United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MATTIE L. SMITH PLAINTIFF
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES, et al. DEFENDANTS
defendants in this case, the Mississippi Department of Child
Protective Services, Jess H. Dickinson, and Misty McCammon,
have filed a motion for summary judgment . For the
reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
Smith is a social worker with the Mississippi Department of
Child Protective Services ("CPS") in its Grenada
office. Mattie Smith Depo. at 5 [33-1]. On March 17, 2017,
Smith and her supervisor, Misty McCammon, went for an
after-work dinner. Id. at 15. During their car ride
to dinner together, McCammon called her boyfriend on
speaker-phone. Id. at 17. During their conversation,
McCammon and her boyfriend began discussing group sexual
activities. Id. at 18-19. Smith did not participate
in the conversation but did hear it. Id.
days later (the exact date is unknown) Smith and McCammon
were having a phone conversation after work. Id. at
20. During this phone call, McCammon's boyfriend,
speaking from the background, invited Smith to join in group
sex with the couple. Id. Smith refused the
invitation. During the call, however, Smith did ask McCammon
whether she really participated in group sex. Id.
McCammon replied, "I can do a person and see them the
next day and act like nothing never [sic] happened."
Id. at 20. Smith did not allege any other instances
of conversation involving sexual topics. Id. at 21.
who is black, alleges that after she refused the sexual
offer, McCammon, a white female, began retaliating against
her. In 2017, Smith received two grievances filed against her
by Carnell Farmer and Antonio Bledsoe, two police officers
with the Grenada Police Department, who claimed that Smith
refused to work a case and was rude to them on a call.
Id. at 34-35. These grievances were placed in
Smith's personnel file. Id. at 35. Smith alleges
that Farmer and McCammon had a private relationship.
Id. at 37-39. She further alleged that she believed
Grenada police officers followed her at McCammon's
direction, although she admitted she had no proof beyond her
speculation. Id. at 55. In late April, Smith filed a
sexual harassment complaint against McCammon. Smith also
alleges that McCammon began transferring
"ill-prepared" and unwanted cases from white
employees to Smith and other black employees. Id. at
February 6, 2018, filed a charge of discrimination with the
EEOC. The EEOC issued a Right to Sue letter, and Smith filed
her complaint within 180 days of her receipt of that letter.
brought this action against the CPS, Commissioner Jess
Dickinson in his official capacity, and McCammon in her
official and individual capacity, for race discrimination,
sex discrimination, and retaliatory discharge. Defendants now
move for summary judgment.
Standard of Review
judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986) (quoting
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 sufficient
showing 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." Id. at 322, 106
party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
responsibility of informing the Court of the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of the record it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of
material fact. See Id. "An issue of fact is
material only if 'its resolution could affect the outcome
of the action."' Manning v. Chevron Chem. Co.,
LLC, 332 F.3d 874, 877 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting
Wyatt v. Hunt Plywood Co., 297 F.3d 405, 408 (5th
burden then shifts to the nonmovant to "go beyond the
pleadings and by ... affidavits, or by the depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct.
2548 (internal quotation marks omitted.); Littlefleld v.
Forney Indep. Sch Dist., 268 F.3d 275, 282 (5th Cir.
2001); Willis v. Roche Biomedical Labs., Inc., 61
F.3d 313, 315 (5th Cir. 1995). The Court "resolve[s]
factual controversies in favor of the nonmoving party, but
only where there is an actual controversy, that is, when both
parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts."
Antoine v. First Student, Inc., 713 F.3d 824, 830
(5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Boudreaux v. Swift Transp. Co.,
Inc., 402 F.3d 536, 540 (5th Cir. 2005)). "[T]he
nonmoving party 'cannot defeat summary judgment with
conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or only a
scintilla of evidence.'" Hathaway v.
Bazany, 507 F.3d 312, 319 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Turner v. Baylor Richardson Medical Center, 476 F.3d
337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007)).
brings claims for 1) race discrimination in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; 2) sex
discrimination under Title VII; 3) retaliatory discharge in
violation of Title VII; 4) race discrimination in violation
of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and 5) retaliatory discharge in
violation of § 1981.
outset, the Court finds Smith's retaliatory discharge
claims under Title VII and § 1981 are entirely without
merit. Smith has never been terminated from CPS and still
works there to this day. Therefore, the Court grants summary
judgment in favor of defendants on those claims.
Title VII Claims
asserts that Defendants violated Title VII by discriminating
against her because of her race and sex. Under Title VII, it
is "an unlawful employment practice for an employer ...
to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate
against any individual with respect to his compensation,
terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).
seeks to impose liability on McCammon in her individual
capacity. Individual employees are not liable under Title
VII. Foley v. Univ. of Houston Sys., 355 F.3d 333,
340 (5th Cir. 2003). Therefore, summary judgment on
Smith's Title VII claims is granted in favor of McCammon.
also brings her Title VII claims against Dickinson and
McCammon in their official capacities. A plaintiff cannot
maintain a Title VII action against both her employer and one
its agents in his or her official capacity. Indest v.
Freeman Decorating, Inc.,164 F.3d 258, 262 (5th Cir.
1999). On Smith's Title VII claims, therefore, the ...