United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Webber Wright, United States District Judge
Sharron Brooks (“Brooks”) filed this employment
dispute against Cindy Gillespie, Director of the Arkansas
Department of Human Services (“ADHS”), sued in
her official capacity only. Before the Court is ADHS's
motion for summary judgment [ECF Nos. 23, 24, 25],
Brooks's response in opposition [ECF Nos. 31, 33], and
ADHS's reply [ECF No. 34]. After careful consideration,
and for reasons that follow, summary judgment is granted in
favor of ADHS.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate when “the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). As a prerequisite to summary judgment, a
moving party must demonstrate “an absence of evidence
to support the non-moving party's case.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325
(1986). Once the moving party has properly supported
its motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must
“do more than simply show there is some metaphysical
doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586
non-moving party may not rest on mere allegations or denials
of his pleading but must come forward with ‘specific
facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 587.
“[A] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1)
there is a dispute of fact; (2) the disputed fact is material
to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine,
that is, a reasonable jury could return a verdict for either
party.” RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins.
Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995).
who is black, has worked for ADHS since 2007, and she brings
this action claiming that ADHS rejected her applications for
promotion because of her race and gender. Brooks started her
employment with ADHS working as an administrative assistant,
and in 2009, the agency promoted her to a program coordinator
position. In January 2014, Brooks submitted applications for
three openings for senior auditor positions, a job that
carried minimum qualifications as follows:
The formal education equivalent of a bachelor's degree in
accounting, finance, or related field; plus three years of
experience in accounting, auditing, or a related area,
including one year in an organizational auditing capacity.
Additional requirements determined by the agency for
recruiting purposes require review and approval by the Office
of Personnel Management. OTHER JOB RELATED EDUCATION AND/OR
EXPERIENCE MAY BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ALL OR PART OF THESE BASIC
REQUIREMENTS, EXCEPT FOR CERTIFICATION OR LICENSURE
REQUIREMENTS, UPON APPROVAL OF THE QUALIFICATIONS REVIEW
did not meet the minimum job qualifications for senior
auditor, and ADHS cancelled the job openings for lack of
December 2014, Brooks applied for another senior auditor job
opening. This time, Brooks met the minimum qualifications and
benchmark criteria, and ADHS interviewed her for the job but
hired a white male named Mark Speight (“Speight”)
for the position. In August 2014, approximately four months
after ADHS hired Speight as a senior auditor, it posted an
audit coordinator position, a job that required a
bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related
field; four years' experience in accounting, finance or
related field; and two years in a supervisory or leadership
capacity. Brooks and Speight both applied for the position,
and ADHS selected Speight for the job.
30, 2016, Brooks filed this action, charging that ADHS failed
to promote her because of her race and sex, in violation of
Title VII, the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, and 42 U.S.C.
and Gillespie assert Eleventh Amendment immunity, and they
argue that there are no genuine issues for trial on the
merits of Brooks's discrimination claims.