St. Louis Record

Friday, December 13, 2019

Court holds off on granting summary judgment to FedEx in discrimination complaint


By Charmaine Little | Jun 21, 2019

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ST. LOUIS – FedEx’s motion for summary judgment in Pamela Norman’s discrimination suit against it was held in abeyance by a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri’s Southeastern Division on June 4.

FedEx Ground Package System’s co-defendant, Massey Enterprises Inc., was granted its motion for summary judgment in the same ruling by U.S. District Judge Stephen N. Limbaugh Jr.

Norman accused FedEx and Massey of violating the Missouri Human Rights Act. She first filed her lawsuit in Scott Circuit Court and later amended her claim to include alleged violations of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Massey and FedEx removed the case to the federal court. Her MHRA clams were previously tossed because they were untimely. The court also dismissed claims against William Morrow and Dustin Massey since Title VII doesn’t enforce legal responsibility on supervisors. Remaining defendants FedEx and Massey then filed for summary judgment.

In his ruling, Limbaugh pointed out that Norman didn’t file her Title VII lawsuit until Oct. 1, which was after Massey and FedEx filed a motion for the MHRA claim to be dismissed but before a ruling was actually determined. Now, the defendants argue she filed the Title VII claims a month after the deadline and the claims are time-barred.

"This court is in agreement with those that have held that ‘it strains reason to argue that one untimely complaint can be saved by relating back to another untimely complaint,’” Limbaugh said. “'Stated otherwise, it simply makes no sense to hold that a complaint that was dead on arrival can breathe life into another complaint.' The court therefore need not reach the parties’ substantive arguments for summary judgment.”

Considering this, Limbaugh granted Massey’s motion, but held FedEx’s in abeyance since FedEx didn’t bring up this argument in summary judgment. Limbaugh gave FedEx seven days to file a supplemental briefing, and gave Norman seven days to respond to that.

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