United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MELISSA D. TRAVIS-NEAL, Plaintiff,
STATE OF OKLAHOMA, ex rel. OKLAHOMA STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, Defendant.
STEPHEN P. FRIOT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
State of Oklahoma, ex rel. Oklahoma State Bureau of
Investigation moves for summary judgment. Doc. no. 23.
Plaintiff Melissa D. Travis-Neal has responded, objecting to
the motion. Doc. no. 29. Defendant filed a reply brief. Doc.
claims are alleged in this action: a Title VII discrimination
claim based on plaintiff's race (the complaint alleges
plaintiff is a mixed-race African American) and a claim under
42 U.S.C. § 1981. Doc. no. 1. Plaintiff alleges, in
support of both of these claims, that she was excluded from
an opportunity to obtain a position at the Oklahoma State
Bureau of Investigation (OSBI). The complaint alleges that
plaintiff was the best qualified applicant for the position
based on her education, training and experience but that the
OSBI did not select her for an interview and hired a white
reasons stated below, this order grants the motion to the
extent that it seeks judgment on the §1981 claim and
denies the motion to the extent that it seeks judgment on the
Title VII claim.
Rule 56, Fed. R. Civ. P., summary judgment shall be granted
if the movant shows there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 325 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when
“there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving
party for a jury to return a verdict for that party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of a material
fact exists, the evidence is to be taken in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress
& Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). All reasonable
inferences to be drawn from the undisputed facts are to be
determined in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
United States v. Agri Services, Inc., 81 F.3d 1002,
1005 (10th Cir. 1996). Once the moving party has
met its burden, the opposing party must come forward with
specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials,
demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Posey v. Skyline Corp., 702 F.2d 102, 105 (7th Cir.
time plaintiff applied for the position in question, she was
an employee of the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office
although she worked at the OSBI under a Memorandum of
Understanding between the Attorney General's Office and
the OSBI. In that capacity, plaintiff, as an OSBI affiliate,
was assigned to investigate cases in the Internet Crimes
Against Children (ICAC) unit of the OSBI. When a grant-funded
position came open at the OSBI for a state employee to work
as an agent in the ICAC unit, plaintiff applied. She met
eligibility requirements. The OSBI did not interview
plaintiff and hired a white female to fill the position.
moves for judgment on the § 1981 claim based on eleventh
amendment immunity. Plaintiff concedes this
argument. Summary judgment will be entered in favor
of the defendant on the §1981 claim.
Title VII Claim
argues that the Title VII claim fails under the
burden-shifting framework of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973).
that framework, plaintiff, to avoid summary judgment, must
begin by presenting evidence of a prima facie case
of race discrimination. Defendant does not challenge
plaintiff's evidence at this first step, and the court
finds plaintiff has carried her burden using any arguably
applicable statement of the prima facie
second step is to determine whether defendant has articulated
a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its employment
action. Defendant argues that it did not interview plaintiff
for the position based on legitimate business concerns which
are not reviewable under Title VII. Specifically, defendant
presents evidence intended to show that plaintiff was not
interviewed due to workplace issues such as defendant's
belief that plaintiff had been surreptitiously involved in
creating an addendum to the agreement which governed the
relationship between the OSBI and the Office of the Attorney
General, resulting in plaintiff receiving overtime pay; and
plaintiff's attempt to secretly record an OSBI employee.
Defendant argues that based on these events, Charlie
Mackey had misgivings about plaintiff's
integrity and that integrity was a principal requirement for
the position. In addition, ...