• May 20, 2011

Minnesota Litigator Guest Poster TJ Conley notes:

Chief Judge Michael Davis of the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis recently spent 35 pages sorting through various issues in a race, national origin and age discrimination case brought by a Nigerian-born professor against St. Cloud State University in Onyiah v. St. Cloud State University.  Ultimately, Judge Davis granted summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims.  Without providing a thorough analysis of his very interesting opinion, I can tell you that Judge Davis reached the following conclusions:

  • That a proposed expert witness on salaries was not qualified under a Daubert analysis, and that his opinions were speculative and not reliable because they did not explain why it started where it started;
  • That various affidavits offered by plaintiff would not be stricken because they complied with the personal knowledge requirement of Rule 56;
  • The elements of a prima facie case of salary discrimination under Title VII;
  • That simply making general statements about how much unidentified white professors were paid is insufficient to establish that employees outside of plaintiff’s protected class were paid more for equal work;
  • That evidence that other black professors from Nigeria were paid higher starting salaries also undercuts a prima facie showing of discrimination;
  • That the plaintiff’s failure to allege religious or tribal discrimination in his Complaint and in his EEOC charge meant that he could not raise it at summary judgment;
  • That plaintiff’s age discrimination claim failed because none of the employee to which plaintiff compared himself were actually similarly situated, and because SCSU’s reason for the differences in pay was not pretextual.
If you are interested in understanding how “the Daubert test” applies to certain types of experts, or how to evaluate and prove a salary discrimination claim, you will want to review Judge Davis’ opinion.

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