United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
SHARION AYCOCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is presently before the Court on Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff has responded, and
and Procedural Background
Mengistu began employment with Mississippi Valley State
University (MVSU) as an associate professor of Economics on
August 15, 2006. His annual salary was $68, 000 until 2007,
when his salary was increased to $70, 380.00.
2013, following the retirement of a tenured faculty member,
MVSU sought to hire a replacement and began advertising an
opening for associate professor. The search committee, which
consisted of Dr. Mengistu and three other faculty members,
reviewed applications and interviewed potential candidates.
Dr. Joeng Beom Lee was selected as the most qualified
candidate by three of the four committee members. Only Dr.
Mengistu ranked Dr. Lee as the second most qualified
candidate. In any event, Dr. Lee was recommended to the
Department head, Dr. Jongchai Kim, who interviewed Dr. Lee,
and then recommended him for hire to the Vice President of
Academic Affairs. The Vice President reviewed Dr. Lee's
application and recommended Dr. Lee to the President for hire
at an annual salary of $75, 000. The acting President hired
Dr. Lee on October 1, 2013, and an offer of salary was
extended to Dr. Mengistu for $75, 000.
does not have a wage schedule, but instead uses a salary
range for each open position based on the availability of
budgeted funds on a salary line and/or the availability of
budgeted funds within the Department. According to MVSU, the
University also evaluates years of service, experience,
education and accomplishments in previous positions before a
salary is negotiated or extended.
Dr. Lee's hire, Dr. Mengistu has received, accepted and
signed four (4) annual contracts that outline his salary of
$70, 380. However, he alleges that MVSU was discriminatory in
its hiring of Dr. Lee, who is from South Korea, because, even
though Dr. Lee is merely an Assistant Professor, his wages
exceed those of other Assistant Professors and those of Dr.
Mengistu's, who is an Associate Professor. Plaintiff, Dr.
Mengistu, was born in Ethiopia and is presently a United
States citizen. Dr. Mengistu believes that Dr. Lee received
an increased salary because he and Dr. Kim are both of South
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs summary judgment. Summary
judgment is warranted when the evidence reveals no genuine
dispute regarding any material fact, and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The Rule “mandates the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient 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).
moving party “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.” Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548. The
nonmoving party must then “go beyond the
pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.' ”
Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (citation omitted). In
reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be
resolved in favor of the non-movant, “but only when ...
both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory
facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc). When such contradictory
facts exist, the Court may “not make credibility
determinations or weigh the evidence.” Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150, 120
S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). 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 F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir.
2002); SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir.
1997); Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
alleges that he is the victim of discrimination under Title
VII and Section 1981 because he has a higher rank than Dr.
Lee, yet Dr. Lee has a higher salary than he does.
Additionally, Plaintiff makes claims for negligent hiring,
supervision and retention, hostile work environment, and
intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Discrimination Under Title VII
succeed on a claim for racial discrimination under Title VII
or Section 1981,  a plaintiff may show a prima
facie case either through direct evidence of
discriminatory motive, or circumstantial evidence under the
McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework.
McDonnellDouglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S.
792, 802, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973). If a
plaintiff creates a presumption of discrimination by
establishing a prima facie case, the burden then
shifts to the employer to articulate a legitimate,
nondiscriminatory reason for its actions. Reeves,
530 U.S. at 142, 120 S.Ct. 2097; Tex. Dep't of Cmty.
Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 254-56, 101 S.Ct.
1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981). The burden on the employer
“is one of production, not persuasion; it ...