Morgue Technician Fails to Provide Evidence that he was Terminated Due to Discrimination

Case Name: Rockefeller F. Cooper, II v. Jefferson County Coroner and Medical Examiner

Office Court: United States Court of Appeals For the Eleventh CircuitDate of Opinion: June 10th, 2021

Judges: Wilson, Lagoa, and Brasher

Overview: Appellant filed an appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals stemming from a claim of race and national origin discrimination.

Background: Appellant Rockefeller F. Cooper, II filed a discrimination lawsuit against his former employer the Jefferson County Coroner and Medical Examiner Office (JCCMEO). He worked as a morgue technician for four months before he was terminated by JCCMEO. In his complaint, Cooper alleges that he was mistreated by his direct supervisor and that his co-workers were not treated the same way as him.

The result of a disciplinary hearing concluded that Cooper would be terminated. Subsequently, Cooper filed a lawsuit in the Northern District Court of Alabama alleging claims of race and national origin discrimination, a hostile work environment, and retaliation. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, opining that Cooper did not make a case for prima facie case for race or national origin discrimination. Cooper admits that he was never called the “N-Word ” nor was he referred to via a racial slur, and was not threatened by any other employee at JCCMEO.

Cooper filed an appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, claiming that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of JCCMEO as well as a motion for judgment as a matter of law. The Court of Appeals opined that Cooper has not provided sufficient evidence to state a case of discrimination and that the district court correctly decided that he did not identify any conspirator to prove his case.

The Court of Appeals also notes that Cooper was reprimanded for tardiness and for failure to perform his tasks in a satisfactory manner. In addition, the court says that Cooper did not provide any evidence that he was treated unfairly based on his race and national origin.

In addition, the court opines that the district court properly granted summary judgment on his claims of retaliation because he does not provide any evidence that his termination was pretextual.

Conclusion: The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the district court on claims of discrimination and retaliation.

Steven M. Cohen
Law Librarian | + posts

Steven M. Cohen is a law librarian at a midsize law firm in New York City.  He was the creator of Library Stuff, one of the first library blogs, which lasted over 15 years.  He obtained his MLS from Queens College in 2002.  His passions include legal research, reading novels, and rooting on his favorite sports teams.