United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
WIRELESS TELECOM COOPERATIVE, INC. d/b/a THEWIRELESSFREEWAY PLAINTIFF
LOUISVILLE/JEFFERSON COUNTY METRO GOVERNMENT DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
N. STIVERS, CHIEF JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment (DN 44). The motion is ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons provided below, Defendants'
motion is GRANTED.
Wireless Telecom Cooperative Inc. is a business known as
theWirelessFreeway (“tWF”) and was founded Joseph
McNealy (“McNealy”). (Pls.' Resp. Def.'s
Mot. Summ. J. 1, DN 45 [hereinafter Pl.'s Resp.]).
McNealy is an African-American man who sought to provide free
basic wireless internet to a predominately African-American
portion of Louisville, Kentucky. (Pl.'s Resp. 2). McNealy
entered into conversations with Defendant
Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government
(“Defendant”) around September 2014 and discussed
obtaining a loan through the Department of Housing and Urban
Development (“HUD”) and its Community Development
Block Grants Program to fund tWF's endeavors to provide
wireless internet to underserved communities. (Pl.'s
Resp. 2). Plaintiff contends that the project was eligible
for HUD's Section 108 loan guarantee program, which is
administered by HUD to assist projects believed to contribute
to the development of low-income neighborhoods. (Pl.'s
says that Mayor Greg Fischer showed great enthusiasm for tWF
and referred the project to then-Deputy Mayor, Sadiqa
Reynolds. (Pl.'s Resp. 2). From there, McNealy and
members of the metro government's administration had
email conversations over the course of two years. They
allegedly assured McNealy that the metro government would
assist with financing and encouraged him to make tWF his
full-time job. (Pl.'s Resp. 2-3). McNealy also obtained
input from professionals and consultants at various
telecommunications companies. (Pl.'s Resp. 3). tWF made
significant process by launching a wi-fi hotspot with support
from a member of the Louisville Metro Council and overseen by
the metro government's technology department. (Pl.'s
Resp. 3). Plaintiff credits this success to McNealy's
acquired expertise and personal professional network.
(Pl.'s Resp. 3).
September 2016, it became clear that Defendant would not
proceed with the project. (Pl.'s Resp. 3). Instead,
Defendant decided to support the Louisville Food Port, a
group which is described by Plaintiff as “mostly white,
” by “generously provid[ing] [metro government]
resources to clear the way for the project.” (Pl.'s
Resp. 3). Plaintiff alleges this involved a land grant and
hours of metro government employee time researching financing
through a HUD Section 108 loan. (Pl.'s Resp. 3).
Ultimately, no HUD money was available to fund either
project. (Pl.'s Resp. 4). Despite this, Plaintiff argues
that “[t]he comparison in the treatment [between it and
the Louisville Food Port] is shocking. A prestigious, white
group was given comparatively instant access to financing,
[while] the working-class black-owned business wasn't
even afforded fair dealing after being in negotiations for
over two years and [after] laying substantial ground
work.” (Pl.'s Resp. 4). As a result of this,
McNealy and tWF together brought claims under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981 and 1983. (Compl. ¶ 15). McNealy was
subsequently dismissed as a party to this action on August
30, 2017 for lacking standing. (Order 3, DN 23).
present motion, Defendant argues that there is no evidence a
contract existed between itself and tWF, and there is no
evidence of discrimination. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ.
J. 5, DN 44-1 [hereinafter Def.'s Mem.]). Defendant
argues this dooms Plaintiff's Section 1981 claim.
(Def.'s Mem. 6). Regarding Plaintiff's Section 1983
claim, Defendants contend it must fail because there is no
evidence supporting any due process violations in its
relationship with McNealy and tWF. (Def.'s Mem. 6).
Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over this matter based
upon federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must
find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the
initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and
identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the
moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party
thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a
genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).
Court does not weigh the evidence and all reasonable
inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the
Court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In addition, the non-
moving party must do more than merely show that there is some
“metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Id. at 586. Instead, the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure require the non-moving party to present specific
facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by
“citing to particular parts of materials in the
record” or by “showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere existence of
a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving
party's] position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
[non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at