Court in Shakman v. Democratic Organization of Cook County,
No. 69 C 2145 (N.D.Ill. 1972). On August 24, 1982, Respondents Jane M.
Byrne and John L. Donovan were ordered dismissed. At that time the Court
dismissed without prejudice the City of Chicago and gave petitioner leave
to file an amended petition setting forth reasons why his claim should not
be barred by the doctrine of laches. An amended petition was filed by
Calvin, which the City has moved to dismiss. For the reasons stated herein,
the Court hereby dismisses with prejudice the petition of Joseph Galvin.
For approximately 11 years, Joseph Galvin was employed by the City of
Chicago in the Department of Streets and Sanitation as a sign hanger. In
1979, Mr. Galvin was terminated, allegedly for "political reasons." It is
the contention of Mr. Calvin that his termination was the result of his
having campaigned for Richard M. Daley, an individual not endorsed by
Mayor Byrne, in the race for the office of State's Attorney.
The instant proceedings were commenced more than 80 months after the
termination of Mr. Calvin. Respondent asserts that the petition should be
barred by the doctrine of laches. For the first 15 months after being
terminated, petitioner sought to regain employment with the City "through
routine channels." Petitioner offers no explanation as to whether he made
any efforts to regain employment during the next 15 months which lead up
to the filing of this suit.
The explanation tendered by petitioner to explain his failure to obtain
judicial relief is insufficient as a matter of law. A decision on the
issue of laches rests within the sound discretion of the trial judge.
Baker Manufacturing Co. v. Whitewater Manufacturing Co., 430 F.2d 1008,
1009 (7th Cir. 1970). This discretion is not "unfettered by appropriate
standards." Goodman v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 606 F.2d 800, 804 (8th
Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 446 U.S. 913, 100 S.Ct. 1844, 64 L.Ed.2d 267
(1980). Thus, where the ease involves government employment, the Court is
bound by public policy which requires the prompt assertion of the
employee's rights so that "the government service may be disturbed as
little as possible and that two salaries shall not be paid for a single
service." United States ex rel. Arant v. Lane, 249 U.S. 867, 9 S.Ct.
298, 68 L.Ed. 650 (1919), quoted in Brown v. United States, 418 F.2d 442,
444 (5th Cir. 1969).
The Seventh Circuit has consistently held that the plaintiff bears the
burden of explaining its delay in bringing suit. Lingenfelter v. Keystone
Consolidated Industries, Inc., 691 F.2d 339 at 341 (7th Cir. 1982) (per
curiam); Baker Manufacturing Co. v. White water Manufacturing Co.,
480 F.2d 1008, 1011-15 (7th Cir. 1970) cert. denied, 401 U.S. 956, 91
S.Ct. 978, 28 L.Ed.2d 240 (1971); Boris v. Hamilton Manufacturing Co.,
253 F.2d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 1958). In light of these holdings and the
standards enunciated above regarding governmental employment, in the
discretion of this Court the petition of Joseph Calvin is barred by the
doctrine of laches, as petitioner has not borne his burden. The
petitioner has asserted no excuse for the unreasonable delay in filing the
petition which would outweigh the presumed prejudice suffered by the City
of Chicago as a government employer. See Baker, 430 F.2d at 1009-11. The
petition is therefore dismissed with prejudice.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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