United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
JASON D. ALSTON PLAINTIFF
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DEFENDANT
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case of alleged employment discrimination is before the Court
on numerous motions, most of them filed by pro se plaintiff
Jason D. Alston.
August 24, 2017, Jason D. Alston, proceeding pro se, filed a
third amended complaint against the Mississippi Department of
Transportation (“MDOT”). Doc. #70. Although the
facts section of the third amended complaint contains
allegations of racial discrimination related to a failure to
promote, and allegations of unlawful retaliation related to a
write-up and subsequent forty-hour suspension, see
id. at 2-4, the pleading asserts only a claim of
retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act, id. at 5-6.
moved to dismiss the third amended complaint on November 10,
2017. Doc. #82. On January 2, 2018, United States Magistrate
Judge Jane M. Virden issued a Report and Recommendation
recommending that the motion be granted to the extent Alston
asserted a retaliation claim based on failure to promote, and
that the motion be denied with respect to Alston's claims
premised on “September reprimand(s)/40-hour
suspension.” Doc. #93. This Court adopted the Report
and Recommendation on April 17, 2018. Doc. #99.
period of discovery: (1) MDOT moved for summary judgment,
Doc. #140; (2) Alston moved for summary judgment, Doc. #142;
(3) Alston filed “Plaintiff's Second Motion to take
Judicial Notice, ” Doc. #150; (4) Alston moved for
leave to file a sur-reply in opposition to MDOT's motion
for summary judgment, Doc. #151; (5) Alston filed
“Plaintiff's Motion to Take Judicial Notice in
Support of Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ” Doc.
#156; (6) Alston moved for Rule 11 sanctions against MDOT,
Doc. #163; and (7) Alston moved to supplement his motion for
sanctions, Doc. #169.
Motion to Supplement
motion to supplement seeks leave to “attach” an
Exhibit A to his motion for sanctions filed January 22, 2019,
and to attach an Exhibit B to the accompanying memorandum
filed the same day. Doc. #169 at 2. The proposed attachments
are signature pages dated January 17, 2019. Docs. #169-1,
#169-2. The Court presumes these signature pages are intended
to replace the apparently erroneous signature pages dated
December 21, 2018, in Alston's January 22 motion for
sanctions and supporting memorandum. See Doc. #163
at 3; Doc. #164 at 9.
opposes Alston's motion to supplement because it already
responded to the motion for sanctions and because
“Plaintiff's Motion for Leave is Plaintiff's
fifth motion asserting that Defendant has engaged in
misconduct ….” Doc. #170. While both assertions
may be true, neither justifies denying the limited and
non-substantive relief Alston's motion seeks.
Accordingly, Alston's motion to supplement his motion for
sanctions will be granted.
Motions for Judicial Notice
“Plaintiff's Second Motion to take Judicial Notice,
” Alston asks the Court to take judicial notice of
statements made by MDOT or its counsel (1) during his
deposition, (2) in MDOT's memorandum supporting its
motion for summary judgment, (3) in MDOT's reply in
support of its motion for summary judgment, and (4) in
MDOT's response to his motion for summary judgment. Doc.
#150. Alston argues these statements show MDOT's counsel
has acted in “total disregard for the Federal Rules of
Civil Proc[e]dures 11.” Id. at 4. MDOT opposes
the motion because “there is no credible evidence to
demonstrate that the Defendant has acted in bad faith
….” Doc. #155 at 2.
response seems to confuse the relief requested in the motion
(taking judicial notice of certain statements) with the
alleged purpose of the request (to support a motion for
sanctions). While the motion for sanctions may ultimately be
denied, that does not mean the Court may not take judicial
notice of the statements Alston seeks to sanction.
Regardless, a court does not need to take judicial notice of
exhibits which already appear on the Court's docket.
Fenton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortg., No. 17-cv-113,
2017 WL 1346672, at *2 (S.D. Cal. Apr. 12, 2017) (collecting
cases). Because the deposition and memorandums Alston asks
the Court to take judicial notice of are already on this
Court's docket, there is no reason to take judicial
notice of such documents. Therefore, “Plaintiff's
Second Motion to Take Judicial Notice” will be denied
as moot. For the same reason, the Court also will deny as
moot “Plaintiff's Motion to Take Judicial Notice in
Support of Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, ” which
asks the Court to take judicial notice of Alston's
deposition and MDOT's memorandum in support of its motion
for summary judgment. Doc. #156.
Motion for Sanctions
invoking Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 and this
Court's inherent power to sanction, seeks $100, 000 in
attorney's fees because MDOT's memorandum in support
of its motion for summary judgment states the elements of an
Americans with Disabilities Act retaliation claim rather than
a Title VII retaliation claim. See Doc. #164. MDOT
argues sanctions are unwarranted because it correctly stated
Title VII law in its reply and in other
filings. Doc. #166 at 2. MDOT's response also
purports to “correct its Memorandum” to apply
the proper standard. Id.
Title VII and ADA retaliation claims are resolved under the
same standard, because the relevant pleading made clear it
was seeking dismissal of a Title VII claim, and because MDOT
indisputably referred to the correct standard in other
briefs, Alston essentially seeks $100, 000 for an
inconsequential typographical error. Neither Rule 11, which
does not apply when errors are timely corrected,
this Court's inherent authority to sanction, which only
applies in instances of bad faith,  contemplate sanctions for
such an action. See Gray v. Staley, 310 F.R.D. 32,
40 (D.D.C. 2015) (Rule 11 sanctions denied where counsel
subsequently corrected misstatement on the ...