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Ledbetter v. Good Samaritan Ministries-A Project of Carbondale Interfaith Cuncil

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 17, 2014

LINZIE J. LEDBETTER, Plaintiff,
v.
GOOD SAMARITAN MINISTRIES-A PROJECT OF CARBONDALE INTERFAITH CUNCIL, BOBBY ANDERSON, AND MICHAEL HEATH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DAVID R. HERNDON, Chief District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment brought by defendants Good Samaritan Ministries-A Project of the Carbondale Interfaith Council (Good Samaritan), Bobby Anderson (Anderson), and Michael Heath (Heath) (collectively, defendants) (Doc. 31). Defendants seek summary judgment in their favor as to plaintiff Linzie J. Ledbetter's (Ledbetter) complaint alleging retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Title VII), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Ledbetter opposes defendants' motion (Docs. 36 and 38). For the following reasons, defendants' motion is GRANTED.

II. BACKGROUND

This Court is familiar with Ledbetter and his work with Good Samaritan. See Linzie J. Ledbetter v. Good Samaritan Ministries, 10-cv-740-DRH-SCW (S.D. Ill.) (claims dismissed with prejudice on January 17, 2013). This time around, Ledbetter, acting pro se, brings a complaint for retaliation arising from his termination from Good Samaritan on October 20, 2010. Ledbetter alleges he was terminated for filing charges of race discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) against defendants on October 4, 2010. He requests compensatory damages of $2, 500, 000.00 from each defendant, as well as $2, 500, 000.00 in punitive damages from each defendant.

Defendants move for summary judgment under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56, arguing Ledbetter cannot present evidence of a prima facie claim of retaliation, and alternatively, defendant was discharged for honestly held, legitimate, non-discriminatory/non-retaliatory business reasons and Ledbetter has no evidence to the contrary. In light of Ledbetter's pro se status, the Court provided Ledbetter clear notice of the need to file affidavits or other responsive materials and of the consequences for not responding to defendants' motion. See Timms v. Frank, 953 F.2d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1992). Ledbetter has responded (Docs. 36 and 38).

III. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

Ledbetter began his employment with Good Samaritan, a tax-exempt organization which provides various services to individuals in need, on November 14, 2007. In June 2010, Ledbetter worked as General Staff for Good Samaritan's emergency shelter (Shelter). Heath is the Executive Director of Good Samaritan. Anderson is the General Staff Supervisor at Good Samaritan and served as Ledbetter's supervisor.

In support of summary judgment, defendants offer statements of Anderson and Heath ( See Docs. 32-1 and 32-2, Affidavits of Heath and Anderson attesting and affirmatively stating that every fact attributed to them in defendants' motion and memorandum in support is true and correct to the best of their knowledge). Anderson and Heath allege they experienced many behavioral problems with Ledbetter during his employment with Good Samaritan.

Specifically, Anderson and Heath state the following:

On June 17, 2010, Ledbetter "confronted a resident" of Good Samaritan's Shelter and, "demand[ed] to know why she had not completed her chores." If a resident at the Shelter fails to complete her chores, she may face eviction. The resident told Ledbetter that Keith Nevers (Nevers), another General Staff member, told the resident she did not have to complete the chores. Ledbetter told the resident he was going to evict her.

On June 18, 2010, Heath met with the resident about the incident. The resident was, "upset and also said she was afraid of [Ledbetter]." Heath and Anderson met with Ledbetter, "to express their concerns regarding [Ledbetter's] behavior toward the resident and his handling of the situation." Ledbetter was not disciplined, but "reminded" to, "display a professional attitude toward others including his supervisors, and that future incidents could result in discipline up to and including termination."

Ledbetter denies that the incident with the resident took place in the way defendants describe. He offers a letter allegedly written and signed by the resident at issue in which she states she never told anyone she was "mad" at Ledbetter (Doc. 36-2).

Because of this Court's past experience with Ledbetter, it is aware that Ledbetter filed his first charge of discrimination against the defendants on June 21, 2010. See ...


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