Collier v. Clayton County Community Service Bd., No. CIV.A.1:00-CV-1547-J.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
Writing for the CourtCarnes
Citation236 F.Supp.2d 1345
PartiesMargaret COLLIER Plaintiff, v. THE CLAYTON COUNTY COMMUNITY SERVICE BOARD, et al. Defendants.
Decision Date30 September 2002
Docket NumberNo. CIV.A.1:00-CV-1547-J.
236 F.Supp.2d 1345
Margaret COLLIER Plaintiff,
v.
THE CLAYTON COUNTY COMMUNITY SERVICE BOARD, et al. Defendants.
No. CIV.A.1:00-CV-1547-J.
United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division.
September 30, 2002.

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David C. Ates, Miller Billip & Ates, Atlanta, GA, for Plaintiff.

Adam L. Appel and Kimberly N. Royal, Carlock Copeland Semier & Stair, Atlanta, GA, for Defendant.

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ORDER

CARNES, District Judge.


This case is before the Court on defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [45]; defendants' Motion to Compel the Production of plaintiff's medical records [38-1]; defendants' Motion to File a Brief in Excess of Pages [44]; and plaintiff's Motion to File a Reply Brief in Excess of Pages [53-1]. The Court has reviewed the record and the arguments of the parties and, for the reasons set out below, concludes that defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [45] should be GRANTED; defendants' motion to compel the production of plaintiff's medical records [38-1] should be DENIED AS MOOT; defendants' motion to file a brief in excess of pages [44] should be GRANTED; and plaintiff's motion to exceed page limitation in responding to defendants' brief that exceeds the page limit [53-1] should be GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On June 11, 2000, plaintiff Margaret Collier ("Collier" or "plaintiff") filed suit against the defendants alleging various causes of action relating to race discrimination and retaliation pursuant to several federal statutes. Collier is an African-American woman who was formerly employed as the Associate Director of the Clayton County Community Service Center (the "Center"). She alleges that she was not appointed to the position of Interim Executive Director due to her race and was subsequently "constructively discharged" from her position at the Center on June 15, 2000. (Compl. [1] ¶ 1.) She alleges that her constructive discharge was the result of racial discrimination and retaliation for complaining about the racial composition of the Clayton County Community Service Board ("the Board," the "the Center Board," or "CCCSB"), for filing a charge with the Equal Employment Commission ("EEOC"), and for exercising her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq.. The defendants in this action are the CCCSB, the CCCSB Chairman Bob Reynolds ("Reynolds"), CCCSB member A. Gene Gaissert ("Gaissert"), CCCSB member Mike McBroom ("McBroom"), CCCSB member Debbie Hibben ("Hibben"), and the individual appointed Interim Executive Director of the Center, Jimmy Wiggins ("Wiggins"), who, after the events at issue in this litigation, eventually became the permanent Executive Director.

Unless otherwise indicated, the Court draws the undisputed facts from "Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts" ("SMF") [29]. If, however, plaintiff has disputed a specific fact and pointed to evidence in the record supporting its version of events, the Court has viewed all evidence and factual inferences in the light most favorable to plaintiff, as required on a defendant's motion for summary judgment. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); McCabe v. Sharrett, 12 F.3d 1558, 1560 (11th Cir. 1994); Reynolds v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., 989 F.2d 465, 469 (11th Cir.1993). Accordingly, the following facts are either not disputed or are viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.

I. Factual Background

A. The CCCSB and the Center

The CCCSB is a statutorily created agency. Section 37-2-6 of the Georgia Code states in relevant part that:

There shall be created community mental health, mental retardation, and substance abuse service boards, in conformity with the areas established pursuant to subsection (b) of the Code Section 37-2-3, which shall govern publicly funded programs for the purpose of providing

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certain disability services not provided by other public or private providers under contract with the regional board. The programs shall be governed by the community service boards, which shall be established as public agencies.

O.C.G.A. § 37-2-6.1 The CCCSB is vested with the authority to oversee the Center, the vehicle through which it funnels mental health, mental retardation, and substance abuse services to Georgia residents. The Executive Director of the Center answers directly to the CCCSB. The CCCSB's members are appointed by the county governing authorities, in this case the Clayton County Commissioners, and serve in a voluntary capacity. See O.C.G.A. § 37-2-6(b)(3).2 The enabling statute does provide that the board membership will reflect the various groups served, taking into consideration cultural and social characteristics, such as gender, race, ethnicity, age, and disability demographics of the regional and county populations. See O.C.G.A. § 37-2-6(c).3

Community Service Boards, like the CCCSB, are the "third tier" of service providers for mental health, mental retardation, and substance abuse consumers in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse is the first line of services for persons seeking such assistance. See O.C.G.A. § 37-2-2.1. The second tier service providers are the regional boards. See O.C.G.A. § 37-2-5. The regional boards provide fiscal and clinical services oversight for community service boards and other agencies within their regions. See O.C.G.A. § 37-2-5-2. The Region II Board is the regional board that provides fiscal and clinical services oversight for the CCCSB.

At all times relevant to the instant action, the CCCSB was comprised of six volunteer members and one ex-officio member. (Hibben Dep. at 13-14.) The relevant members and their corresponding races are as follows: (1) defendant Reynolds, a white4 male who served as Chairperson

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of the CCCSB, (2) defendant McBroom, a white man; (3) Cecilia Owens ("Owens"), a black woman, (4) defendant Hibben, a white woman, (5) defendant Gaissert, a white woman, and (6) Paula Sherrer, a white woman. (See Br. In Supp. Of Summ. J. Mot. [45] at 5-6.)5 It is undisputed that all individually named defendants acted within the scope of their official duties as members of the CCCSB during all times relevant to this action. (SMF ¶¶ 8-11.) The ex-officio member of the CCCSB was Crandle Bray ("Bray"), a white man, who served as Chairperson of the Clayton County Commissioners.

Beginning in August 1999, the Center experienced severe financial problems and low staff morale. (SMF ¶ 16.) First, the Center operated under a budget deficit. Collier attributes the deficit situation not to her management, but to severe legislative budget cuts and to a change in the way Medicaid money was to be reimbursed to the organization. (PSMF ¶ 29.) Collier asserts that the fiscal situation was not unique to the Center, because community service centers throughout the State of Georgia were facing the same fiscal challenges due to the legislative reduction in the funding of such service centers. (Id.)

In addition to the financial strain on the Center, staff morale was low. (Owens Dep. at 23-24.) In November 1999, the CCCSB hired a consultant to conduct a confidential employee survey (the "Employee Survey") to gather the employees' comments regarding the operation of the Center. The result of the survey showed that 80-90% of the staff was displeased with the management of the Center. (SMF ¶ 17.) Although the Employee Survey was mostly multiple choice, approximately ten employees specifically wrote in criticism of the management style of plaintiff Collier and Executive Director David Ashe ("Ashe"). (Pl.'s Resp. To SMF [52] ¶ 17.) The survey revealed a strong distrust among many employees for Collier, and some staff threatened to "walk-out" if Collier was elevated in rank. (SMF ¶ 18.)6 Collier, however, avers that the

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survey results were not intended to nor designed as a rating or performance instrument and that the CCCSB was informed of this fact by the consultant who performed the survey. (Pl.'s Resp. To SMF [52] ¶ 17.)

B. Collier's Employment at the Clayton County Service Center

Collier first became affiliated with the Center in 1994 as a contract employee. (Pl.'s Stmt. Of Mat. Facts [52] ("PSMF") ¶ 12.)7 The duties of Collier's contract position included review of the child adolescent services program and design of day treatment services for the organization. (Id.) Collier's next position at the Center was entitled Child Adolescent Service Coordinator. (PSMF ¶ 14.) Her duties were to continue with the day treatment services program, to assume the responsibilities for child and adolescent services, and to perform a variety of administrative duties. (Id.) She served in this position until sometime in 1996. (PSMF ¶ 15.)

In 1996, the Center underwent a reorganization. The result of the reorganization was the creation of the Executive Director and Associate Director Positions, under whom the managers of various Center programs served. (PSMF ¶ 16.) Ashe served as Executive Director from 1997 until the end of January 2000. (PSMF ¶ 17.) In the 1996 reorganization, Collier applied for and received the position of Manager of Behavior Health Services. (PSMF ¶ 18.) Collier states that she spent most of her time reviewing service implementation issues and the remainder of her time completing administrative duties. (PSMF ¶ 20.)

After almost a year of serving as Manager of Behavior Health Services, Collier was promoted to the position of Associate Director of Clinical Services. (PSMF ¶ 22.) Collier had applied for the promotion and competed for the position against two other applicants, one of whom was defendant Wiggins. (PSMF ¶ 23.) Wiggins was given the position of Associate Director of Administrative Services, and was responsible for facilities maintenance and...

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8 practice notes
  • Bozeman v. Per-Se Technologies, Inc., No. 1:03-CV-3970-RLV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • October 16, 2006
    ...he has failed to demonstrate that this change' was objectively "adverse." See Collier v. The Clayton County Comm. Service Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1378-79 (N.D.Ga.2002), aff'd, 82 Fed.Appx. 222 (11th Cir. Sept.4, 2003) (Table); see also Greene v. Loewenstein, Inc., 99 F.Supp.2d 1373, 1383 (......
  • Mason v. Mass. Dep't of Envtl. Prot., Civil Action No. 09–12078–JLT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 29, 2011
    ...because of Eleventh Amendment immunity (citing Hale v. Mann, 219 F.3d 61 (2d Cir.2000))); Collier v. Clayton Cnty. Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1380 (N.D.Ga.2002) (allowing summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's personal medical leave FMLA retaliation claim because of Eleven......
  • Hartwell v. City of Montgomery, al, Civil Action No. 2:06cv518-MHT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • May 10, 2007
    ...Braswell v. Bd. of Regents, 369 F.Supp.2d 1371, 1379 (N.D.Ga. 2005) (Thrash, J.); see also Collier v. Clayton County Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1369 (N.D.Ga.2002) (Carnes, J.) (citing Hansen post-Hope), aff'd, 82 Fed.Appx. 222 (11th Cir.2003). The court notes that Holloman, 370 F.......
  • Echols v. Ga. Piedmont Tech. Coll., CIVIL ACTION FILE NO. 1:20-cv-02794-TWT-AJB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • January 22, 2021
    ...jurisdiction: 'The Eleventh Amendment restricts the judicial power under Article III.' " Collier v. Clayton Cnty. Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F. Supp. 2d 1345, 1363 (N.D. Ga. 2002) (Carnes, J.) (quoting Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 72-73 (1996)). Thus, it is generally recognized......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
8 cases
  • Bozeman v. Per-Se Technologies, Inc., No. 1:03-CV-3970-RLV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • October 16, 2006
    ...he has failed to demonstrate that this change' was objectively "adverse." See Collier v. The Clayton County Comm. Service Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1378-79 (N.D.Ga.2002), aff'd, 82 Fed.Appx. 222 (11th Cir. Sept.4, 2003) (Table); see also Greene v. Loewenstein, Inc., 99 F.Supp.2d 1373, 1383 (......
  • Mason v. Mass. Dep't of Envtl. Prot., Civil Action No. 09–12078–JLT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • March 29, 2011
    ...because of Eleventh Amendment immunity (citing Hale v. Mann, 219 F.3d 61 (2d Cir.2000))); Collier v. Clayton Cnty. Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1380 (N.D.Ga.2002) (allowing summary judgment for defendants on plaintiff's personal medical leave FMLA retaliation claim because of Eleven......
  • Hartwell v. City of Montgomery, al, Civil Action No. 2:06cv518-MHT.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • May 10, 2007
    ...Braswell v. Bd. of Regents, 369 F.Supp.2d 1371, 1379 (N.D.Ga. 2005) (Thrash, J.); see also Collier v. Clayton County Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F.Supp.2d 1345, 1369 (N.D.Ga.2002) (Carnes, J.) (citing Hansen post-Hope), aff'd, 82 Fed.Appx. 222 (11th Cir.2003). The court notes that Holloman, 370 F.......
  • Echols v. Ga. Piedmont Tech. Coll., CIVIL ACTION FILE NO. 1:20-cv-02794-TWT-AJB
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Northern District of Georgia
    • January 22, 2021
    ...jurisdiction: 'The Eleventh Amendment restricts the judicial power under Article III.' " Collier v. Clayton Cnty. Cmty. Serv. Bd., 236 F. Supp. 2d 1345, 1363 (N.D. Ga. 2002) (Carnes, J.) (quoting Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 72-73 (1996)). Thus, it is generally recognized......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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