United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
JENNIFER CANASKI, BRITTANY PIAZZA, AND PAMELA NECAISE PLAINTIFFS
MID MISSISSIPPI PROPERTIES, INC., JOE LACEY, AND DERRICK SCOGGINS DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT JOE
LACEY AND DERRICK SCOGGINS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
THE COURT is Defendants Joe Lacey and Derrick Scoggins'
Motion for Summary Judgment . Plaintiffs elected not to
file a formal response to Defendants' Motion. Response
. For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that
Defendants' Motion should granted.
about February 6, 2014, Defendant Mid Mississippi Properties,
Inc. (“Mid Mississippi”) completed its purchase
of the Red Zone, a restaurant located in Diamondhead,
Mississippi. Compl.  at 2-3. On the night of February 6,
2014, Defendants Joe Lacey (“Lacey”) and Derrick
Scoggins (“Scoggins”), the owners of Mid
Mississippi, threw a party for their employees to celebrate
the purchase. Id. at 3. At that time, Plaintiffs
Jennifer Canaski (“Canaski”), Brittany Piazza
(“Piazza”), and Pamela Necaise
(“Necaise”) (collectively “Plaintiffs) were
employees of the Red Zone. Id. at 3-7.
October 16, 2015, Plaintiffs filed their Complaint 
against Defendants Mid Mississippi, Lacey, and Scoggins
asserting claims of “sexual harassment and
discrimination” in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.
(“Title VII”), and “state law
claims.” Compl.  at 1.
and Scoggins (“Defendants”) filed their Motion
for Summary Judgment  on August 15, 2016. Defendants
contend that they are entitled to summary judgment in that
Plaintiffs have abandoned their Title VII and negligence
claims against them, and that Plaintiffs' claims for
intentional torts are barred by the one-year statute of
limitations found at Mississippi Code § 15-1-35. Mot.
Summ. J.  at 1-2. In their Response, Plaintiffs simply
state that they have elected not to respond to the Motion.
Resp.  at 1.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Cox v. Wal-Mart
Stores E., L.P., 755 F.3d 231, 233 (5th Cir. 2014);
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In deciding a motion for
summary judgment, a court “view[s] the evidence and
draw[s] reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party.” Hemphill v. State Farm Mut.
Auto. Ins. Co., 805 F.3d 535, 538 (5th Cir. 2015)
(quoting Cox, 755 F.3d at 233); Maddox v.
Townsend & Sons, Inc., 639 F.3d 214, 216 (5th Cir.
2011). Before it can determine that there is no genuine issue
for trial, a court must be satisfied that “the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the non-moving party.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986). If the movant carries this burden, “the
nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (en banc); see also Lujan v. National Wildlife
Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990) (the nonmovant must
set forth specific facts to contradict the specific facts set
forth by the movant, general averments are not sufficient).
rebut a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the
opposing party must show, with “significant probative
evidence, ” that there exists a genuine issue of
material fact. Hamilton v. Segue Software, Inc., 232
F.3d 473, 477 (5th Cir. 2000). “A genuine dispute of
material fact means that evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Royal v. CCC&R Tres Arboles, LLC, 736
F.3d 396, 400 (5th Cir. 2013) (quotation omitted). An actual
controversy exists “when both parties have submitted
evidence of contradictory facts.” Salazar-Limon v.
Houston, 826 F.3d 272, 277 (5th Cir. 2016) (quotation
Plaintiffs have not stated a claim against either Lacey
or Scoggins that can survive summary judgment.
Title VII claims against Lacey and Scoggins should be
dismissed because “[o]nly ‘employers, ' not
individuals acting in their individual capacity who do not
otherwise meet the definition of ‘employers, ' can
be liable under [T]itle VII.” Johnson v. TCB
Construction Co., Inc., 334 F. App'x 666, 669 (5th
Cir. 2009) (citing Grant v. Lone Star Co., 21 F.3d
649, 652 (5th Cir. 1994)). “Further, a plaintiff is not
entitled to maintain a Title VII action against both an
employer and its agent in an official capacity.”
McNeil v. Quality Logistics Systems, Inc., Cause No.
3:15cv927-CWR-FKB, 2016 WL 6999483, *3 (S.D.Miss. Nov. 30,
2016) (citations and quotations omitted); see also Indest
v. Freeman Decorating, Inc., 164 F.3d 258, 262 (5th Cir.
1999) (“outside of an action against an officer
personally, plaintiff does not have an action against both
the corporation and its officer in an official
capacity”). It appears from the record that Plaintiffs
have abandoned their claims against Lacey and Scoggins
individually. Resp. in Opp'n  at 1 (“Plaintiffs are
not seeking to hold the Defendants directly responsible under
state law negligence claims should be dismissed because they
are barred by “the exclusivity provision of the
Mississippi Workers' Compensation Act”
(“MWCA”) found at Mississippi Code Annotated
§ 71-3-9. McNeil, 2016 WL 6999483 at *4
(citations omitted); see Bowden v. Young, 120 So.3d
971, 976-78 (Miss. 2013). “Construing Mississippi state
law, our federal courts have been universal on this
point.” McNeil, 2016 WL 6999483 at *4
(citations omitted). Plaintiffs also appear to have abandoned
their negligence claims. Resp. in Opp'n  at 3 (for a
claim to fall outside the MWCA, a plaintiff must assert
“the actions of the employer went beyond negligence,
gross negligence, or recklessness”).
Plaintiffs' claims for intentional torts and defamation
should be dismissed because they are barred by the applicable
one-year statute of limitations, Mississippi Code Annotated
§ 15-1-35. McNeil, 2016 WL 6999483 at *4
(citing Lynch v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 909 So.2d
1289, 1292 (Miss. Ct. App. 2005)). Plaintiffs filed suit on
October 16, 2015, more than one year after any alleged
intentional conduct. See Canaski Dep. [51-1] at
18-20 (March 12, 2014); Piazza Dep. [51-2] at 26-28 (May
2014); Necaise Dep. [51-3] at 18-19, 22-24 (sometime after
March 18, 2014, “probably like September” 2014).
Also, Plaintiffs did not respond to Defendants' Motion
for Summary Judgment, did not provide any ...