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Gamble v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

April 30, 2018



          Jonathan D. Greenberg U.S. Magistrate Judge

         This matter is before the Court on consent of the parties pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Local Rule 73.1. Pending before the Court are Defendant Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority's Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff Michael Gamble's “Dispositive Motions Summary Judgement.” (Doc. Nos. 49, 50.)

         For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         I. Factual Background

         Plaintiff was a bus driver for Defendant Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (“GCRTA”) from June 2000 - May 2012. (Doc. No. 11-2 at 1.) In May 2012, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment. (Id.) Plaintiff subsequently filed a disability discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (“EEOC”) and Ohio Civil Rights Commission in March 2013. (Id.) In October 2013, Plaintiff reapplied for his previous position by submitting an online application. (Doc. No. 11-3 at 1.) In December 2013, Plaintiff received notification GCRTA declined to offer him a position. (Id.) Plaintiff filed a second EEOC charge in March 2014, claiming GCRTA's decision to not rehire him was retaliatory. (Id.) In June 2015, after receiving EEOC right-to-sue letters, Plaintiff filed his first federal lawsuit, alleging disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). (Doc. No. 11-1 at 1-6.) In September 2015, the Court dismissed the matter for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and further concluded because Plaintiff's Complaint did not identify a disability, he failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Gamble v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, 2015 WL 5782073 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 30, 2015).[1]

         In February 2016, Plaintiff attended an “RTA Operator Open House” and provided his contact information to GCRTA. (Doc. No. 1-2 at 4.) On February 20, 2016, Plaintiff registered with GCRTA's job application website. (Doc. No. 52-6 at 1.) On February 22, 2016, Plaintiff responded to his registration email, declaring “I Applied For The Part Time Operator.” (Id.) As discussed infra, Plaintiff did not file anything additional to complete the application process. Plaintiff was not hired by GCRTA at that time.

         In April 2016, Plaintiff filed a public records request for the names of the individuals offered bus driver positions by GCRTA in February and March 2016. (Doc. No. 1-2 at 1.) GCRTA provided Plaintiff with the list of names. (Id. at 1-3.) In June 2016, Plaintiff filed another EEOC charge, asserting retaliatory failure to hire in violation of the ADA. (Doc. No. 11-6 at 1.) Within his EEOC charge, Plaintiff indicated he was “aware of the person who was given the position and attended training and with less experience.” (Doc. No. 11-6 at 1.) No other information about this person was supplied. (See Doc. No. 11-6 at 1.) Another right-to-sue letter was issued on December 2, 2016. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 1.)

         II. Procedural History

         On February 24, 2017, Plaintiff Michael Gamble, proceeding pro se, filed this matter alleging Defendant GCRTA violated the ADA when it did not rehire him in February 2016. He asserts this failure to rehire was in retaliation for having previously filed EEOC charges and an earlier federal discrimination lawsuit. (Doc. No. 1.)

         On February 9, 2018, following the conclusion of discovery, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 49.) On February 12, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Dispositive Motions Summary Judgement.” (Doc. No. 50.) Defendant filed a response in opposition on February 20, 2018 and Plaintiff filed a response in opposition on March 5, 2018. (Doc. Nos. 51, 52.) On March 14, 2018, Defendant filed a Reply in Support of its Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 53.) On March 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed a “Response to Motion for Summary Judgment.” (Doc. No. 54.)

         The parties' motions are now ripe and ready for the Court's consideration.

         III. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, which provides

A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense - or the part of each claim or defense - on which summary judgment is sought. 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. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.

         Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). The purpose of summary judgment is to determine if there is a need for a trial due to genuine factual issues which need resolution. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). If, based on all the available proof, a reasonable jury could only find for one party at trial, then a trial is unnecessary and the Court may enter a judgment as a matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986). See also Barrett v. Lucent Technologies, 36 Fed. App'x 835, 840 (6th Cir. 2002)(“Summary judgment is appropriate when there are no issues of material fact in dispute, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”).

         The moving party has the initial burden of demonstrating there is no genuine issue of material fact. The moving party may meet this burden by establishing the non-moving party lacks evidence to support an essential element of their case. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1479 (6th Cir. 1989.) Conversely, if it is the moving party who carries the burden of proof for a claim, they may establish no genuine issue of material fact by setting forth evidence which would result in a directed verdict at trial. See Calderone v. U.S., 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986). See also Kassouf v. U.S. Liability Co., 2015 WL 5542530 at *3 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 18, 2015).

         Once the moving party meets this burden, the non-moving party must then present evidence which establishes genuine factual issues which require a trial. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. The non-moving party may not rest “upon the mere allegations of their pleadings nor upon general allegations that issues of fact exist.” Shell v. Lautenschlager, 2017 WL 4919206 at *1 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 31, 2017). Indeed, the non-moving party must support their position with “particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). See also Celotex Corp., ...

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