Cox v. Kentucky Dept. of Transp., No. 93-6226

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtKRUPANSKY
Citation53 F.3d 146
Parties67 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1134, 66 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 43,567 Charles COX, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Joseph E. Kearnes, George Hoffman, Lynn Watts, and Wayne Hafer, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 93-6226
Decision Date02 May 1995

Page 146

53 F.3d 146
67 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1134,
66 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 43,567
Charles COX, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Joseph E. Kearnes,
George Hoffman, Lynn Watts, and Wayne Hafer,
Defendants-Appellees.
No. 93-6226.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued Sept. 23, 1994.
Decided May 2, 1995

Page 148

Charles H. Schaffner (argued and briefed), Erlanger, KY, for plaintiff-appellant.

Stewart C. Burch (argued and briefed), Logan & Gaines, Frankfort, KY, for defendants-appellees.

Before: KRUPANSKY, GUY, and NORRIS, Circuit Judges.

Page 149

KRUPANSKY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff/Appellant Charles Cox initiated this action against the Kentucky Department of Transportation ("DOT") and several of its officials under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1978 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. Sec. 621, et seq.; under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983; and under Kentucky state law, 18A K.R.S. Sec. 140. Plaintiff asserted that the appellees conspired to limit his promotions from 1980 to 1992 because of his age and political affiliation. The district court granted summary judgment on the ADEA issue, concluding that the ADEA was not applicable to the individual defendants and that the evidence adduced by plaintiff on the ADEA claim against the DOT was not sufficient to survive summary judgment. The district court also granted summary judgment on the Sec. 1983 count, concluding that the Kentucky DOT was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity and that the individual defendants were entitled to summary judgment under the doctrine of qualified immunity because the plaintiff had not developed direct evidence of discriminatory motive or intent. The plaintiff has appealed. A review of the record disclosed that Cox has failed to prove a prima facie case under the ADEA. This court affirms the decision of the district court on the ADEA count. Because the district court applied the incorrect legal standard to the evaluation of the Sec. 1983 cause of action, this court reverses and remands on that issue.

Cox was employed by the Department of Transportation, in the right-of-way department, in January 1971. He was initially classified as a junior right-of-way agent. After a six-month probationary period, he was upgraded to right-of-way agent, a rank he held until 1974 when he was upgraded to senior right-of-way agent. He was a senior right-of-way agent until 1986 when he was upgraded to principal right-of-way agent. At the time of this suit, Cox was a principal right-of-way agent in the Negotiations unit.

In 1990, two Unit Leader positions became vacant, and both Cox, age 59, and Karen Shinkle, age 37, applied. One opening was in Appraisals, the other was in Negotiations. Shinkle received the promotion to Unit Leader in the Appraisals department, but the opening in the Negotiations department remained vacant until September, 1991. At that time, Shinkle was transferred from Unit Leader for Appraisals to Unit Leader for Negotiations. The lateral move did not constitute a promotion or an increase in grade or salary. The appellees have asserted that the transfer was made to maximize personnel resources and relieve the heavy workload of the Negotiations department. The appellant asserted that the purpose of the transfer was to block his opportunity for advancement.

Cox filed complaints with the EEOC and the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights on January 17, 1992. He received a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC on February 19, 1992. The Kentucky officials waived their status to review the complaint and forwarded it to the EEOC. On April 23, 1992, Cox filed this action in federal court. The defendants moved for summary judgment, which the district court granted on August 24, 1993. Cox thereupon filed a timely notice of appeal on September 17, 1993.

On appeal, the circuit court reviews a grant of summary judgment de novo, using the same Rule 56(c) standard as the district court. Hansard v. Barrett, 980 F.2d 1059 (6th Cir.1992). According to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), when a party moves for summary judgment, "[t]he judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith 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." The moving party has the initial burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1477 (6th Cir.1989). To meet this burden, the moving party may rely on any of the evidentiary sources listed in Rule 56(c) or may merely rely upon the failure of the nonmoving party to produce any evidence which would create a genuine dispute for the jury. Id. at 1478. Essentially, a motion for summary judgment is a means by which to "challenge the opposing party to 'put up or shut up' on a critical issue." Id.

Page 150

If the moving party satisfies its burden, then the burden of going forward shifts to the nonmoving party to produce evidence that results in a conflict of material fact to be resolved by a jury. In arriving at a resolution, the court must afford all reasonable inferences, and construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). However, if the evidence is insufficient to reasonably support a jury verdict in favor of the nonmoving party, the motion for summary judgment will be granted. Street, 886 F.2d at 1477. Thus, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. at 2511.

While a court must proceed cautiously in considering subjective issues, the...

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1291 practice notes
  • In re Dow Corning Corp., No. 95-20512.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Tenth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • June 22, 2000
    ...F.R.Bankr.P. 7056); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Cox v. Kentucky Dept. of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 149 (6th Cir.1995). The moving party initially carries the burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that it is en......
  • Schobert v. CSX Transp. Inc., Case No. 1:19-cv-76
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • November 30, 2020
    ...Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) ; Cox v. Ky. Dep't of Transp. , 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir. 1995) ("In arriving at a resolution, the court must afford all reasonable inferences, and construe the evidence in the light most favor......
  • Meeks v. Schofield, Case No. 3:12–cv–545.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • March 31, 2014
    ...pleadings, but must “produce evidence that results in a conflict of material fact to be solved by a jury.” Cox v. Ky. Dep't of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 149 (6th Cir.1995). The text of Rule 56(e) states:When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an advers......
  • Laporta v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 4:00CV50.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • May 22, 2001
    ...the Sixth Circuit has noted, the federal courts have entered a "new era" in summary judgment practice. Cox v. Kentucky Dep't of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir.1995); Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1478-81 (6th Cir.1989). While preserving the constitutional right of civil ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1293 cases
  • In re Dow Corning Corp., No. 95-20512.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Tenth Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Eastern District of Michigan
    • June 22, 2000
    ...F.R.Bankr.P. 7056); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Cox v. Kentucky Dept. of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 149 (6th Cir.1995). The moving party initially carries the burden of proving that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that it is en......
  • Schobert v. CSX Transp. Inc., Case No. 1:19-cv-76
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Southern District of Ohio
    • November 30, 2020
    ...Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) ; Cox v. Ky. Dep't of Transp. , 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir. 1995) ("In arriving at a resolution, the court must afford all reasonable inferences, and construe the evidence in the light most favor......
  • Meeks v. Schofield, Case No. 3:12–cv–545.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court of Middle District of Tennessee
    • March 31, 2014
    ...pleadings, but must “produce evidence that results in a conflict of material fact to be solved by a jury.” Cox v. Ky. Dep't of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 149 (6th Cir.1995). The text of Rule 56(e) states:When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an advers......
  • Laporta v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., No. 4:00CV50.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Western District Michigan)
    • May 22, 2001
    ...the Sixth Circuit has noted, the federal courts have entered a "new era" in summary judgment practice. Cox v. Kentucky Dep't of Transp., 53 F.3d 146, 150 (6th Cir.1995); Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1478-81 (6th Cir.1989). While preserving the constitutional right of civil ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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