United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Alexandria Division
KAPTORIA L. SANDERS, Plaintiff,
TIKRAS TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS CORPORATION, Defendant.
M. HILTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion to
Strike Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.
November 2014, Tikras Technology Solutions Corporation
("Defendant") hired Kaptoria L. Sanders
("Plaintiff"}. Defendant is a Native American-owned
small business and a member of Arrow Ventures
("Arrow"), a joint venture comprised of three
members, including Defendant, SeNet International Corporation
("SeNet") and Dakota Consulting, Inc.
("Dakota"). Arrow had a contract with the United
States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian
Affairs ("BIA"). Arrow's role in the BIA
contract was to provide a risk management framework for
Department of Interior information systems.
hired Plaintiff, an African-American woman with more than
fifteen years of experience in the industry, for a position
as a Senior Security Engineer to work on the BIA contract. In
that position, Plaintiff was responsible for representing
Defendant as the on-site team liaison to the BIA. The
BIA's Chief Information Security Officer, Steve Dean, had
recommended Plaintiff for the position with Defendant.
Plaintiff worked under Jason Oliver, Defendant's CEO, and
Joe Shlikas, Defendant's Chief Strategy Officer.
Dean worked for the BIA, Plaintiff performed well. Some other
members on the BIA Contract did not. Mike Teal, an employee
of SeNet, worked in a position junior to Plaintiff. Teal is a
Caucasian male. In January 2015, BIA raised some concerns
about Teal's performance, which led to Teal being
reprimanded and given a final warning. John Sand, an employee
of Defendant, worked in a junior position to Plaintiff. Sand
is also a Caucasian male. In June 2015, Defendant became
aware of some performance issues with Sand. After
investigating the issue, Defendant transferred Sand to a
contract Defendant had with the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration ("NOAA") in July 2015.
Defendant subsequently terminated Sand for poor performance
on the NOAA Contract.
BIA's concerns with Plaintiff s performance began in
September 2015 when Dean left for another job and the BIA
hired Tom Hoyler as the new Chief Information Security
Officer. Hoyler and Plaintiff disagreed on several aspects of
the BIA contract, including how to best implement the
Statement of Work. In October 2015, the BIA's Contracting
Officer Representative, Dee Shorter, requested a meeting with
Defendant's management and Hoyler to discuss Plaintiff s
performance on the BIA contract. On October 16, 2015,
Defendant informed Plaintiff and the other members of Arrow,
SeNet and Dakota, about the issues raised by the BIA
concerning Plaintiff's performance.
October 16th meeting with Plaintiff, Defendant offered her a
transfer to work on the NOAA Contract. Plaintiff's title
would be an IT Security Specialist on the NOAA Contract, and
she would receive the same pay and benefits. The worksite for
the NOAA Contract was in Silver Spring, Maryland. On October
18th, Plaintiff informed Defendant of her reluctance to
accept the transfer. Defendant responded with additional
incentives to compensate for the change in Plaintiff's
commune. On October 19th, Defendant sent Plaintiff a formal
notice of their decision to transfer her to the NOAA
October 28th, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination with
the EEOC. Defendant was unaware of this. Plaintiff began
working on the NOAA contract on November 9th and she received
a positive employment review and a pay raise on December 2
9th. In January 2016, Defendant granted Plaintiff a special
commuting privilege, which allowed her to work off-site on
the NOAA contract. On June 13, 2016, Plaintiff submitted her
resignation from Defendant; she completed her last day of
work for Defendant on June 21, 2016.
29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint against Defendant in
this Court. In her complaint, Plaintiff alleged three counts:
(1) discrimination in violation of Title VII; (2) retaliation
in violation of Title VII; and (3) discrimination in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. On June 2, 2017,
Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, which
Plaintiff responded to on June 16, 2017. That same cay
Plaintiff also moved to strike Defendant's motion for
summary judgment, arguing that Defendant's motion did not
comply with Local Rule 56(B).
Court turns first to Plaintiff's Motion to Strike
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. The December 1,
2016 Scheduling Order instructed the parties to file a
stipulation of uncontested facts, which is exactly what
Defendant did in this case without objection from Plaintiff.
Defendant's Stipulation of Uncontested Facts is thus part
of the record, and Defendant has complied with Local Rule
56(B) by citing to the record as needed. Furthermore,
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike is improper because the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not permit a motion to
strike against a motion for summary judgment. Thus,
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike should be denied, and
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is properly
before the Court.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a court should grant
summary judgment if the pleadings and evidence show that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In reviewing a motion for summary
judgment, the court views the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). Once a
motion for summary judgment is properly made, the opposing
party has the burden to show that a genuine dispute of
material fact exists. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).
plaintiff can prove discrimination through direct evidence,
direct evidence is often unavailable. In the absence of
direct evidence of discrimination, a plaintiff must rely on
the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework.
Burns v. AAF-McQuay, Inc., 96 F.3d 728, 731 (4th
Cir. 1996). There are three phases in the McDonnell
Douglas framework: (1) the plaintiff must establish a
prima facie case; (2) if plaintiff presents a prima facie
case, then the Defendant has the burden to show a legitimate,
non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action;
and (3) then the burden shifts to the plaintiff to prove that
the reason given by the Defendant is pretextual.
McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792,
802-04 (1973). Here, Plaintiff cannot establish a prima facie
case on any of her claims.
Plaintiff has failed to present a prima facie case of Title
VII racial discrimination. To present a prima facie case, a
plaintiff must prove: (1) membership in a protected class;
(2) satisfactory job performance; (3) adverse employment
action; and (4) a similarly situated employees outside the
protected class received more favorable treatment.
Coleman v. Maryland Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187,
190 (4th Cir. 2010). A plaintiff's self-serving
statements without any corroborating evidence are not
sufficient to establish a prima facie case of discrimination.
See Mackey v. Shalala, 360 F.3d 463, 469 (4th Cir.
Plaintiff cannot prove that she suffered adverse action
because of her race or sex. Plaintiff attempts to compare
herself to two Caucasian men, Mike Teal and John Sand, to
argue that she was treated worse because she is an
African-American woman and that Hoyier did not like working
with a woman in a managerial position. This argument is
unpersuasive because Teal and Sand are not similarly situated
comparator-employees. For a comparison to be meaningful, it
must clearly show the similarity in misconduct but