Dallas Business Litigation Attorney Keith Clouse Reports Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment in Race Discrimination Case

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed summary judgment in a Section 1981 race discrimination matter.  Blackston v. Wexford Health Sources Inc., No. 08-60855 (5th Cir. Nov. 16, 2009), available at http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/unpub/08/08-60855.0.wpd.pdf.  Blackston, a white man, worked for a medical staffing contractor and served as a medical director at a correctional facility.  When the staffing agency’s contract with the correctional facility was not renewed, Blackston approached Wexford to inquire about being hired.  Wexford allegedly informed Blackston that he could not be hired because he was white and the employer sought a black candidate.

Blackston sued and the trial court granted summary judgment to Wexford after applying a burden-shifting analysis. The Fifth Circuit reversed, finding that the trial court applied the wrong standard.  Instead of applying the burden-shifting analysis (which is used when indirect evidence of discrimination is offered), the trial court should have looked to precedent that involved direct evidence of discrimination. The Court found that Blackston’s testimony that he was told he would not be hired because of his race was sufficient to defeat summary judgment because it constituted direct evidence of discrimination.

To speak with an employment law attorney about race discrimination or about another employment law matter, please contact the employment lawyers at Clouse Dunn Khoshbin LLP at http://www.cdklawyers.com

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