element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The standard for reviewing a summary judgment on appeal is...

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