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Ikwut-Ukwa v. Biehler

January 14, 2009

UCHE IKWUT-UKWA, PLAINTIFF
v.
ALLEN E. BIEHLER, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA,: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Andrew Smyser Magistrate Judge

(Magistrate Judge Smyser)

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Background and Procedural History

The plaintiff commenced this action by filing a complaint on July 11, 2007.

The defendants named in the complaint are the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and Allen E. Biehler, who is the Secretary of PennDOT.

The plaintiff, who was born in Nigeria, claims that he was subjected to wrongful discrimination while he was employed at PennDOT as a civil engineer. He alleges that he was discriminated against because of his race, his color and his national origin. He alleges that he was denied a promotion as a result of wrongful discrimination. He also alleges that after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission the defendants retaliated and discriminated against him by denying other promotions, by denying tuition reimbursement, by denying leave time to him for employment-related education and by denying him compensation for duties he performed above and beyond those assigned to his position and pay grade. The plaintiff also claims that he was subjected to a hostile work environment because of his race, color and national origin and that, on April 7, 2006, he was constructively discharged from his employment with PennDOT.

The plaintiff brings his claims pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

On August 31, 2007, the defendants filed an answer to the complaint.

The parties consented to proceed before a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The case is scheduled for trial beginning on February 17, 2009.

Currently pending is the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."

Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party bears the initial responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). With respect to an issue on which the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof, the moving party may discharge that burden by "'showing'--- that is, pointing out to the district court --- that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of its pleading; rather, the nonmoving party must "set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).

A material factual dispute is a dispute as to a factual issue that will affect the outcome of the trial under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the ...


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