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Ali Khorsand and Michael Chittick Win Summary Judgment in a Race Discrimination Case

Ali Khorsand and Michael Chittick won summary judgment in U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island on behalf of our client, Prospect CharterCare Roger Williams Medical Center, in a race discrimination case. The decision is Taiwo Solola v. Prospect CharterCare RWMC, LLC et. al. C.A. No. 16-35 WES (D.R.I., March 27, 2019). William E. Smith, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, ruled that the plaintiff, Taiwo Solola, failed to prove that Prospect CharterCare had terminated his employment because of his race, rather than because of his failure to sufficiently perform his position’s duties and responsibilities. Chief Judge Smith’s decision is significant because it reaffirmed the proposition that at the summary judgment stage, a plaintiff in a race discrimination case must produce evidence demonstrating both that the employer’s stated reason for the termination of plaintiff’s employment was pretextual and that unlawful discrimination was the real motive for the decision, a burden which Mr. Solola failed to meet. Judge Smith’s Memorandum and Order specifically stated that: “[h]ere, taking all inferences in the light most favorable to Solola, he has proved, at most, that PCC’s decision to fire him was arguably unfair, given that his job performance was so hindered by an (apparently) inept supervisor. He has not, however, produced any competent evidence demonstrating that this unfairness was racially motivated.”

Concluding that Mr. Solola failed to proffer sufficient evidence to demonstrate that both the termination decision was pretextual and that the termination was actually motivated by racially discriminatory animus, Chief Judge Smith granted Prospect CharterCare’s motion for summary judgment.

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