United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
DIERDRA A. BREWSTER, Plaintiff.
THE NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE, Defendant.
TERRENCE W. BOYLE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on defendant's motion for
summary judgment. [DE 49], Plaintiff moves to strike the
summary judgment motion [DE 53], for leave to file excess
pages [DE 57], and for a continuance to conduct discovery [DE
58]. For the reasons that follow, defendant's motion for
summary judgment [DE 49] is GRANTED. Plaintiffs motions [DE
53, 57, 58] are DENIED.
born in 1960, is African American and a Jehovah's
Witness. DE 51, ¶¶ 3-4. She worked for the North
Carolina Department of the Secretary of State ("the
Department") from early 2004 until February 2018.
Id. ¶¶ 1-2; DE 55, ¶ 1. Plaintiff
seems to have left the Department voluntarily, but she
contends that she left because she could no longer tolerate
the hostile work environment. DE 51, ¶ 2; DE 55 ¶
has filed four EEOC charges of discrimination: (1) one charge
alleged adverse employment action based on sex, age, and in
retaliation for her complaint about work conditions; (2) one
charge alleged discrimination based on a disability and race;
(3) one charge alleged adverse employment action based on
religion, age, and for retaliation; and (4) one charge
alleged religious discrimination. DE 51, ¶¶ 7-12.
The EEOC dismissed at least three of four charges and issued
right to sue letters. Id. ¶¶ 7-11. The
record is not clear as to what happened with the fourth
charge. Id. ¶¶ 12.
Plaintiff seems to dispute defendant's characterization
of these charges, but the Court is unable to discern the
precise nature of the dispute. DE 55 ¶¶ 7-12.
pro se, plaintiff initiated this action against the
Department in September 2018. Plaintiffs form complaint
selects retaliation and discrimination based on religion and
age as the basis for her suit. DE 1. Plaintiff attached a
narrative explanation of her claims that exceeds one hundred
pages. DE 1-10. The Court entered a scheduling order on
December 5, 2018, which provided for discovery to close on
April 30, 2019. DE 28. On August 30, 2019, defendant filed
the instant motion for summary judgment. DE 49. Plaintiff
moves to strike defendant's motion, for leave to file
excess pages, and for a continuance of the discovery period.
DE 53, 57, 58.
motion for summary judgment may not be granted unless there
are no genuine issues of material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If that
burden has been met, the non-moving party must then come
forward and establish the specific material facts in dispute
to survive summary judgment. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.,
Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986).
The nonmoving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone.
determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists,
a court must view the evidence and the inferences in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). However, "[t]he
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of
the nonmoving party's position is not sufficient to
defeat a motion for summary judgment; "there must be
evidence on which the [fact finder] could reasonably find for
the [nonmoving party]." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986). "A dispute is
genuine if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party . . . and [a] fact is material if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law."
Libertarian Party of Virginia v. Judd, 718 F.3d 308,
313 (4th Cir. 2013) (internal quotations and citations
omitted). Speculative or conclusory allegations will not
suffice. Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co., 312
F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002).
Court finds that there are no genuine issues of material fact
and that defendant is entitled to summary judgment. Plaintiff
brings clams for religious discrimination, age
discrimination, and retaliation, but has failed to produce
any evidence to survive summary judgment. The Court is unable
to discern-using either plaintiffs lengthy attachment to her
complaint, her opposition brief, or her statement of material
facts-the facts that form the basis of her claims. From
defendant's summary judgment brief and statement of
material facts, the Court gathers that the religious
discrimination claim has something to do with plaintiffs
perception of the Department's policies regarding its
holiday festivities and that the age discrimination claim
involves plaintiffs perception that younger employees were
afforded increased responsibilities. DE 50 at 6-9. The basis
for the retaliation claim seems to be plaintiffs belief that
the Department gave negative information about her to
prospective employers. Id. at 10. Defendant has
produced evidence about these policies supporting its
assertion that they are not discriminatory. Id. at
pro se litigants are entitled to a certain amount of
leniency from the courts, plaintiffs pro se status
does not relieve her of the responsibility to state her
claims with at least minimal clarity and produce evidence
supporting those claims in order to survive summary judgment.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007). Plaintiff
has produced neither direct evidence of discrimination nor
made a prima facie showing under the McDonnell
Douglas framework. See DE 55, 56. The Court
grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.
moves to strike defendant's summary judgment motion. DE
53. Defendant's motion was timely and complies with the