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Moody v. Vozel

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 18, 2014

Ethan O'Dell Moody, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Frank Vozel, Deputy Director and Chief Engineer, in his official and individual capacity; Dan Flowers, Director of Highways and Transportation, in his official and individual capacity; Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted September 11, 2014.

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

For Ethan O'Dell Moody, Plaintiff - Appellant: Larry Joe Steele, Walnut Ridge, AR.

For Frank Vozel, Deputy Director and Chief Engineer, in his official and individual capacity, Dan Flowers, Director of Highways and Transportation, in his official and individual capacity, Arkansas State Highway & Transportation Department, Defendants - Appellees: Mary Galchus Cooper, Carolyn B. Witherspoon, CROSS & GUNTER, Little Rock, AR.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, SMITH and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1094

RILEY, Chief Judge.

After being terminated from the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD), Ethan O'Dell Moody brought suit, alleging race and gender discrimination and violations of various statutory and constitutional rights. The district court[1] dismissed all but Moody's discrimination claims, denied Moody leave to amend his complaint, and subsequently granted summary judgment in favor of AHTD on the remaining claims. The district court also denied Moody's motions to reconsider. Moody appeals and, having jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we now affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

Moody, a Caucasian male, worked for AHTD for over twenty-six years. He initially worked as a truck driver and mower operator and later was promoted to crew leader, a supervisory position. Moody strictly enforced AHTD rules and policies, and his crew considered him a stern supervisor. In 2007, Moody reported an incident between two of his crew members during which a Caucasian female employee--Wanda Aldrich--held a knife to the throat of an African-American male employee--Earnest Russell. Three years later, on October 26, 2010, Aldrich purportedly told Moody, " Someone is going to pay for telling on me for pulling a knife on Earnest's throat."

In October 2010, two of Moody's female crew members, Belinda Rogers and Rebecca Bohannon, accused Moody of sexual harassment. Moody denied, and continues to deny, these allegations. Moody had previously disciplined both Bohannon and Rogers for violations of AHTD policies and

Page 1095

believes they made the false allegations in retaliation.

AHTD has an official policy against sexual harassment, on which Moody received training, and AHTD classifies sexual harassment as a terminable offense. Upon receipt of the harassment charges, AHTD's Equal Employment Opportunity division conducted an investigation, which included an interview with Moody. Based on the results of that investigation, AHTD terminated Moody's employment for violating its sexual harassment policy. Moody filed a grievance disputing the termination, which was submitted to a ...


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