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McNair v. State

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

August 21, 2014

DR. SAMUEL L. MCNAIR, PLAINTIFF
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI; BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF STATE OF MISSISSIPPI INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING; and MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY, DEFENDANTS

Page 680

For Dr. Samuel L. McNair, Plaintiff: Derek D. Hopson, LEAD ATTORNEY, HOPSON LAW OFFICE, PLLC, Clarksdale, MS.

For State of Mississippi, Board of Trustees of State of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, Mississippi Valley State University, Defendants: James T. Metz, LEAD ATTORNEY, PURDIE & METZ, PLLC, Ridgeland, MS.

Page 681

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Debra M. Brown, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This is a wrongful termination action brought by Plaintiff Samuel McNair against his former employer, Defendant Mississippi Valley State University (" MVSU" ); the State of Mississippi; and the Board of Trustees of the State of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning (" Board of Trustees" ). Plaintiff alleges that he was terminated from his tenured-professor position in violation of numerous state and federal laws, and seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief. Doc. #1. Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. Doc. #14.

I

Applicable Standard

In their motion, Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, or summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. In support of their motion, Defendants attached two affidavits. Doc. #14-1, #14-2. The argument section of Defendants' memorandum brief cites to the two affidavits and fails to distinguish between arguments relating to summary

Page 682

judgment and arguments relating to dismissal. See Doc. #15.

Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in relevant part:

If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d) (emphasis added). The Fifth Circuit has explained that

[u]nder Rule 56, it is not necessary that the district court give ten days' notice after it decides to treat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion as one for summary judgment, but rather after the parties receive notice that the court could properly treat such a motion as one for summary judgment because it has accepted for consideration on the motion matters outside the pleadings, the parties must have at least ten days before judgment is rendered in which to submit additional evidence.

Washington v. Allstate Ins. Co., 901 F.2d 1281, 1284 (5th Cir. 1990) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Clark v. Tarrant Cnty, Texas, 798 F.2d 736, 746 (5th Cir. 1986)). " A party is on notice of the possibility that a court may convert a Rule 12(b)(6) motion into a motion for summary judgment ten days after a party submits evidence outside of the pleadings and that evidence is not excluded by the court." Bowers v. Nicholson, No. H-07-1910, 2007 WL 3047223, at *4 (S.D. Tex. Oct. 18, 2007).

Here, more than ten days have passed since Defendants submitted matters outside the pleadings without such evidence being excluded by the Court. Under these circumstances, Defendants' motion should be treated as one for summary judgment. Washington, 901 F.2d at 1284.

" Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine issues as to any material facts, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Norwegian Bulk Transport A/S v. Int'l Marine Terminals P'ship, 520 F.3d 409, 411 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). To award summary judgment, " [a] court must be satisfied that no reasonable trier of fact could find for the nonmoving party or, in other words, that the evidence favoring the nonmoving party is insufficient to enable a reasonable jury to return a verdict in her favor." Id. at 411-12 (internal quotation marks omitted). To this end, " [t]he moving party bears the burden of establishing that there are no genuine issues of material fact." Id. at 412.

Where " the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may demonstrate that it is entitled to summary judgment by submitting affidavits or other similar evidence negating the nonmoving party's claim, or by pointing out to the district court the absence of evidence necessary to support the nonmoving party's case." Morris v. Covan World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998). If the moving party makes the necessary demonstration, " the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show that summary judgment is inappropriate." Id. In making this showing, " the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a ...


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