United States District Court, W.D. New York
BONNIE M. ATKINS, Plaintiff,
ROCHESTER CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
ELIZABETH A. WOLFORD JUDGE
Bonnie M. Atkins ("Plaintiff) commenced this action
against Defendant Rochester City School District ("the
District") on August 20, 2015, asserting violations of
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2OOOe et seq. ("Title VII") and the
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C.
§ 621 et seq. ("ADEA"). (Dkt. 1).
Plaintiff alleges disparate treatment as compared to younger
and Caucasian employees, resulting in deprivation of equal
employment opportunities. (Id.). Presently before
the Court is the District's motion for summary judgment.
(Dkt. 19). Because the Court concludes that Plaintiff has
failed to establish a prima facie case of
discrimination under Title VII or the ADEA, the
District's motion is granted.
Proceedings in this Court
filed her complaint in this Court on August 20, 2015. (Dkt.
1). Before filing in federal court, Plaintiff filed a charge
of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") alleging discrimination by the
District on the basis of Plaintiff s age and race. (Dkt. 1 at
¶ 9; see Dkt. 1 (Exhibit A)). Plaintiff filed
the instant action within 90 days of receiving a Right to Sue
Letter from the EEOC. (Dkt. 1 at ¶4; Dkt. 1 (Exhibit
A)). The District filed an answer to Plaintiffs complaint on
September 4, 2015. (Dkt. 4). On November 7, 2016, the
District moved for summary judgment. (Dkt. 19). Plaintiff
filed papers in opposition to the motion on March 2, 2017.
(Dkt. 27). The District replied in support of its motion on
March 20, 2017. (Dkt. 28).
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that the District has engaged in
unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII and
the ADEA. (Dkt. 1 at ¶¶ 31, 34). Plaintiff states
that she was assigned to work as Principal of Freddie Thomas
High School during the 2012-2013 school year. (Id.
at ¶ 14). That school was one often in the District
targeted for phase-out and closure. (Id. at ¶
15). At Freddie Thomas High School, Plaintiff had about 181
students in 8th grade, and the balance of her students-
approximately 340-attended the All City High School Program
during the school year, along with students from other
phase-out high schools. (Id. at ¶ 16).
September 7, 2013, Plaintiff received her Annual Professional
Performance Review ("APPR"). (Id. at
¶ 17). She received a rating of "developing."
(Id.). Plaintiff alleges that upon inquiring into
the reasons for her poor rating, she discovered that she had
been scored based on incorrect data, causing her to receive a
lower rating than her colleagues. (Id. at ¶
19). Plaintiff alleges that she learned that the data for
"failures" at the All City High School Program were
all attributed to Freddie Thomas High School instead of to
their home phase-out schools. (Id. at ¶ 20).
Only the successful students from the All City High School
Program were attributed to their home phase-out schools;
thus, a disproportionately large number of failing students
was attributed to Plaintiff in calculating her APPR score.
(Id. at ¶ 21). Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges
that she was not given credit for the generally successful
"accelerated" 8th graders who largely performed
well on the Regents Exam. (Id. at ¶ 22).
appealed her APPR rating, but her appeal was denied.
(Id. at ¶ 23). By contrast, Plaintiff alleges
that a similarly situated administrator/Principal, Sandra
Jordan ("Ms. Jordan"), appealed her rating of
"developing, " and her evaluation was subsequently
changed to reflect satisfactory performance. (Id. at
alleges that she was subjected to different terms and
conditions of employment based on her age and race, in
violation of the ADEA and Title VII, because the APPR ratings
of similarly situated individuals who are significantly
younger than Plaintiff and who are not African American were
not based on their home school failures from the All City
High School Program, as were Plaintiffs. (Id. at
¶¶ 25-26). According to Plaintiff, the District
engaged in unlawful employment practices intentionally and
with malice or reckless indifference to Plaintiffs rights.
(Id. at ¶¶ 27-28). Plaintiff contends that
as a result of the discrimination, she suffered materially
adverse employment conditions, including a reduced likelihood
of promotion or desired transfers within the District, as
well as discipline that could threaten her career of more
than 40 years. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-35).
Summary Judgment Evidence
following facts are taken from the District's Rule 56
statement of material facts (Dkt. 19-3), Plaintiffs affidavit
in response (Dkt. 27-2),  and the exhibits submitted by the
parties (Dkt. 19-2; Dkt. 19-5; Dkt. 27-3; Dkt. 27-4; Dkt.
27-5; Dkt. 27-6; Dkt. 27-7; Dkt. 27-8; Dkt. 27-9; Dkt. 27-10;
Dkt. 27-11; Dkt. 27-12). The facts set forth below are
undisputed, unless otherwise noted.
an African American female who was 64 years old at the time
of the events giving rise to this action, has been employed
by the District since 1972 and currently holds the position
of School Principal. (Dkt. 1 at ¶ 6; Dkt. 19-3 at ¶
1; Dkt. 27-6 at 2). During the 2012-2013 school year, the
District implemented the new APPR evaluation system. (Dkt.
19-3 at ¶ 3). Employees were given an APPR composite
score that corresponds to a rating of highly effective,
effective, developing, or ineffective. (Dkt. 19-3 at ¶
5; Dkt. 19-5 at 38 (Exhibit B (APPR Agreement))). As provided
by the APPR agreement, a three-member panel reviewed and
decided appeals arising from APPR ratings for the 2012-2013
school year. (Dkt. 19-3 at ¶ 4). The District contends
that Plaintiffs APPR score was calculated ...