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Burton v. Arkansas Secretary of State

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

February 13, 2015

RICHARD A. BURTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE, MARK MARTIN, In his Official Capacity as ARKANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE, DARRELL S. HEDDEN, In his Individual and Official Capacity as Chief of Police for STATE CAPITOL POLICE, Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER

KRISTINE G. BAKER, District Judge.

Before the Court is defendants' second motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 78), to which plaintiff Richard Burton has responded (Dkt. No. 83). Defendants have replied to Mr. Burton's response (Dkt. No. 85).

Mr. Burton brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended), 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution against his former employer, the Arkansas Secretary of State, in his official capacity, and the Chief of the Arkansas State Capitol Police, Darrell Hedden, in his individual and official capacity. Mr. Burton alleges race discrimination and retaliation. Mr. Burton also brings this action under 28 U.S.C. § 2201 for declaratory judgment to declare the rights and other legal relations between the parties.

I. Procedural Background

In its February 16, 2013, Opinion and Order (Dkt. No. 46), this Court granted in part and denied in part defendants' first motion for summary judgment. Specifically, the Court denied defendants' first motion for summary judgment on Mr. Burton's race discrimination and retaliation claims, concluding that Mr. Burton could pursue his Title VII claims against all defendants but that the Eleventh Amendment barred his § 1983 claims against the Arkansas Secretary of State and his claims for monetary damages against the Secretary of State and Chief Hedden in their official capacities. The Court also denied Chief Hedden qualified immunity, finding that Mr. Burton could pursue his § 1983 claims for prospective injunctive relief and monetary damages against Chief Hedden in his individual capacity. Further, the Court denied defendants' first motion for summary judgment as to damages. The Court granted summary judgment to defendants on Mr. Burton's claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, his hostile-work environment claim, and his claim of deprivation of a protected property or liberty interest.

Defendants appealed this Court's Opinion and Order to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking review of this Court's denial of summary judgment as to Chief Hedden's asserted qualified immunity over Mr. Burton's § 1983 claims for race discrimination and retaliation and the Court's denial of summary judgment as to Mr. Burton's Title VII claims. On December 17, 2013, the Eighth Circuit affirmed this Court's decision in all respects, except that it reversed the denial of qualified immunity to Chief Hedden on Mr. Burton's § 1983 equal-protection claim of retaliation and declined to review the Title VII retaliation claim (Dkt. No. 67). Defendants petitioned the Eighth Circuit for rehearing en banc, and the Eighth Circuit denied the petition on January 30, 2014 (App. Case No. 13-1427). This Court entered an Order consistent with the Eighth Circuit's determination and granted Chief Hedden qualified immunity on Mr. Burton's § 1983 equal-protection claim of retaliation (Dkt. No. 70).

In their second motion for summary judgment, defendants argue for a second time that they are entitled to summary judgment on Mr. Burton's discrimination and retaliation claims, that Chief Hedden is entitled to qualified immunity from suit in this matter, and that defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the issues that remain in this case. For the following reasons, the Court denies defendants' second motion for summary judgment.

II. Factual Background

When filing their second motion for summary judgment, defendants requested, and the Court granted, permission for defendants to incorporate by reference the statement of material facts not in dispute that defendants filed in support of their first motion for summary judgment (Dkt. Nos. 80, 82). Mr. Burton, for his response to defendants' second motion for summary judgment, requests that his previously submitted response to defendants' statement of undisputed facts be incorporated into his response to defendants' second motion for summary judgment as stated word for word (Dkt. No. 83, ¶ 12). The Court grants Mr. Burton's request. Because all parties agree that the factual background and record evidence remain unchanged and because the Court set out in detail the factual background in its Opinion and Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' first motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 46), the Court will not repeat the factual background here.

Despite this, defendants filed in support of their second motion for summary judgment a declaration of Chief Hedden initially submitted in another case, Van Horn v. Martin, et al., Case No. 5:13-cv-0074 DPM. This declaration was not filed with defendants' first motion for summary judgment. The declaration relates to Yevonne Van Horn and her employment discrimination claims, not to Mr. Burton. In part, the declaration provides information about certain policies that Secretary of State Mark Martin implemented on November 7, 2011, regarding officers' firearm qualifications.

III. Standard

Summary judgment is proper if the evidence, when viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the defendant is entitled to entry of judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A factual dispute is genuine if the evidence could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. Miner v. Local 373, 513 F.3d 854, 860 (8th Cir. 2008). "The mere existence of a factual dispute is insufficient alone to bar summary judgment; rather, the dispute must be outcome determinative under the prevailing law." Holloway v. Pigman, 884 F.2d 365, 366 (8th Cir. 1989). The initial burden is on the moving party to demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to establish that there is a genuine issue to be determined at trial. Prudential Ins. Co. v. Hinkel, 121 F.3d 364, 366 (8th Cir. 2008). "The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). "There is no discrimination case exception' to the application of summary judgment, which is a useful pretrial tool to determine whether any case, including one alleging discrimination, merits a trial." Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1043 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc).

IV. Discussion

Despite the Eighth Circuit's decision affirming this Court's prior Opinion and Order in nearly all respects and despite all parties agreeing that the factual record remains unchanged, defendants argue that this Court should grant their second motion for summary judgment as to Mr. Burton's claims of race discrimination under Title VII, § 1983, and the Fourteenth Amendment and as to Mr. Burton's claims of retaliation under Title VII. Chief Hedden also asserts again the defense of qualified immunity as to Mr. Burton's claims of race discrimination under § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment. Specifically, defendants contend that the Eighth Circuit's decision in Johnson v. Securitas Security Services, 769 F.3d 605 (8th Cir. 2014), supersedes the Eighth Circuit's decision in this case. Furthermore, defendants argue that this Court should reconsider its previous decision on Mr. Burton's retaliation claims because of the United States Supreme Court's subsequent decision in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 133 S.Ct. 2517 (2013). Mr. Burton ...


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