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Roane v. Delaware Transit Corporation

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 17, 2015

KELVIN E. ROANE, Plaintiff,
v.
DELAWARE TRANSIT CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.

Kelvin E. Roane, Bear, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

Mary Page Bailey, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LEONARD P. STARK, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Kelvin E. Roane ("Roane" or "Plaintiff') filed this action on February 24, 2012, against Defendants Delaware Transit Corporation ("DTC") and director of human resources Margaret Webb ("Webb") pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964, as amended, alleging employment discrimination by reason of race and sex. (D.I. 1) Roane amended the complaint on November 1, 2012, adding Defendants paratransit manager M. Kathryn Wilson ("Wilson") and labor relations specialist Richard Siebel ("Siebel") as well as new claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. (D.I. 6) Roane appears pro se. Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (D.I. 30) Roane did not file an opposition to the motion. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motion.

II. BACKGROUND

Roane was employed as a paratransit service supervisor for the DTC. DTC received several complaints from female employees of sexual harassment. On December 22, 2008, Roane was warned about an inappropriate conversation with a bus driver when he appeared to seek sexual favors. (D.I. 32 a A001-03) On January 20, 2009, Roane received a letter of warning concerning unprofessional and disrespectful conduct that had occurred on January 15, 2009. ( Id. at A004)

On April 29, 2009, a white female who was also a paratransit service supervisor, complained that she received an inappropriate text message of a sexual nature from Roane, that he showed her a photograph of a man's penis, and that he asked that she photograph herself and share it with him. ( Id. at A005) A black female paratransit specialist driver complained that on April 27, 2009, Roane made sexually inappropriate statements and touched her inappropriately. ( Id. at A006-7)

According to Roane, on April 30, 2009, Webb called him into her office, advised him that she had been informed he had engaged in inappropriate behavior, took his ID badge, and sent him home. ( Id. at A016) Roane denied any wrongdoing and considered the allegations false. ( Id. at A016) Roane unsuccessfully attempted to contact numerous DTC personnel during the next several days to discuss the matter. ( Id. ) Roane was informed by letter that a pre-termination hearing was scheduled for May 11, 2009. ( Id. )

Webb, Wilson, Siebel, and Charles Moulds ("Moulds"), a transportation manager, were present at the meeting. During the meeting, Roane informed management of alleged actions taken by the fellow female supervisor who had filed a complaint against him. ( Id. at A017) Roane claimed that he had been sexually harassed and had received inappropriate text messages from her, but he had not made a complaint regarding the alleged conduct. ( Id. at A017) Roane was terminated effective May 22, 2009 for unprofessional behavior in violation of the DTC's sexual and other unlawful harassment policy. ( Id. at A014-15) The DTC determined that Roane had knowingly and intentionally created a work environment that was demeaning to another employee which undermined the integrity of the employment relationship. ( Id. )

Roane filed a charge of discrimination on February 12, 2010, alleging race discrimination and sexual harassment. (D.I. 1 Ex.) He received a right to sue letter dated November 28, 2011, and filed this action on February 24, 2012.

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

"The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any 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 burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 n.10 (1986). An assertion that a fact cannot be - or, alternatively, is - genuinely disputed must be supported either by citing to "particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for the purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, " or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) & (B). If the moving party has carried its burden, the nonmovant must then "come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587 (internal quotation marks omitted). The Court will "draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and it may not make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence." Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must "do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586; see also Podohnik v. United States Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005) (stating party opposing summary judgment "must present more than just bare assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions to show the existence of a genuine issue") (internal quotation marks omitted). However, the "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment;" and a factual dispute is genuine only where "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Id. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (stating entry of summary judgment is mandated "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial"). Thus, the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment; there must be "evidence on which the jury could reasonably find" for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. With respect to summary ...


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