United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
Kristine G. Baker United States District Judge
the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by
defendants ABC Preschool (“ABC”) and Forrest City
School District (the “District”) (Dkt. No. 17).
Plaintiff Kisha Childers has not responded to the motion for
summary judgment. For the following reasons, the Court grants
the motion for summary judgment (Id.). The Court
denies as moot the pending motion in limine filed by
defendants (Dkt. No. 22).
otherwise noted by citation, the following facts are taken
from defendants' statement of undisputed facts (Dkt. No.
an employment discrimination action filed by Ms. Childers, a
former aide in the District. Ms. Childers brings this suit
for race discrimination against defendants pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq. On October 22, 2014, District
Superintendent Dr. Tiffany Hardrick provided Ms. Childers
with a notice of recommended termination letter (Dkt. No. 19,
¶ 2). The letter cited five reasons for Dr.
Hardrick's recommendation to the District school board to
terminate Ms. Childers' employment contract
(Id.). As outlined in the letter, the recommended
termination of Ms. Childers was based on an incident that
occurred on October 8, 2014, in which Ms. Childers allegedly
engaged in inappropriate and unprofessional behavior by
directing vulgar and abusive language at another employee,
threatened to fight the other employee and cause her bodily
harm, and was subsequently insubordinate to the teacher and
principal when they tried to de-escalate the incident
(Id., ¶ 3). Dr. Hardrick's letter also
noted that Ms. Childers was habitually late for work and
other assigned duties and had at least three other incidents
like the one on October 8, 2014, purportedly showing a
pattern of unprofessional behavior (Id.).
public school employee, Ms. Childers was suspended with pay
and was afforded a due process hearing before the District
school board pursuant to Arkansas Code Annotated §
6-17-1701 et seq. (Dkt. No. 19, ¶ 4). The
hearing was held on November 13, 2014, and Ms. Childers
attended the hearing and presented a defense (Id.).
After a full hearing, the District school board voted to
accept the superintendent's recommendation, thereby
terminating Ms. Childers' contract (Id., ¶
Childers then filed a Charge of Discrimination
(“Charge”) with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) on or about July 5, 2015,
alleging discrimination based on her race (Id.,
¶ 6). The EEOC issued Ms. Childers a notice of right to
sue letter on July 14, 2015 (Id.). Ms. Childers
waited until July 1, 2015, to sign her Charge, and the Charge
was not received by the EEOC until on or about July 5, 2015
(Dkt. No. 19, ¶ 8).
deposition, Ms. Childers stated that she did not think she
was discriminated against because of her race, even
testifying that she “was going to change my motion with
the court to say that I wasn't really racially
discriminated against, it was job discrimination, wrongful
job discrimination.” (Id., ¶ 9). Further,
Ms. Childers was asked about her racial discrimination claims
during her deposition, which led to the following exchange:
Q. Okay. You agree you weren't racially discriminated?
A. I agree. Because most of the majority of the people that I
work with are of my race, and they couldn't have-I mean,
most of the other races I work with, we got along well.
(Dkt. No. 17-3, at 13). Ms. Childers also conceded that her
direct supervisor, her principal, was African-American; that
Dr. Hardrick, the Superintendent who recommended her
termination, was African-American; and that the majority of
the school board members at her termination hearing were
African-American (Id., ¶ 10). Further, Ms.
Childers admitted that she had no evidence to support a claim
of racial discrimination besides her complaint (Id.,
¶ 11). Lastly, Ms. Childers conceded she simply
disagreed with the reasons for her termination, admitting
this was the business judgment of the District (Id.,
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment is
proper “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The plain language of
Rule 56(c) 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. Id. In such a situation, there can be
“no genuine issue as to any material fact, ”
since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders
all other facts immaterial. Id. at 323. The moving
party is “entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law” because the nonmoving party has failed to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of his case with
respect to which he has the burden of proof. Id.
seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing this Court of the basis for its
motion and identifying those portions of “the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
” which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Id. One of the
principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate
and dispose of ...