United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
First Amendment action is before the Court on Clarksdale
Municipal School Disrict's motion for summary judgment,
Doc. #26, and motion to strike, Doc. #33.
September 13, 2016, Meosha Stuckey filed a complaint in this
Court alleging that the Clarksdale Municipal School District,
her former employer, violated the First Amendment by
retaliating against her based on an erroneous belief that she
had spoken to the press about cheating in the District. Doc.
#1. The District answered the complaint on October 5, 2016.
August 7, 2017, following a period of discovery, the District
filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. #26. Stuckey
responded in opposition to the motion on August 21, 2017.
Doc. #30. On August 28, 2017, the District replied, Doc. #32;
and also filed a motion to strike portions of an affidavit of
Stuckey submitted in response to the summary judgment motion,
Doc. #33. Stuckey responded in opposition to the motion to
strike on September 11, 2017, Doc. #34; and the District
replied on September 18, 2017, Doc. #35.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
“[s]ummary judgment is proper only when the record
demonstrates that no genuine issue of material fact exists
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Luv N' Care Ltd. v. Groupo Rimar,
844 F.3d 442, 447 (5th Cir. 2016). “A factual issue is
genuine if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for the non-moving party and material if
its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.”
Burton v. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., 798 F.3d
222, 226 (5th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).
On a motion for summary judgment, a court must
“consider the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in its
favor.” Edwards v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 841
F.3d 360, 363 (5th Cir. 2016).
seeking summary judgment, “[t]he 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.” Nola Spice Designs,
L.L.C. v. Haydel Enters., Inc., 783 F.3d 527, 536
(5th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks and alterations
omitted). If the moving party satisfies this burden,
“the non-moving 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 genuine issue for trial.”
Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). “Where
the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof at trial, the
moving party satisfies this initial burden by demonstrating
an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case.” Celtic Marine Corp. v. James C. Justice
Cos., Inc., 760 F.3d 477, 481 (5th Cir. 2014).
motion to strike, the District “requests that those
portions of plaintiff's affidavit which are inadmissible
hearsay, speculation and not based upon personal knowledge of
the plaintiff be stricken ....” Doc. #33 at 3. In
response, Stuckey argues that the motion fails to
specifically identify the allegedly improper statements. Doc.
#34. The District's reply specifically identifies
approximately thirty statements sought to be excluded. Doc.
axiomatic that neither hearsay nor statements not based on
personal knowledge may create a genuine issue of material
fact. See Harris ex rel. Harris v. Pontotoc Cty. Sch.
Dist., 635 F.3d 685, 692 (5th Cir. 2011) (“Hearsay
evidence inadmissible at trial cannot be used to create a
genuine issue of material fact to avoid summary
judgment.”); Bolen v. Dengel, 340 F.3d 300,
313 (5th Cir. 2003) (affidavit not based on personal
knowledge “fails the requirements of summary judgment
evidence”). However, a “court is not required ...