United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. ATKINS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ravi Raithatha, brought this action alleging that
Defendants-the University of Pikeville d/b/a/ the Kentucky
College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Boyd Buser, and Dr.
Tracy Soltesz-discriminated against him on the basis of his
race and national origin when he was expelled from the
University of Pikeville's College of Osteopathic
Medicine. [R. 1-2; R. 1-1 at 3- 6]. Defendants seek summary
judgment, [R. 37], and the matter has been fully briefed. For
the reasons that follow, this Court will grant the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and dismiss this
action with prejudice.
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
to his admission to the University of Pikeville Kentucky
College of Osteopathic Medicine, hereinafter “the
College, ” Plaintiff had been expelled from the Touro
College of Osteopathic Medicine for poor academic
performance. [R. 37-1 at 5 ¶ 2 (citing R. 35,
Deposition of Ravi Raithatha, at 8-9); see
also R. 35-1 at 6, 8]. Plaintiff was admitted to the
College for the fall 2012 semester, but, because of his
academic history, his admission was permitted only following
the completion of multiple courses at Eastern Kentucky
University and a personal meeting with Dr. Buser, where
Plaintiff's academic integrity and personal character
were evaluated. [R. 37-1 at 6 ¶ 3, 4]. Plaintiff's
performance for the first two years of his attendance at the
College was satisfactory. [R. 33 at 28-29].
the spring 2015 semester, as a part of his third-year
curriculum, Plaintiff was required to complete clinical
rotations at Grandview Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio. While
there, he was required to record his activities in a
“log” for purposes of grading. [R. 37-1 at 6
¶ 2; R. 37-8 at 12, (citing R. 35, Deposition of
Ravi Raithatha, at 10)]. Plaintiff falsified his case
logs for that clinical rotation, and he admitted as much
before the College's Promotion and Matriculation
Committee at a hearing on April 8, 2015. [R. 37-1 at 2; R.
37-12 (“I should never have logged days in which I was
not working in the office, and agree that I should be
punished for my actions.”); R. 42 at 2
(“Plaintiff admitted his error.”)]. The following
day, the Committee recommended that Raithatha be given a
failing grade, placed on temporary academic probation,
permanent disciplinary probation, suspended from the College
for six months, and required to enroll in an ethics course.
[R. 37-6; R. 37-11; R. 37-12; R. 37-13].
the punishments were finally imposed, Plaintiff appealed the
Committee's recommendation to Dr. Buser by submitting a
letter and making a personal appearance. [R. 37-12; R.
37-13]. On May 4, 2015, the recommended punishments were
approved by Dr. Buser as within the authority of the
Promotion and Matriculation Committee. [R. 37-13; see
also R. 37-6 at 7 (outlining the Promotion and
Matriculation Committee's authority to punish troubled
Plaintiff remained on academic and disciplinary probation, he
was removed from his suspension five months early, on June
15, 2015. [R. 37-14; R. 42-1]. Dr. Soltesz worked with
Raithatha to aid him in enrolling in the ethics course
required by the Promotion and Matriculation Committee and Dr.
Buser. [R. 37-15]. And, on request, Plaintiff was permitted
by Dr. Buser to resume clinical rotations at the Hazard ARH
Regional Medical Center on August 31, 2015, months ahead of
schedule. [R. 35 at 24, 29 ¶ 15-16; R. 37-18; R. 42-3].
Before he could perform his rotations, however, Hazard ARH
Regional Medical Center required Plaintiff to pass a drug
test. [R. 35 at 31 ¶ 1-6; see also R. 37-8 at
10; R. 33 at 40]. Plaintiff failed. [R. 35-27; R. 35 at 31].
the fact that Plaintiff failed Hazard ARH's drug test,
Hazard ARH dismissed Plaintiff from its campus, and Plaintiff
was unable to complete his clinical rotation. [R. 35 at 31
¶ 15-17]. Plaintiff was again called for a hearing
before the Promotion and Matriculation Committee on September
23, 2015. [R. 35 at 33-36; R. 37-19]. Following the
hearing-where Plaintiff admitted to using drugs while already
on academic and disciplinary probation, and suspended from
the College-the Committee recommended his expulsion. [R. 35
at 33-36; R. 37-19; R. 37-1 at 12 (“I mean what you
said is true . . . I know it was a huge mistake . . . I did
it.”)]. Plaintiff appealed the Committee's
recommendation to Dr. Buser, and on October 13, 2015, Dr.
Buser met with him to discuss the appeal. [R. 35 at 36 ¶
10-11; R. 37-19; R. 37-20; see also R. 37-6 at 4-5
(indicating the use of drugs to be in direct contravention of
College policy)]. Dr. Buser upheld Plaintiff's expulsion
as within the authority of the Promotion and Matriculation
Committee. [R. 35 at 37 ¶ 6- 8; R. 37-20; see
also R. 37-6 at 6-8 (outlining many reasons for which
students may be expelled from the College, including
“[f]ailure of more than one clinical rotation”);
R. 37-8 at 10 (“A positive [drug] test result may
become grounds for dismissal.”)].
Plaintiff filed this suit, alleging he was “subject to
disparate treatment due to his race and national
origin.” [R. 1-1 at 4 ¶ 15].
party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim
or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which
summary judgment is sought.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
“The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Id. In making the determination as to
whether summary judgment is warranted, “a court must
view the evidence ‘in the light most favorable to the
opposing party.'” Tolan v. Cotton, 134
S.Ct. 1861, 1866 (2014) (quoting Adickes v. S.H. Kress
& Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970)). “Where the
record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Id. (quoting Matsushita
Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
574, 587 (1986)). In such a case, summary judgment is
warranted. Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330,
344 (2010); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). But there is “no express or
implied requirement in Rule 56 that the moving party support
its motion with affidavits or other similar materials
negating the opponent's claim.”
Id. As such, in some cases, the moving party may be
“‘entitled to a judgment as a matter of law'
because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient
showing on an essential element of her case with respect to
which she has the burden of proof.” Id.
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). Such a motion “therefore
requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and
by her own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). This
is so because “[o]ne of the principal purposes of the
summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually
unsupported claims or defenses.” Id. at
323-24. “[T]he existence of a mere scintilla of
evidence in support of the non-moving party's position
will not be sufficient; there must be evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the non-moving party.”
Sutherland v. Mich. Dept. of Treasury, 344 F.3d 603,
613 (6th Cir. 2003) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251 (1986)).
COUNT ONE: ...