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Patricia Colquitt v. Xerox Corporation

May 25, 2012

PATRICIA COLQUITT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
XEROX CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael A. Telesca United States District Judge

DECISION and ORDER

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Patricia Colquitt ("Plaintiff"), brings this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII") against her employer Xerox Corporation ("Defendant" or "Xerox"), alleging that she was the victim of a hostile work environment. Plaintiff, now represented by counsel*fn1 , filed her Complaint, pro se, on August 1, 2005. In a Decision and Order dated October 7, 2010, this Court granted-in-part and denied-in-part Defendant's motion to dismiss the pro se complaint. (Docket No. 28.) The only remaining claim is for a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII.

Defendant now moves for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure ("Rule 56") contending that there are no material issues of fact and it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Docket No. 44.) Plaintiff opposes the motion contending that there are material issues of fact. (Docket No. 47-48.) For the reasons set forth herein, the Court grants Defendant's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff's complaint is hereby dismissed with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the parties' submissions pursuant to Local Rule 56(a) and are not in dispute except where noted. (Docket No. 44, 48.) Plaintiff is an African American female who is currently employed by Xerox. Plaintiff has worked at Xerox for more than 24 years. During the relevant time period, February through May 2004, Plaintiff was employed as a V6 inspector in the quality department.

On February 5, 2004, plaintiff complained to Frank Fullone and Rockwell Powers, her manager and supervisor, respectively, that a co-worker, Kenneth Matthews, called her a "fat fucking nigger." Later that same day, in front of Powers, Matthews "cursed" at her again. Plaintiff does not specify what Matthews said in the second conversation, nor does she allege that it was a racially-based comment. Plaintiff also later complained to Chuck Goldsby, Xerox Industrial Relations Manager, about this incident.

Later, in May 2004, a Xerox employee who worked in another workgroup, Marty Gabner, yelled at Plaintiff, "I just want the fucking data," while they were discussing a problem with a part, for which Plaintiff was responsible for processing data.

The parties disagree on whether Fullon, Powers and Goldsby took the appropriate actions in response to the two incidents, but they agree that these incidents were isolated. Plaintiff had no further problems with either Matthews or Gabner.

Fullone testified that he spoke with Matthews and Gabner regarding both incidents. Fullone also testified that he spoke with Plaintiff's entire workgroup following the Matthews incident, indicating that such conduct would not be tolerated. Plaintiff admits that Goldsby conducted an investigation into the Matthews incident to determine if other workgroup members had any similar issues. No other member of Plaintiff's workgroup reported any similar incident during the course of the investigation.

Plaintiff testified that she did not believe that Fullone talked to Matthews regarding the February 2004 incident and that when she spoke with Fullone he stated, "[c]ome on, it's not that serious." She testified that either Powers or Fullone spoke to Gabner after the second incident, but Gabner was not disciplined for the comment.

Lastly, Plaintiff testified that when a Caucasian male made derogatory comments over the course of several weeks to a Caucasian female co-worker, he was suspended. Plaintiff asserts this fact in support of her claim that Xerox did not appropriately discipline Matthews and Gabner, and that this inaction was discriminatory in nature.

DISCUSSION

Rule 56 provides that, "[t]he 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). When considering a motion for summary judgment, all genuinely disputed facts must be resolved in favor of the party against whom summary judgment is sought. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). If, after considering the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, the court finds that no rational jury could find in favor of that ...


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