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Cartwright v. State

Supreme Court of Nebraska

August 9, 2013

Sandra Cartwright, appellant,
v.
State of Nebraska et al., appellees.

1. Summary Judgment: Appeal and Error. An appellate court will affirm a lower court's grant of summary judgment if the pleadings and admitted evidence show that there is no genuine issue as to any material facts or as to the ultimate inferences that may be drawn from the facts and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

2. ___: ___. In reviewing a summary judgment, an appellate court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the party against whom the judgment was granted, and gives that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences deducible from the evidence.

3. Summary Judgment: Proof. The party moving for summary judgment has the burden to show that no genuine issue of material fact exists and must produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

4. Summary Judgment: Evidence: Proof. After the movant for summary judgment makes a prima facie case by producing enough evidence to demonstrate that the movant is entitled to judgment if the evidence was uncontroverted at trial, the burden to produce evidence showing the existence of a material issue of fact that prevents judgment as a matter of law shifts to the party opposing the motion.

5. Summary Judgment Conclusions based upon guess, speculation, conjecture, or a choice of possibilities do not create material issues of fact for purposes of summary judgment.

6. . If a genuine issue of fact exists, summary judgment may not properly be entered. 7. Civil Rights. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

8. ___. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits both intentional discrimination, known as disparate treatment, as well as practices that, although they are not intentional discrimination, have a disproportionately adverse effect on minorities, which is known as disparate impact.

9. Employer and Employee: Discrimination. Disparate impact occurs when an employer uses an employment practice that has a disproportionately adverse effect on protected groups.

10. Employer and Employee: Discrimination: Proof. To prove a prima facie case of disparate impact, the plaintiff must show (1) the existence of a statistically significant disparity among members of different groups affected by employment decisions; (2) the existence of a specific, facially neutral employment practice; and (3) a causal nexus between the specific, facially neutral employment practice and the statistical disparity.

[286 Neb. 432]11. Discrimination: Proof. To recover under the disparate impact theory, plaintiffs must do more than merely prove circumstances raising an inference of a discriminatory impact; they must prove the discriminatory impact at issue.

12. ___: ___. To recover under the disparate impact theory, plaintiffs must point to a clearly identifiable practice and prove its impact.

Appeal from the District Court for Lancaster County: Paul D. Merritt, Jr., Judge.

Kathleen M. Neary, of Vincent M. Powers & Associates, for appellant.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Stephanie Caldwell for appellees.

Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.

McCormack, J.


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