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Crosby v. Pulaski Technical College Board of Trustees

September 18, 2007

GREGORY CROSBY PLAINTIFF
v.
PULASKI TECHNICAL COLLEGE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, ET AL. DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Susan Webber Wright United States District Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff Gregory Crosby ("Crosby") brings this employment discrimination action against the Board of Trustees ("the Board") of Pulaski Technical College ("PTC"); Dan Bakke, the President of PTC in his official and individual capacities; and Robert Blackiston, the Chief of Police of PTC in his official and individual capacities. Before the Court are (1) Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings (docket entries #11, #12), Crosby's response in opposition (docket entries #19, #20), and Defendants' reply (docket entry #24) and (2) Defendants' motion for summary judgment (docket entries #21, #22, #23), Crosby's response in opposition (docket entries #29, #30, #31, #32); and Defendants' reply (docket entry #33). After careful consideration, and for the reasons that follow, Defendants' motions will be granted and the case will be dismissed.

Background

PTC is a community college, located primarily on a 40-acre campus in North Little Rock.

Crosby, who is black, began working for PTC in April 2001 as an officer for the PTC Department of Public Safety ("DPS"). In August 2003, Maxine Sappore ("Sappore"), who also worked as a DPS officer, filed an internal grievance alleging race discrimination and sexual harassment. Crosby provided two witness statements in support of Sappore's grievance.

On October 23, 2003, Crosby filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), alleging that PTC had subjected him to race-based discrimination throughout his employment. See docket entry #17, Ex. #4. The EEOC issued Crosby a right-to-sue letter on October 28, 2003, but Crosby did not pursue his right to file suit within 90 days of receiving the letter.

On November 12, 2003, Crosby received a letter of warning from an individual named Mark Johnson,*fn1 stating that in August 2003, a student complained that Crosby had refused to assist her in filing an assault complaint against another student. See docket entry #32, Ex. G.

On December 11, 2003, Crosby received a second letter-of-warning from Johnson, stating that Crosby neglected to open campus buildings in a timely manner and also disobeyed a directive from his supervisor. See docket entry #32, Ex. I-1.

On January 12, 2004, Crosby received a letter of warning from Defendant Robert Blackiston, the PTC DPS Chief of Police, stating that Crosby failed to follow proper reporting procedures, conducted an unauthorized investigation, and interrupted a class in session. See docket entry #32, Ex. I-2.

On January 26, 2004, Crosby received a letter of reprimand from Blackiston, stating that he had violated several departmental policies and procedures and failed to follow written instructions. See docket entry #32, Ex. I-3. The letter concludes as follows:

This reprimand is a "FINAL WARNING". Effective today, for a period of 180 days, any violations of departmental policy and standard operating procedure, failure or resistance to follow instructions written or oral and failure to adhere to ALETA training will result in termination.

Docket entry #32, Ex. I-4.

Crosby claims that the aforementioned letters of warning and letter of reprimand were retaliatory measures taken against him for providing witness statements in support of Sappore's EEOC charge and for his own EEOC charge filed on October 23, 2003. See docket entry #3, ¶ 13. However, Crosby has never presented these allegations in a separate EEOC charge. On April 22, 2004, Sappore's employment with PTC was terminated, and on June 8, 2004, Sappore filed an employment discrimination suit against PTC. Sappore's lawsuit proceeded to a bench trial on November 7, 2005, and Crosby testified on her behalf. On November 18, 2005, United States District Judge James M. Moody entered judgment for the defendants in Sappore's lawsuit. See Sappore v. Pulaski Technical College, No. 4:04CV00564 (E.D. Ark.), docket entries #65, #66..

Sometime in November 2005, Cindy Harkey, PTC Vice President for Student Services, and Essie Cleveland, PTC Director of Human Resources, investigated several complaints lodged against Crosby. A summary of those complaints follow:

* On October 25, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby harassed her and yelled at her while issuing her a ticket for parking in a handicap parking space.

* On October 31, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby issued her a parking ticket for hanging her handicap parking placard backwards on her review mirror.

* On November 2, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby issued him a ticket for parking in a handicap space, even though the student presented Crosby documentation showing that he had been issued a handicap parking permit. The student complained that Crosby harassed him and was sarcastic and disrespectful. On November 12, 2005, the aforementioned student filed a second complaint, reporting that Crosby harassed him.

* On November 17, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby issued her a ticket for parking in a handicap space. The student had a temporary handicap parking permit, but Crosby insisted that she produce documentation that the permit had been issued to her. The student, and a witness, reported that Crosby accused the student of lying.

* On November 18, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby issued her a ticket for parking in a handicap space, even though her handicap parking placard was on the dashboard of her car and visible from the outside of her vehicle.

* On November 21, 2005, a PTC student complained that Crosby was rude and unprofessional when she presented him documentation proving that the handicap parking placard hanging from her review mirror had been issued to her.

* On November 21, 2005, a PTC faculty member complained that a DPS officer on duty was discovered playing computer games at a time when his assistance was needed. Harkey investigated the complaint and identified Crosby as the officer who allegedly played computer games while on duty.

* On November 22, 2005, a PTC computer lab assistant submitted a statement that she witnessed two students attempting to talk to Crosby about parking tickets they had received. The assistant stated that Crosby ignored the students and laughed at them. With the exception of the student complaint submitted on October 31, 2005, Harkey and Cleveland interviewed each person who submitted a complaint against Crosby. The student complainants told Harkey and Cleveland that Crosby treated them in a rude and unprofessional manner. On November 28, 2005 Harkey and Cleveland met with Crosby to discuss the ...


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