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Catalan v. House of Raeford

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Southern Division

April 24, 2014

MARCO JULIO PALENCIA CATALAN, Plaintiff,
v.
HOUSE OF RAEFORD, Defendant

Decided Date: April 23, 2014

Page 521

Marco Julio Palencia Catalan, Plaintiff, Pro se, Clinton, NC.

For House of Raeford, Defendant: Lori Peoples Jones, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jordan Price Wall Gray Jones & Carlton, PLLC, Raleigh, NC.

OPINION

Page 522

ORDER

JAMES C. FOX, Senior United States District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendant House of Raeford's motion for summary judgment [DE-15]. Catalan did not file a response brief and the matter is now ripe for ruling. For the reasons that follow, the motion is ALLOWED and Catalan's claims are DISMISSED.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Catalan, proceeding pro se, alleges that House of Raeford discriminated against him on the basis of his Latino race when it failed to promote him to a supervisor position and ultimately terminated his employment. Specifically, Catalan alleges he was " the only person whose position was taken away and given to another person without any experience and time working with the company." Compl. [DE-1-1] ¶ ¶ 4, 9.

Page 523

House of Raeford is a large poultry processing facility located in Rose Hill, N.C., which employs between 650 and 700 employees. Between 2009 and 2011, Catalan was employed as a " line leader" in the Debone Department. Although it is not entirely clear from the record, presumably the " Debone Department" is responsible for removing the bones from the chicken as they pass down the production line. Catalan's responsibilities included training line staff members to make proper cuts to the chicken and filling in on the production line if an employee was absent. House of Raeford's employee structure is organized generally as follows: production line worker; line leader; supervisor; department manager. At the time he was hired, Catalan reported to his immediate supervisor, Amado Rosales, who is of Hispanic descent, and David Knowles, the department manager.

As part of a significant restructuring of the Rose Hill facility, House of Raeford eliminated four line leader positions in the Debone Department, including Catalan's. The four line leaders were all offered other positions within the company. House of Raeford promoted one of the former line leaders, Shearon Hayes, an African American female, to debone supervisor. The others, including Catalan, were offered lower-paying positions. Catalan apparently applied for the supervisor position but House of Raeford hired Hayes instead. Catalan also alleges that Hayes was promoted to supervisor " without any experience and time working with the company." Compl. [DE-1] ¶ 4. However, the uncontradicted record evidence reveals that Hayes was hired just three weeks after Catalan and that prior to her employment with House of Raeford she worked at a pork processing facility for seventeen years, ten of which in a leadership capacity.

In addition to the eliminated positions in the Debone Department, House of Raeford eliminated a number of employee positions throughout the facility, including line leader, supervisory and managerial positions. Employees who lost their positions included five African Americans, one Hispanic supervisor, and three Caucasian employees. When Catalan learned that House of Raeford hired Hayes instead of him ...


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