E. Supp.

Proof of Discrimination at Summary Judgment: The Eighth Circuit’s Focus on Categories of Evidence in Torgerson v. City of Rochester

Abstract: On June 1, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, in Torgerson v. City of Rochester, granted summary judgment for the employer, the City of Rochester, by holding that the plaintiffs had failed to produce sufficient direct or indirect evidence of discrimination. On appeal, the en banc Eighth Circuit categorized plaintiffs’ evidence and asked whether each piece, on its own, created a genuine issue of material fact. This Comment argues that the court’s preoccupation with categorizing evidence distracted it from determining whether discrimination occurred. Therefore, courts should adopt the dissent’s totality of the evidence approach, in which all of the evidence is considered in context when making a summary judgment determination.

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