Nickeshia Lawrence v. Carilion Medical Center, No. 09-1761 (4th Cir. 2010)

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 09-1761 NICKESHIA M. LAWRENCE, in her own right and as parent and next friend of R.A., an infant, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. CARILION MEDICAL CENTER, d/b/a Carilion Roanoke Community Hospital, Defendant - Appellee. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Roanoke. James C. Turk, Senior District Judge. (7:08-cv-00108-jct) Submitted: February 8, 2010 Decided: March 4, 2010 Before NIEMEYER and KING, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. James J. O Keeffe, IV, S.D. Roberts Moore, Monica T. Monday, GENTRY, LOCKE, RAKES & MOORE, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellant. Charles L. Downs, Jr., Robert M. Doherty, WOOTENHART, PLC, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Nickeshia d/b/a Carilion M. Lawrence Roanoke sued Community Carilion Hospital Medical Center ( Carilion ), for medical malpractice in failing to perform a Caesarian section when Lawrence was giving birth to her son. trial, the Lawrence jury appeals returned the a verdict district in court s After a five-day favor entry of Carilion. of judgment, claiming that the court erred when it rejected her Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), challenge to Carilion s peremptory strike of an African-American juror. 1 We affirm. As the Supreme Court held in Batson, the use of a peremptory challenge for a racially offends the Equal Protection Clause. discriminatory Id. at 89. purpose We give great deference to the trial court s findings as to whether a Batson violation occurred, and we review the district court s findings for clear error. Jones v. Plaster, 57 F.3d 417, 421 (4th Cir. 1995). A three-step process is used to analyze a Batson claim: First, the defendant must make a prima facie showing that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges on the basis of race. Second, if the 1 In Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614 (1991), the Supreme Court extended the Batson rule to civil cases. 2 requisite showing has been made, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral explanation for striking the jurors in question. Finally, the trial court must determine whether the defendant has carried his burden of proving purposeful discrimination. Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 358-59 (1991) (citations omitted). When conducting this analysis, the decisive question [is] whether counsel s race-neutral explanation . . . should be believed. Id. at 365. Here, Carilion s counsel stated that he struck the Africian-American juror because she had had a Caesarian section and he wanted to avoid jurors with this characteristic. Carilion s counsel also struck two other white jurors who had undergone Caesarian sections. reason for the strike, By articulating a race-neutral Carilion satisfied its burden at the second step of the analysis. At the third step, the burden shifted to Lawrence to prove that the discrimination. explanation given was a pretext for United States v. Farrior, 535 F.3d 210, 221 (4th Cir. 2008), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 743 (2008). The party must show both that [counsel s stated reasons for the strike] were merely pretextual and that race was the real reason for the strike. 1994). relevant United States v. McMillon, 14 F.3d 948, 953 (4th Cir. In making this showing, the party may rely on all circumstances to raise 3 an inference of purposeful discrimination. Miller-El v. Dretke, 545 U.S. 231, 240 (2005) (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). Here, neutral Lawrence explanation for did not striking challenge the Carilion s African-American racejuror. The failure to argue pretext after the challenged strike has been explained challenge. constitutes a waiver of the initial Batson See Davis v. Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co., 160 F.3d 1023, 1027 (4th Cir. 1998). Even if there were no waiver, Lawrence failed to establish that race was the actual reason Carilion s counsel struck the African-American juror. 2 Because the district court did not clearly rejecting Lawrence s Batson challenge, we affirm. err in We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 2 Lawrence points out that one white juror who had had two Caesarian sections was seated on the jury. Her procedures however, occurred some twenty years prior to the trial. Because each party was limited to three peremptory strikes, we find it entirely reasonable that Carilion s counsel chose to leave on the jury the woman whose Caesarian sections had occurred so remotely. See 28 U.S.C. ยง 1870 (2006). 4
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