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RANDALL v. HOWARD UNIV.

October 21, 1996

DR. ANN KNIGHT RANDALL, Plaintiff,
v.
HOWARD UNIVERSITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICHEY

 Before the Court in the above captioned employment discrimination case is the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and the plaintiff's Opposition thereto. Based on the pleadings, the entire record herein, the law applicable thereto, and for the reasons expressed below, the Court shall grant the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

 BACKGROUND

 The following facts are undisputed. On September 1, 1989, the plaintiff was appointed by Howard University to the position of Director of University Libraries, Division of Academic Affairs. The term of the plaintiff's employment contract was three years, from September 1, 1989 until August 31, 1992. Plaint's Opp. Exh. 1. Subsequently, the plaintiff was reappointed for a term of three years to extend through August 31, 1995. Id. at Exh. 1b.

 During September 1994, Dr. Orlando L. Taylor, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs at Howard University and the plaintiff's immediate superior, received several complaints about the plaintiff from three of her subordinates, Clara Guyton, Laura Willis, and Mod Mekkawi, who were supervisors in University Libraries. Def's Mot. at Exh. 1. Specifically, the following complaints were made:

 
1. Decisions, restructuring plans, and other recommendations were submitted by the [plaintiff] without involving Assistant Directors or other supervisors.
 
2. Supervisors were excluded from participating in the administrative meeting of August 24, 1994.
 
3. Members of the Library Director's Council were directed by the [plaintiff] to "disregard the memorandum" regarding meetings scheduled for September 6, 1994 and October 3, 1994.
 
4. Without approval, the [plaintiff] revised the Employment Data Forms provided in Dr. Ladner's memorandum of August 18, 1994 and disseminated to employees for completion.

 Id. at Exh. 4. The complaints concerned the three subordinates' non-involvement in a University-wide restructuring plan in which all supervisors were to participate pursuant to a directive from the Interim President, Dr. Joyce A. Ladner. Def's Mot. at Exh. 3.

 Dr. Taylor reviewed the complaints from Guyton, Willis, and Mekkawi, and discussed the matter with Dr. Ladner. The University's Office of Human Resource Management, headed by Ms. Michele Wright, investigated the complaints and reported back to Dr. Taylor by memorandum dated October 12, 1994 that the plaintiff had "created a severe work disruption within the work force in the University Libraries." Def's Mot. at Exh. 4. Ms. Wright recommended that the plaintiff "be immediately placed on administrative leave with pay until a final decision regarding her employment status is made." Id. Dr. Taylor advised the plaintiff of the complaints and gave her an opportunity to respond. The plaintiff provided a response on October 26, 1994. Def's Mot. at Exh. 6.

 On December 13, 1994, Dr. Taylor transmitted a memorandum to Dr. Ladner, who had directly supervised the plaintiff during her tenure as the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Taylor reported his findings and recommended that the plaintiff be terminated upon the expiration of her current appointment period. Dr. Ladner reviewed the memorandum, discussed the matter with Dr. Taylor, agreed with his recommendation, and determined that the plaintiff should be removed from her position and replaced by Mekkawi, who is a male subordinate of the plaintiff's. Mekkawi holds graduate degrees from American University of Beirut, University of Pittsburgh, and Georgetown University, one post-graduate diploma in development planning, and has done doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University. He has worked at Howard University for more than 25 years, moving progressively in library administration. Since 1983, he had been the Assistant Director for the Founders Library, and Assistant Director for Founders-UGL since 1990. Prior to the plaintiff's termination, he served as Assistant Director of Central Library Services.

 This case was filed on June 10, 1996. On July 12, 1996 and on August 9, 1996, the Court held Rule 16 scheduling conferences. The defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on September 13, 1996, to which the plaintiff filed an Opposition on September 27, 1996. A pretrial conference was held before the Court on October 7, 1996, during which the Court advised the plaintiff that she was not in compliance with the Court's previous scheduling Orders and gave her leave to submit her pretrial materials late. Also at the pretrial conference, the Court advised the plaintiff of her burdens with respect to avoiding summary judgment under the Tripartite Framework established by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973), and St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 113 S. Ct. 2742, 125 L. Ed. 2d 407 (1993). The Court advised the parties it would rule on the Motion for Summary Judgment forthwith.

 DISCUSSION

 The Court must grant summary judgment for the moving party 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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). "Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed 'to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'" Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986) (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 1).

 An issue must be both genuine and material to preclude the entry of summary judgment. 477 U.S. at 247-48. An issue is genuine if there is sufficient evidence to support a rational finding either way. In making this determination, the non-movant's evidence "is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [their] favor." Id. at 255. "Only disputes of facts that might affect the outcome of the suit . . . will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Id. at 248.

 In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must "view the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden" that would apply at the trial on the merits. Id. at 252, 254. The judge's inquiry asks "whether there is [evidence] upon which a jury can properly proceed to find a verdict for the party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof is imposed." Id. at 252 (citation omitted). The judge must "bear in mind the actual quantum and quality of proof necessary to support [a verdict]." Id. at 254.

 * * *

 Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides in relevant part:

 
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer--
 
(1) . . . to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his [or her] compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of ...

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