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Moore v. Mississippi Department of Human Services

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

March 13, 2014

ANGELA L. MOORE, PLAINTIFF
v.
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES, DEFENDANT

For Angela L. Moore, Plaintiff: Louis H. Watson, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Robert Nicholas Norris, WATSON & NORRIS, PLLC, Jackson, MS.

For Mississippi Department of Human Services, Defendant: Peter W. Cleveland, LEAD ATTORNEY, OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, Jackson, MS.

OPINION

Daniel P. Jordan III, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Page 714

ORDER

This employment-discrimination case is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [23]. Plaintiff responded in opposition. The Court finds that Defendant's motion should be granted because Plaintiff failed to establish pretext.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Plaintiff, Angela Moore, began working for Defendant, Mississippi Department of Human Services (DHS), in September 2011. Def.'s Mem. Supp. Summ. J. [24] at 1. As an Eligibility Worker, Plaintiff participated in " flex" time scheduling that allowed her to work from the hours of 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Id. at 2. In May of

Page 715

2012, DHS ended the " flex" time schedule, and required all Eligibility Workers to maintain office hours of 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pl.'s Compl. [3] at ¶ 8. Plaintiff requested that she continue under " flex" time because of childcare considerations. Pl.'s Mem. Resp. [27] at 1. Defendant denied that request, and one month later, terminated Moore from her position. Def.'s Mem. Supp. Summ. J. [24] at 2. Defendant states that Moore was " insubordinate" and " argumentative with management." Id. Conversely, Moore alleges that Defendant discriminated against her by allowing Lionel Cooper, a male co-worker, to remain on " flex" time. Pl.'s Compl. [3] at ¶ 9.

Aggrieved by her termination, Moore filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC. The EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, and Moore filed this action in the Circuit Court for the First Judicial District of Hinds County, Mississippi. Defendant then properly removed the case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Moore's complaint alleges unlawful sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. Defendant seeks summary judgment on all claims. The Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is warranted under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The rule " mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. The non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings and designate " specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324. Conclusory allegations, speculation, unsubstantiated assertions, and legalistic arguments are not an adequate substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 276 ...


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