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Maxwell v. Washington County

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

October 1, 2019

MARCUS MAXWELL PLAINTIFF
v.
WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI DEFENDANT

          OPINION AND ORDER

          DEBRA M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Washington County, Mississippi's motion for summary judgment. Doc. #35.

         I

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Under Rule 56(a) 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) (quotation marks omitted). In evaluating summary judgment issues, 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).

         In 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) (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. (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).

         II

         Factual Background and Procedural History

         Sometime in 2010, Washington County, Mississippi (“County”), hired Marcus Maxwell to work as a mobile maintenance employee in its Buildings and Grounds Department. Doc. #35-2 at 13-14. Sometime later, Boris Branden, Maxwell's supervisor, transferred him from mobile maintenance to the position of park custodian at Warfield Point Park. Id. at 14-15.

         A. Internal Grievance and Transfer from the Parks Department

         On January 3, 2014, Maxwell sent a “letter of grievance” to Branden, which stated:

This letter of grievance is to inform you of the mistreatment that you have shown toward me, Marcus Maxwell.

l . You claim to have put me at the park to keep from firing me. Your words “Stop from putting me out on the streets”
2. I have informed you about the weekend worker, that he is not doing his job. You said don't worry about him, just do your job. Come Monday morning I have to ...

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