Morris v. Wallace Community College-Selma, No. CIV. A. 98-0802-RV-C.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Southern District of Alabama
Writing for the CourtVollmer
Citation125 F.Supp.2d 1315
Decision Date08 January 2001
Docket NumberNo. CIV. A. 98-0802-RV-C.
PartiesKaren Jones MORRIS, Plaintiff, v. WALLACE COMMUNITY COLLEGE-SELMA, et al., Defendants.
125 F.Supp.2d 1315
Karen Jones MORRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
WALLACE COMMUNITY COLLEGE-SELMA, et al., Defendants.
No. CIV. A. 98-0802-RV-C.
United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Northern Division.
January 8, 2001.

Page 1316

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1317

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1318

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1319

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1320

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1321

COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

Page 1322

William F. Patty, Beers, Anderson, Jackson, Hughes & Patty, P.C., Montgomery, AL, Henry Brewster, Stein and Brewster, Mobile, AL, for Karen Jones Morris.

Alice Ann Byrne, Margaret L. Fleming, Andrew Christman, Office of the Attorney General, State of Alabama, Montgomery, AL, for Wallace Community College Selma.

Alice Ann Byrne, Margaret L. Fleming, Office of the Attorney General, State of Alabama, Montgomery, AL, for Julius R. Brown.

Alice Ann Byrne, Office of the Attorney General, State of Alabama, Montgomery, AL, for Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education, State Board of Education, Fob James, Bradley E. Byrne, Jr., G.J. Higginbotham, Stephanie Bell, Ethel Hall, Willie J. Paul, David F. Byers, Jr., Sandra Ray, Mary Jane Caylor, Fred Gainous.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VOLLMER, Senior District Judge.


This matter is before the Court on the defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 20).1 The parties have filed briefs and evidentiary materials in support of their respective positions. (Docs. 21-22, 29-30, 32, 52). After careful consideration of the foregoing materials as well as all other relevant materials in the file, the Court concludes that the defendants' motion for summary judgment is due to be granted in part and denied in part.

CAUSES OF ACTION2

The plaintiff is a white female employed full-time since 1992 by the defendant George Wallace Community College (the "College") in its athletic department. At all relevant times, defendant Julius Brown was president of the College.3 The plaintiff asserts the following causes of action:

Count One: That the College discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of race and sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991. (Doc. 35 at 1-2). In particular, the plaintiff alleges that the College:

1. discriminatorily se[t] plaintiff's salary below comparable Blacks and/or males;4

2. discriminatorily den[ied] plaintiff a promotion to athletic director on two different occasions;

Page 1323

3. discriminatorily den[ied] plaintiff summer employment or offer[ed] her less summer employment (and therefore less compensation) than comparably-situated black males; and

4. discriminatorily den[ied] plaintiff other terms and conditions of employment including office equipment, membership in Leadership Selma, etc. than that offered to comparable Blacks and/or males.5

(Id. at 21).

Count Two: That the College and Brown, in both his official and individual capacities, in like manner violated the plaintiff's equal protection rights in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, for which the plaintiff seeks redress pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 35 at 2, 23-24).

Count Three: That the College violated the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(a), with respect to the salary and summer employment issues identified in Count One. The plaintiff also alleges that the College retaliated against her for claiming she was paid less than similarly situated males, in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3), by denying her promotion to athletic director. (Doc. 35 at 2, 24-25).6

Count Four: That the College violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-88, in like manner as under Count One. (Doc. 35 at 2, 25).

Count Five: That the College and Brown, in both his official and individual capacities, violated policies of the Alabama State Board of Education concerning summer employment, establishment of starting salaries, and sex or race discrimination. (Doc. 35 at 2-3, 25-26).7

DETERMINATIONS OF UNCONTROVERTED FACT

The plaintiff become employed part-time by the College in its athletic department in 1989 and became a full-time employee in 1992. In 1996, the College's athletic director, Lothian Smallwood, retired and the College named Todd Alford, a white male, as athletic director in June 1996. Alford resigned effective January 17, 1997, and the College named Raji Gourdine, a black male, as athletic director in February 1997.

The plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on July 16, 1997. (Doc. 21, Exhibit 1). This action was instituted in state court on July 24, 1998. (Doc. 1).

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

The Court has subject matter over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1343(3) and 1367. Venue is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).

Summary judgment should be granted only if "there is no issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). The party seeking summary judgment bears "the initial

Page 1324

burden to show the district court, by reference to materials on file, that there are no genuine issues of material fact that should be decided at trial." Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir.1991). Once the moving party has satisfied his responsibility, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. "If the nonmoving party fails to make `a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof,' the moving party is entitled to summary judgment." Id. (quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)) (footnote omitted). "In reviewing whether the nonmoving party has met its burden, the court must stop short of weighing the evidence and making credibility determinations of the truth of the matter. Instead, the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Tipton v. Bergrohr GMBH-Siegen, 965 F.2d 994, 999 (11th Cir.1992) (internal citations and quotations omitted).

I. Title VII.

The defendants argue that the plaintiff's claims are partially barred by the statute of limitations and that the plaintiff can establish neither a prima facie case nor pretext. They argue further that the plaintiff's failure to follow an established grievance procedure bars her Title VII claim. (Doc. 21 at 9-10, 26-39).

A. Statute of Limitations.

A charge of discrimination must be filed with the EEOC "within one hundred and eighty days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). The defendants argue that, because the plaintiff's EEOC charge was not filed until July 16, 1997, all of the plaintiff's claims are barred except her complaint that she was passed over for athletic director in favor of Raji Gourdine in early 1997. (Doc. 21 at 9-10). The plaintiff responds that all of the acts of which she complains are actionable under the theory of continuing violation. (Doc. 29 at 1-5).

The term "continuing violation" has been used as a blanket to cover at least two different situations, each with its own peculiar set of consequences. Properly speaking, a "continuing violation" is but a single violation that is continually or continuously manifested. E.g., Knight v. Columbus, 19 F.3d 579, 582 (11th Cir. 1994)("The term `continuing violation' also implies there is but one incessant violation ...."). When a true continuing violation exists, a charge of discrimination is timely if the discrimination is last manifested within 180 days before the charge is filed. Moreover, because only a single violation has occurred, the charge is timely with respect to all manifestations of the violation, including those occurring more than 180 days before the charge was filed, and the plaintiff may recover for these remote manifestations as well as for those occurring within 180 days of the charge. E.g., id. at 582 ("The term `continuing violation' also implies ... that the plaintiffs should be able to recover for the entire duration of the violation, without regard to the fact that it began outside the statute of limitations window.").

The term "continuing violation" has also been used to describe the situation in which a succession of similar but separate violations occurs. In this case, there is no true continuing violation but rather a series of discrete violations. Because each violation is separate, the charge is timely with respect to those violations that occurred within 180 days of the charge being filed but is untimely with respect to similar violations that occurred previously. E.g., Knight v. Columbus, 19 F.3d at 582 ("Instead of one on-going violation, this case involves a series of repeated violations of an identical nature. Because each violation gives rise to a new cause of action, each failure to pay overtime begins a new statute of limitations period as to that particular event. Thus, the officer plaintiffs have a non-barred cause of action with

Page 1325

respect to any claims (i.e., any paychecks which omitted pay for overtime worked) that accrued within [the applicable statute of limitations].").

The common feature of these two situations is that both allow the plaintiff to pursue a charge — and ultimately, a lawsuit—even though the charge was not filed until more than 180 days after the commencement of the first violation. In the first situation, this is allowed because the original violation continues to occur and is never completed; in the second, it is because, while the original violation is completed, it is succeeded by another.

In contrast, when a single violation occurs more than 180 days before the charge is filed and is also completed more than 180 days before the charge is filed with no subsequent violation succeeding the first, no continuing...

To continue reading

Request your trial
27 practice notes
  • Melton v. Nat'l Dairy LLC, Case No. 1:08-cv-174-TFM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2010
    ...action if [the new position] entails an increase in pay, prestige or responsibility.” Id. (quoting Morris v. Wallace Cmty. Coll., 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001)). The parties differ in opinion as to whether the position of vacation relief driver constitutes a promotion. Defendants ......
  • Freeman v. Koch Foods of Ala., Case No. 2:09–cv–270–MEF.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2011
    ...as an Accounts Receivable Clerk and that they were not management level positions. Id. (citing Morris v. Wallace Cmty. College–Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001)). Because these claims are disposed of on other grounds, this argument need not be considered at this time. 11. Freem......
  • Johnson v. Autozone Inc., Civil Action No. CV–09–S–0786–NE.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • February 24, 2011
    ...than the persons who were promoted in order to establish a prima facie case.”)); see also Morris v. Wallace Cmty. Coll.—Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1329 (S.D.Ala.2001) (not requiring a plaintiff to show that she was equally, or more qualified, than the person to whom a promotion was awarded ......
  • Burch v. P.J. Cheese, Inc., Case No. 2:09–cv–1640–SLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • March 27, 2013
    ...otherwise materially alter the employee's employment status for the better. Id. at 1298 (quoting Morris v. Wallace Cmty. College–Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001), aff'd,34 Fed.Appx. 388 (11th Cir.2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted); Harney v. McCatur, Inc., No. CV–11–S–4......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • Melton v. Nat'l Dairy LLC, Case No. 1:08-cv-174-TFM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2010
    ...action if [the new position] entails an increase in pay, prestige or responsibility.” Id. (quoting Morris v. Wallace Cmty. Coll., 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001)). The parties differ in opinion as to whether the position of vacation relief driver constitutes a promotion. Defendants ......
  • Freeman v. Koch Foods of Ala., Case No. 2:09–cv–270–MEF.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Middle District of Alabama
    • March 31, 2011
    ...as an Accounts Receivable Clerk and that they were not management level positions. Id. (citing Morris v. Wallace Cmty. College–Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001)). Because these claims are disposed of on other grounds, this argument need not be considered at this time. 11. Freem......
  • Johnson v. Autozone Inc., Civil Action No. CV–09–S–0786–NE.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • February 24, 2011
    ...than the persons who were promoted in order to establish a prima facie case.”)); see also Morris v. Wallace Cmty. Coll.—Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1329 (S.D.Ala.2001) (not requiring a plaintiff to show that she was equally, or more qualified, than the person to whom a promotion was awarded ......
  • Burch v. P.J. Cheese, Inc., Case No. 2:09–cv–1640–SLB.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Court of Northern District of Alabama
    • March 27, 2013
    ...otherwise materially alter the employee's employment status for the better. Id. at 1298 (quoting Morris v. Wallace Cmty. College–Selma, 125 F.Supp.2d 1315, 1328 (S.D.Ala.2001), aff'd,34 Fed.Appx. 388 (11th Cir.2002)) (internal quotation marks omitted); Harney v. McCatur, Inc., No. CV–11–S–4......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT