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Coleman v. Staffing

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 21, 2018

TRACEY COLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
WFA STAFFING, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 22) AND DISMISSING CASE

          HON. PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On December 22, 2017, defendant WFA Staffing filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff's race did not influence its staffing determination because the plaintiff was not qualified for the position- he lacked a valid driver's license. Dkt. No. 23. Because the plaintiff filed this case without the assistance of counsel, the defendant complied with Rule 56(a) by (1) providing the plaintiff with a short and plain statement that any factual assertion would be accepted as true unless the plaintiff submited his own affidavit or admissible evidence and (2) a copy of Rule 56. Dkt. No. 22. The plaintiff did not respond to the summary judgment motion by the deadline set by the rule (approximately January 21, 2018). On February 27, 2018, this court ordered the plaintiff to respond to the motion by the end of the day on March 16, 2018. Dkt. No. 27. The court warned the plaintiff that if he did not file a response by the end of that day, the court would either (1) accept the defendant's proposed findings as true and use them to make a decision or (2) dismiss plaintiff's case for lack of diligence under Civil L.R. 41(c). Again, the plaintiff did not respond. Because the evidence before the court does not show that there is any genuine dispute as to an issue of material fact, and because the law does not support the plaintiff's claims, the court will grant the defendant's summary judgment motion and dismiss the case.

         I. Dismissal for Lack of Diligence

         Civil Local Rule 41(c) allows this court to dismiss a case-with or without prejudice-whenever it appears that a plaintiff is not diligently pursuing it. Civil L.R. 41(c) (E.D. Wis.). The plaintiff filed his complaint on November 16, 2016-sixteen months ago. Dkt. No. 1. He appeared at the Rule 16 scheduling conference on April 25, 2017, dkt. no. 21, and the court has not heard from him since. Despite the fact that the defendant filed its summary judgment motion almost three months ago, and despite the fact that the court gave the plaintiff extra time to do so, the plaintiff has not responded to the motion. The plaintiff has not provided the court with a change of address form, and the mail the court has sent him has not been returned as undeliverable. The court has a basis for concluding that the plaintiff has decided not to pursue its case. Under Civil L.R. 41(c), that is reason alone for the court to dismiss the case

         II. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

         The court also finds that the defendant is entitled to summary judgment, because the undisputed facts demonstrate that the defendant did not discriminate against the plaintiff on the basis of race.

         A. Standard of Review

         A court may grant summary judgment where 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). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “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, 248 (1986). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Roh v. Starbucks Corp., 881 F.3d 969, 973 (7th Cir. 2018).

         B. Facts

         The defendant submitted proposed findings of fact; the court deems that the plaintiff has admitted these facts, because he did not respond to the defendant's summary judgment motion. Civ. L.R. 56(b)(4) (E.D.Wis.). In addition to the defendant's facts, the court also will consider the allegations in the complaint, dkt. no. 1, because the plaintiff signed it under penalty of perjury. See Ford v. Wilson, 90 F.3d 245, 246-47 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding that a verified complaint “converted the complaint . . . into an affidavit”).

         Defendant WFA Staffing, an independent, locally-owned staffing agency, places individuals with businesses in the Milwaukee area. Dkt. No. 26 at ¶ 2. The defendant's mission is to meet its customers' staffing needs by matching the right worker to the right position. Id. at ¶¶4, 5. The defendant does not have any input into determining or setting the qualifications for the positions to which it assigns workers. Id. at ¶6. Rather, the defendant's customers determine the requisite qualifications for their own positions. Id. at ¶7.

         The defendant's customers inform the defendant of the open positions for which they would like the defendant to assign workers, as well as the required qualifications for those positions. Id. at ¶8. The defendant then reviews applications and identifies the best-qualified candidates for each position, based on the job requirements provided by the defendant's customers. Id. at ¶9. The defendant assesses individual applicants' skills and qualifications to match them to positions for which they meet the job qualifications. Id. at ¶10. The defendant cannot assign an individual to a position for which he or she does not possess the requisite skills or qualifications, as determined by the customer. Id. at ¶11.

         The defendant employs recruiting professionals to match qualified candidates to positions. Id. at ¶12. The defendant pays its recruiters on a commission basis, based upon the number of workers the recruiters place with the defendant's customers. Id. at ¶13.

         During the relevant period, Kelly Fishnick worked as a senior recruiter for the defendant. Id. at ¶14. The defendant never employed the plaintiff. Dkt. No. 25-1 at 36-37, 66. On July 22, 2016, the plaintiff, who is African American, spoke with Fishnick over the telephone. Id. at 30. Fishnick told the plaintiff to come to the office to complete a job application. Id. The plaintiff met with Fishnick, and submitted his handwritten ...


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