United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
JONATHAN W. CRAIN PLAINTIFF
METROPOLITAN SECURITY SERVICES, INC. DEFENDANT
SHARION AYCOCK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Crain, an African American male and a Court Security Officer
in the United States District Court for the Southern District
of Mississippi, filed his Complaint  on October 30, 2017.
Crain alleges that the Defendant, Metropolitan Security
Service, Inc., violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
when it did not select him for a District Supervisor
position. Now before the Court is the Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment , requesting summary judgment in its
favor on all of Crain's claims. The issues are fully
briefed and ripe for review.
and Procedural Background
United States Marshals Service contracts with private
security companies to provide security at federal
courthouses. In 2015, the Defendant, Metropolitan Security
Services doing business under the name “Walden
Security, ” entered into a contract with the United
States Marshal Service to provide private security services
to the Federal Courthouses in the Fifth Circuit, including
the Southern District of Mississippi. At that time, Jonathan
Crain was employed as the Senior Lead Court Security Office
at the federal courthouse in Jackson, Mississippi, working
directly under the District Supervisor, Galen Knupp.
November, District Supervisor Galen Knupp notified Walden
Security that he planned to retire. Knupp recommended
Prentiss Parker to assume his role as District Supervisor.
Based on Knupp's recommendation, Walden Security offered
Parker the position, and Parker declined. Consequently,
Walden Security posted the open position on its website on
November 13, 2015. Crain was interested in the District
Supervisor position, having served in the position on a
temporary basis from time to time when Knupp was absent.
November 20, 2015, Walden Security received thirteen
applications for the position and although Crain was aware of
the position, he did not submit an application at that point.
According to Crain, he went to the website but was unable to
access the application. Crain did place several phone calls
to Walden Security's Human Resources Department to
inquire about the application process. On November 24, 2015,
Walden Security offered the District Supervisor position to
Steve Renfroe, a white male. Renfroe accepted the offer and
appeared for work at the Jackson Courthouse on December 1,
2015. On that day, Renfroe personally informed Crain that he,
Renfroe, was the new District Supervisor. Crain attempted to
submit his application on December 3, 2015, days after the
position had already been offered to and accepted by Steve
Renfroe. In his deposition, Crain testified that he never
completed an application for the position. According to
Crain, when he attempted to apply for the position, the
online system would not allow him to submit his application.
Crain also testified that he tried to submit his application
despite Renfroe's hiring because the position was still
marked “open” on the website.
alleges that Walden Security failed to promote him because of
his race. Crain also alleges that Walden Security hired a
white person instead of him, and thwarted his attempts to
apply, because he is African American. Crain filed his
Complaint  against Walden Security and the Attorney
General of the United States. This Court granted the
Government's Motion to Dismiss  on November 29, 2018,
making Walden Security the sole Defendant. Now before the
Court is Walden Security's Motion for Summary Judgment
. Walden Security argues that there are no genuine
disputes of material fact, and that Crain failed to establish
a prima facie case of racial discrimination under
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.
Failure to Apply
Security argues that Crain cannot establish a prima
facie case because he never applied for the position. In
addition, Walden Security argues that even if Crain could
establish a prima facie case, he cannot demonstrate
that he was qualified for the position. Title VII provides:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer
to fail or refuse to hire or 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 ...