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Kornegay v. AT&T

September 29, 2008

DARRYL L. KORNEGAY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AT&T, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul L. Friedman United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the Court on defendant AT&T's Motion for Summary Judgment. The plaintiff, Darryl Kornegay, alleges that AT&T failed to promote him and later fired him from his job as a chauffeur in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). Upon careful consideration of the motion, plaintiff's response in opposition, defendant's reply, and the entire record in the case, the Court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment*fn1

I. BACKGROUND

From February 1988 until June 1997, Mr. Kornegay worked in various capacities for defendant AT&T. See Mot., Defendant's Statement of Undisputed Facts ("DSF") ¶¶ 1, 28.

At the times relevant to his discrimination charges, Mr. Kornegay primarily worked as a chauffeur. See DSF ¶ 4; Amended Complaint ("Am. Compl.") ¶ 5.

In March 1995, the position of Executive Assistant/Research Assistant to an AT&T Corporate Vice President became available. See DSF ¶ 2. Mr. Kornegay alleges that he applied for this position, which would have been a promotion, but that he was not selected, despite positive performance reviews, because of his race (the "non-promotion claim"). See Am. Compl. ¶ 2.

In the last two years of Mr. Kornegay's employment, AT&T provided him with an American Express Corporate Credit Card (the "Corporate Card"). See DSF ¶ 6. Mr. Kornegay does not contest AT&T's assertion that he periodically used the Corporate Card for personal purchases. See DSF ¶ 18. On May 29, 1997, AT&T Corporate Security Managers confronted Mr. Kornegay with evidence of these purchases. See DSF ¶¶ 21-25. AT&T did not accept Mr. Kornegay's explanations for the purchases and terminated his employment on June 20, 1997. See DSF ¶¶ 24, 26, 28. Mr. Kornegay alleges that this termination was discriminatory (the "termination claim"). See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 3-5.

On March 3, 1998, Mr. Kornegay submitted a District of Columbia Office of Human Rights ("DCOHR") Pre-Complaint Questionnaire. See DSF ¶ 34. On April 28, 1998 Mr. Kornegay formally filed a charge of discrimination against AT&T with the DCOHR. See Def's Mot. at Ex. M. On July 22, 2002, the DCOHR issued a determination letter dismissing Mr. Kornegay's non-promotion claim as untimely and finding no probable cause for his termination claim. See DSF ¶ 37. The EEOC adopted the findings of the DCOHR and issued Mr. Kornegay a "right to sue" letter on September 29, 2004. See DSF ¶ 38. Mr. Kornegay filed this action on January 3, 2005. AT&T filed the pending summary judgment motion on December 14, 2007.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment may be granted only if "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits [or declarations] show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d 889, 895 (D.C. Cir. 2006). "A fact is 'material' if a dispute over it might affect the outcome of a suit under the governing law; factual disputes that are 'irrelevant or unnecessary' do not affect the summary judgment determination." Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d at 895 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248).

An issue is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248; Holcomb v. Powell, 433 F.3d at 895. When a motion for summary judgment is under consideration, "the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in [his] favor." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 255; see also Mastro v. Potomac Electric Power Co., 447 F.3d 843, 849-50 (D.C. Cir. 2006); Aka v. Washington Hospital Center, 156 F.3d 1284, 1288 (D.C. Cir. 1998) (en banc); Washington Post Co. v. Dep't of Health and Human Services, 865 F.2d 320, 325 (D.C. Cir. 1989). On a motion for summary judgment, the Court must "eschew making credibility determinations or weighing the evidence."

Czekalski v. Peters, 475 F.3d 360, 363 (D.C. Cir. 2007).

The non-moving party's opposition, however, must consist of more than mere unsupported allegations or denials and must be supported by affidavits, declarations or other competent evidence setting forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e)(2); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The non-moving party is "required to provide evidence that would permit a reasonable jury to find" in his favor. Laningham v. U.S. Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242 (D.C. Cir. 1987). If the evidence is "merely colorable" or "not significantly probative," summary judgment may be granted. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 249-50; see Scott v. Harris, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776 (2007) ("[W]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, 'there is no genuine issue for trial.'") (quoting Matsushita Electric Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). To defeat summary judgment, a plaintiff must produce more than "a scintilla of evidence to support his claims." Freedman v. MCI Telecommunications Corp., 255 F.3d 840, 845 (D.C. Cir. 2001). In an employment discrimination case, "[u]sually, proffering ...


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