United States District Court, D. Connecticut
MELBA C. ROBINSON, Plaintiff
CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES, Defendant.
RULING RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT (DOC. NO. 64) AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO STRIKE
(DOC. NO 70).
C. Hall United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Melba C. Robinson (“Robinson”), brings
this pro se employment discrimination action against
the defendant, the State of Connecticut Department of Motor
Vehicles (“DMV”). Robinson “asserts claims
pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e et seq. (‘Title VII'), ”
consisting of “claims for discrimination on the basis
of race and color, ” including “both direct
discrimination claims and claims of retaliation.” Rec.
Ruling (Doc. No. 12) (Merriam, J.) at 1, 6-7,
recommendation adopted Endorsement Order (Doc. No.
court previously granted in part DMV's First Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. No. 28) and granted DMV's Second Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. No. 46). DMV seeks summary judgment on
Robinson's remaining claims. Also before the court is
Robinson's Motion to Strike (Doc. No. 70). For the
reasons stated below, DMV's Motion for Summary Judgment
is granted, and Robinson's Motion to
Strike is denied.
filed her original Complaint, pro se, on July 8,
2016. See Compl. (Doc. No. 1), asserting
“claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. (‘Title VII'),
” consisting of “claims for discrimination on the
basis of race and color, ” including “both direct
discrimination claims and claims of retaliation.” Rec.
Ruling at 1, 6-7, recommendation adopted Endorsement
Order (Doc. No. 13). She filed a First Amended Complaint on
October 12, 2016. See First Am. Compl. (Doc. No.
15). The court struck the First Amended Complaint as late and
directed service of the Complaint. See Endorsement
Order (Doc. No. 16). DMV filed its First Motion to Dismiss on
March 9, 2017. See First Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No.
court ruled on DMV's First Motion to Dismiss on May 23,
2017, granting it in part and denying it in part.
See Ruling on First Mot. to Dismiss (Doc. No. 40).
The court dismissed Robinson's discrimination claim
stemming from her August through September 2011 suspension
and her hostile work environment claim, but gave Robinson
leave to replead those claims if she had a factual basis upon
which to plausibly allege those claims. Id. at 27.
The court denied DMV's First Motion to Dismiss as to
Robinson's discrimination claim stemming from her
December 2011 suspension and her retaliation claim stemming
from her termination. Id. at 27-28.
filed a Second Amended Complaint on June 12, 2017. Second Am.
Compl. (Doc. No. 43). DMV thereafter filed a Second Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. No. 46). The court dismissed Robinson's
hostile work environment claims with prejudice. See
Ruling on Second Motion to Dismiss (Doc. No. 60) at 6. The
court noted that Robinson's claims of discrimination and
retaliation stemming from her December 2011 suspension and
her termination would proceed. Id.
filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on March 16,
2018. See Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 64).
DMV seeks summary judgment in its favor on Robinson's
remaining claims of discrimination related to her two
suspensions, and retaliation related to her termination. Also
before the court is Robinson's Motion to Strike the
Affidavit of Daniel Callahan, which she filed on June 6,
2018. See Motion to Strike (Doc. No. 70).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is proper only where, construing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-movant, “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). On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party
bears the burden of establishing the absence of any genuine
issue of material fact. Zalaski v. City of Bridgeport
Police Dep't, 613 F.3d 336, 340 (2d Cir. 2010). If
the moving party satisfies that burden, the nonmoving party
must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is
‘a genuine issue for trial. Wright v. Goord,
554 F.3d 255, 266 (2d Cir. 2009). A genuine issue exists
where the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
decide in the non-moving party's favor. See,
e.g., Rojas v. Roman Catholic Diocese of
Rochester, 660 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
court's role at summary judgment “is to determine
whether genuine issues of material fact exist for trial, not
to make findings of fact.” O'Hara v. Nat. Union
Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, 642 F.3d 110, 116 (2d Cir.
2011). Unsupported allegations do not create a material issue
of fact and cannot overcome a properly supported motion for
summary judgment. See Weinstock v. Columbia Univ.,
224 F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000). The non-moving party
“may not rely on mere conclusory allegations nor
speculation, but instead must offer some hard evidence
showing that [their] version of the events is not wholly
fanciful.” D'Amico v. City of N.Y., 132
F.3d 145, 149 (2d Cir.1998) (collecting cases). Additionally,
the evidence the court considers in ruling on a motion for
summary judgment must be admissible evidence, or evidence
that could be readily reduced to an admissible form at trial.
See LaSalle Bank National Ass'n v. Nomura Asset
Capital Corp., 424 F.3d 195, 205 (2d Cir. 2005);
Santos v. Murdock, 243 F.3d 681, 683 (2d Cir. 2001)
(“Affidavits submitted to defeat summary judgment must
be admissible themselves or must contain evidence that will
be presented in an admissible form at trial.”)
began working at DMV in May 2007. Def.'s Local Rule
56(a)1 Statement of Facts (“DMV 56(a)1”) (Doc.
No. 64-2) ¶ 12; Pl.'s Local Rule 56(a)2
(“Robinson 56(a)2”) (Doc. No. 72) ¶ 12. In
June 2011, Robinson was involved in a dispute with a DMV
customer. According to Robinson, the customer threw documents
at her. See Robinson 56(a)2 ¶ 26. Robinson
slammed the documents on her workspace and stated, using an
expletive, that she was tired of the way customers treated
DMV employees. Id.
Manente (“Manente”) served as Human Resources
Manager for the DMV. DMV 56(a)1 ¶¶ 19-22; Robinson
56(a)2 ¶¶ 19-22. Manente received an email from
Agustin Roman (“Roman”), the DMV Branch Manager,
on June 7, 2011, which stated that Roman had observed
Robinson yelling and cursing at a customer. DMV 56(a)1 ¶
23; Robinson 56(a)2 ¶ 23. Manente was assigned to
investigate the incident. DMV 56(a)1 ¶ 24; Robinson
56(a)2 ¶ 24. At the conclusion of the investigation,
Robinson signed a Last Chance Stipulated Agreement, in which
she agreed to a 20-day suspension. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 32;
Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 32.
26, 2011, DMV Human Resources received information indicating
that Robinson had been involved in a dispute with a coworker.
See DMV 56a(1) ¶ 38; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 38.
Manente conducted a second investigation and determined that
Robinson's conduct on July 26, 2011 violated DMV policies
and Robinson's Last Chance Stipulated Agreement, and that
the conduct warranted disciplinary action. DMV 56a(1) ¶
42; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 42. Manente also concluded that
the coworker involved in the dispute had violated DMV
policies and should be disciplined. Robinson 56a(2) ¶
49. Robinson signed a Second Stipulated Agreement on December
7, 2011. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 47; Robinson 56a(2) ¶
Robinson served a two-day suspension as part of the
Agreement. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 47; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 47.
August 9, 2012 Robinson attended a meeting with DMV and her
Union regarding her unscheduled absences. DMV 56a(1)
¶¶ 51-52; Robinson 56a(2) ¶¶ 51- 52.
Robinson had received unsatisfactory ratings in her
performance reviews for two consecutive rating periods. DMV
56a(1) ¶ 60; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 60. A
pre-disciplinary meeting was held on January 8, 2013. DMV
56a(1) ¶ 64-65; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 64-65. Robinson
was notified on February 15, 2013, that her employment with
DMV was being terminated. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 68; Robinson
56a(2) ¶ 68.
filed a Complaint with the CHRO, alleging discrimination, on
May 24, 2012. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 4; Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 4.
Robinson filed an Amended Complaint with CHRO, alleging
retaliation, on February 25, 2014. DMV 56a(1) ¶ 5;
Robinson 56a(2) ¶ 5.
Motion to Strike
filed a Motion to Strike the Affidavit of Daniel Callahan on
June 6, 2018. See Motion to Strike (Doc. No. 70).
Robinson seeks to strike the Affidavit (Doc. No. 64-6), which
was submitted as an exhibit to DMV's Motion for Summary
Judgment, because Callahan lacked personal knowledge of the
facts to which he swore. Id. at 1. The court need
not reach the merits of Robinson's arguments, nor those
of the DMV in its Objection, because Robinson's Motion to
Strike is barred by the Local Rules. The Local Rules state
that “[m]otions to strike . . . statements made in a
Rule 56(a) statement or . . . the supporting evidence are
prohibited.” D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 56(a)4. Callahan's
Affidavit is evidence submitted in support of DMV's
Motion for Summary Judgment. Robinson's Motion to Strike
is therefore denied.
Motion for Summary Judgment
seeks summary judgment in its favor as to Robinson's
claims of discrimination and retaliation. See
Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Motion for Summary Judgment
(“DMV Mem. in Supp.”) (Doc. No. 64-1) at 1. DMV
argues that, (1) Robinson's retaliation claim regarding
her termination is time-barred, id. at 3; and (2)
all of Robinson's claims are barred by the Stipulated
Agreements she signed, id. at 8. In the alternative,
DMV argues that (1) Robinson failed to meet her burden to
provide evidence sufficient to state a prima facie
case of discrimination, or to establish that there is a
genuine dispute of material fact as to whether ...