United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BROWN. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Mississippi Division of Medicaid's motion
for summary judgment filed October 14, 2016. Doc. #53.
Earlier, on July 29, 2014, this Court dismissed all claims by
Samantha Bryant against the individual defendant in this
case, Deborah Carter Woods. In the instant motion, Medicaid
asserts that Bryant's remaining claims are barred by
judicial estoppel. Because the Court finds that Bryant failed
to disclose her claims against Medicaid in her bankruptcy
case and that such failure was not inadvertent, summary
judgment will be granted.
20, 2012, Bryant filed an EEOC complaint alleging unlawful
racial discrimination in the termination of her employment
with Medicaid. Doc. #53-1 at 12. Subsequently, on February
28, 2013, Bryant filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of
Mississippi. Doc. #53-2 at 2.
bankruptcy proceedings, Bryant failed to disclose her
then-pending EEOC complaint on her “Schedule B -
Personal Property” by indicating “none” in
response to the question seeking disclosure of
“contingent and liquidated claims of every
nature.” Id. at 11. Additionally, in her
“Statement of Financial Affairs” submitted to the
Bankruptcy Court the same day as her schedules, Bryant failed
to disclose that she was a party to an EEOC proceeding in
response to the question requiring disclosure of “all
suits and administrative proceedings to which the debtor is
or was a party within one year immediately
preceding the filing of this bankruptcy
case.” Id. at 36.
April 10, 2013, the EEOC issued Bryant a right-to-sue letter
regarding her race discrimination claims against Medicaid.
Doc. #53-1 at 13. By order dated June 22, 2013, the
Bankruptcy Court confirmed Bryant's bankruptcy plan,
ordering that “[a]ll property shall remain property of
the estate and shall vest in the debtor only upon dismissal,
discharge, or conversion.” In re: Samantha R.
Bryant, No. 13-10778-NPO (Bankr. N.D. Miss. June 22,
2013) (Doc. #20 at 2). On July 10, 2013, Bryant filed the instant
action in this Court. Doc. #1. On January 8, 2014, the
Bankruptcy Court, finding Bryant's estate fully
administered, closed her bankruptcy case. Doc. #53-2 at 53.
judgment is appropriate only ‘if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.'” Haverda v. Hays Cty., 723 F.3d 586,
591 (5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). “[A]
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); see Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(c)(1) (“A party asserting that a fact cannot
be … genuinely disputed must support the assertion by
… citing to particular parts of materials in the
record ….”). “Once the moving party has
carried its summary judgment burden, the opposing party must
set forth specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial
and may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its
pleadings.” Beck v. Tex. State Bd. of
Dental Exam'rs, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000).
In considering a summary judgment motion, the Court must
“consider all facts and evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party.” Cass v. City of
Abilene, 814 F.3d 721, 728 (5th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Haverda, 723 F.3d at 591).
estoppel is an equitable affirmative defense. Reed v. City
of Arlington, 650 F.3d 571, 576 (5th Cir. 2011) (en
banc). “A court should apply judicial estoppel if (1)
the position of the party against which estoppel is sought is
plainly inconsistent with its prior legal position; (2) the
party against which estoppel is sought convinced a court to
accept the prior position; and (3) the party did not act
inadvertently.” Jethroe v. Omnova Sols., Inc.,
412 F.3d 598, 600 (5th Cir. 2005).
claims in this action are plainly inconsistent with her prior
position in her bankruptcy proceedings. See Id. at
600 (“Judicial estoppel is particularly appropriate
where, as here, a party fails to disclose an asset to a
bankruptcy court, but then pursues a claim in a separate
tribunal based on that undisclosed asset.”). And, the
Bankruptcy Court accepted such inconsistent position by
Bryant when it confirmed Bryant's bankruptcy plan.
See Id. (“[The bankruptcy] court certainly
confirmed Jethroe's plan at least in part based on its
assessment of her assets and liabilities.”). In this
regard, Bryant correctly concedes that Medicaid has shown the
judicial estoppel elements of inconsistent position and
judicial acceptance of that position. See Doc. ...