Ashiegbu v. Purviance, No. C-2-98-28.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
Writing for the CourtKinneary
Citation74 F.Supp.2d 740
Docket NumberNo. C-2-98-28.
Decision Date17 November 1998
PartiesCletus O. ASHIEGBU, Plaintiff, v. Penny PURVIANCE, et al., Defendants.
74 F.Supp.2d 740
Cletus O. ASHIEGBU, Plaintiff,
v.
Penny PURVIANCE, et al., Defendants.
No. C-2-98-28.
United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division.
November 17, 1998.
Order Denying Reconsideration, December 17, 1998.

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Cletus O. Ashiegbu, Columbus, OH, pro se.

Margaret A. Telb, Employment Law Section, Columbus, OH, for Penny Purviance, Ike Lively, Randy Headley, Joyce Michell, Sue Creager, Joseph Harper, Judy Jones, Randy Ferguston, Sheilba Berger.

Frank H. Cook, Department of Law, Columbus, OH, for Sandy Bartley-Buzas.

OPINION AND ORDER

KINNEARY, District Judge.


This matter is before the Court on two motions filed by the sole remaining Defendant, Sandra Bartley-Buzas. The first matter for this Court's consideration is Defendant's motion for relief from the scheduling Order of this Court pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 60(b). The second matter before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that both motions are meritorious. The Court GRANTS Defendant's motion for relief and GRANTS Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. FACTS

On January 8, 1998, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a document which the Court interprets as his Complaint.1 Plaintiff brings his Complaint against Sandra Bartley-Buzas ("Defendant") in her individual capacity. (Doc. # 2 at ¶ 1.) Plaintiff apparently alleges that Defendant deprived him of his civil rights by denying him employment with the City of Columbus. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant "occup[ies] high level placement capacity" and "exercise[s] significant placement authorit[y]." (Id. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant is "not [an] ordinary employee[ ] of a mere clerical [routine] duty [sic]." (Id.)

From the Court's reading of Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he sought work from the City of Columbus. Apparently, Plaintiff believes that Defendant "never made herself available" to see him in response to his desire to work for the City. (Id. at ¶ 11.) "Even[ ] when she was in the office, she would still say she was not available. Up to now, she has not responded to a very important referral letter sent to her [on] behalf of the Plaintiff." (Id.)

In her motion for summary judgment, Defendant is able to shed some light on Plaintiff's claims. Sometime in 1993 — Plaintiff states that it was 1995 — Plaintiff walked into the City of Columbus's Mayor's Office and sought employment. Defendant, the Special Assistant to the Mayor for International Affairs, met with Plaintiff. Plaintiff informed Defendant that he was in search of a job and was studying to receive his Masters' degree from The Ohio State University. Defendant told Plaintiff that no jobs were available in the Mayor's Office and that she did not have authority to hire employees. Defendant took a copy of Plaintiff's resume and directed

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him to the Columbus Civil Service Commission where he could formally apply for a job from the City of Columbus.

Defendant claims that Plaintiff then made a number of unannounced visits to her office. Defendant told Plaintiff that she could not help him. Sometimes, Defendant did not make herself available to Plaintiff due to her schedule.

Around August 1, 1994, Defendant claims she received a referral letter for employment on behalf of Plaintiff from Beth Irvin of the Columbus Convention Center and Visitor's Bureau. The letter indicated that Ms. Irvin was "sending Linda Readey (Community Relations volunteer coordinator for the U.N. Summit on Trade Efficiency being convened in Columbus in October 1994) a copy of [Plaintiff's] resume and this letter" and asked Defendant if she "might have some suggestions" for Plaintiff. (Doc. # 22, Bartley-Buzas Aff. at ¶ 9.) Because the letter was not a request for employment, Defendant claims she took no further action with respect to the letter. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

In his Complaint, Plaintiff apparently alleges that Defendant acted in concert with other Defendants (previously dismissed by Order of this Court) to collectively conspire to violate Plaintiff's rights. In addition, Plaintiff claims that Defendant discriminated against him by not allowing him to find work with the City. In furtherance of his claim, Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that Defendant violated 42 U.S.C. §§ 1980 - 1986 (1996) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (including 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (1996)).2 In his demand, Plaintiff seeks over $20 million. Defendant now moves for summary judgment on all of Plaintiff's claims against her.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate only in a limited number of circumstances. Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in pertinent part, that summary judgment shall be granted only:

if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the burden of establishing the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact. See Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). This burden on the moving party may be discharged by "showing" that "there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). The Supreme Court held that the standard of summary judgment "mirrors the standard for a directed verdict under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 50(a), which is that the trial judge must direct a verdict if, under the governing law, there can be but one reasonable conclusion as to the verdict." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). This is true where, for instance, the dispute turns only on a legal question and the moving party must prevail as a matter of law even if the court were to resolve all factual disputes in favor of the non-moving party. See Ross v. Franzen, 777 F.2d 1216, 1222 (7th Cir.1985).

In addition, a summary judgment motion requires special treatment of the record. The Court "must view the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden" and determine "whether reasonable jurors could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict...." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106

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S.Ct. 2505; see also Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. Nonetheless, in making this determination the Court may not impinge upon the proper function of the jury. Therefore, all of "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505. The nonmoving party does have the burden, however, after completion of sufficient discovery, to submit evidence in support of any material element of a claim or defense on which that party would bear the burden of proof at trial, even if the moving party has not submitted evidence to negate the existence of that material fact. See Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548. If the nonmoving party presents evidence that is "merely colorable" or "not significantly probative," then summary judgment must be granted. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50, 106 S.Ct. 2505.

In this case, Plaintiff is proceeding pro se. A pro se litigant's pleadings are to be construed liberally and held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21, 92 S.Ct. 594, 30 L.Ed.2d 652 (1972); see also Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976) A court should make a reasonable attempt to read the pleadings to state a valid claim on which the plaintiff could prevail, despite the plaintiff's failure to cite proper legal authority, his confusion of various legal theories, his poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with the pleading requirements. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.1991). This standard does not mean, however, that pro se plaintiffs are entitled to take every case to trial. See Pilgrim v. Littlefield, 92 F.3d 413, 416 (6th Cir.1996). Indeed, courts should not assume the role of advocate for the pro se litigant. See Hall, 935 F.2d at 1110. It is with these standards in mind that the instant motion must be decided.

III. ANALYSIS

Defendant seeks dismissal of Plaintiff's Complaint on a number of different grounds. The Court will consider her arguments in the order presented in her motion. (See Doc. # 22 at 5-13.) However, before examining Defendant's motion for summary judgment, the Court must examine Defendant's motion for relief.

A. Motion for Relief

On October 30, 1998, Defendant filed a motion for relief from judgment pursuant to Rule 60(b). Rule 60(b) allows a court to "relieve a party or a party's legal representative from [an] ... order ... for the following reasons: (1) mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect...." Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b).

In this case, the basis of Defendant's motion is excusable neglect. Specifically, Defendant indicates that "Defendant's counsel was preparing for two trials set during and shortly after that time period. The filing period was inadvertently missed as a result. The three-week delay in filing the Motion was excusable neglect." (Doc. # 27 at 2.) In the motion, Defendant also indicates that "Plaintiff was not materially harmed by the three-week delay and was given ample opportunity by the Court to respond to [D]efendant's Motion for Summary Judgment after it was filed, including an extension of time to respond to the Motion." (Id.)

On November 9, 1998, Plaintiff...

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42 practice notes
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
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    ...legal theories, his poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with the pleading requirements." Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F.Supp.2d 740, 746 (S.D.Ohio 1998), citing, Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.1991). Here, the Court finds that a final agency determinatio......
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    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F. Supp.2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (Kinneary, J.) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)). "This standard does not mean, however,......
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    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
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    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F. Supp. 2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)).B. Dismissal Defendants move for dismissal under both......
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 18 d2 Outubro d2 2022
    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F.Supp.2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)). “This standard does not mean, however, that pro se pla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Ndiaye v. Cvs Pharmacy 6081, No. 1:06cv870.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 3 d1 Março d1 2008
    ...legal theories, his poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity with the pleading requirements." Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F.Supp.2d 740, 746 (S.D.Ohio 1998), citing, Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.1991). Here, the Court finds that a final agency determinatio......
  • Sessley v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Case No.2:11-cv-348
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 6 d2 Março d2 2012
    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F. Supp.2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (Kinneary, J.) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)). "This standard does not mean, however,......
  • Wray v. Donahue, Case No. 2:13-cv-1006
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 21 d4 Agosto d4 2014
    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F. Supp. 2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)).B. Dismissal Defendants move for dismissal under both......
  • Muhammad v. Gibson, 2:21-cv-4165
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • 18 d2 Outubro d2 2022
    ...of various legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Ashiegbu v. Purviance, 74 F.Supp.2d 740, 749 (S.D. Ohio 1998) (citing Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991)). “This standard does not mean, however, that pro se pla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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