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PARKER v. DANVILLE METAL STAMPING CO.

January 30, 1985

CAROL A. PARKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DANVILLE METAL STAMPING COMPANY, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baker, Chief Judge.

  ORDER

On September 25, 1984, the plaintiff filed this action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., charging the defendant, Danville Metal Stamping, with employment discrimination. In particular, the plaintiff claims that she was denied proper wage increases and eventually was discharged because of her race and sex. The plaintiff also claims that she was subjected to racial harrassment by her supervisor. This matter is before the court on the defendant's "Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment."

I. FACTS

The plaintiff, Carol Parker, was the complainant in the case of Carol Parker v. Danville Metal Stamping Company, charge No. 1981SF-0445 (Illinois Human Rights Commission). On March 23, 1981, the plaintiff filed her charge of employment discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("the DHR") claiming that the Danville Metal Stamping Company had discriminated against her on the basis of her race, sex, and "physical handicaps." The DHR conducted an investigation and held a fact-finding conference on September 11, 1981, which was attended by both parties and their witnesses. After reviewing the evidence, the DHR dismissed all of the charges for lack of substantial evidence.

The plaintiff then filed a request for a review of the DHR's decision with the Illinois Human Rights Commission ("the HRC") on April 21, 1982. On August 18, 1982, the HRC ruled that a hearing should be held to consider three of the plaintiff's allegations. Accordingly, the HRC issued a complaint on September 2, 1982, and assigned the matter to an administrative law judge ("ALJ") for an adjudicative hearing.

On September 30, 1982, the defendant answered the complaint and initiated the discovery process. The plaintiff's counsel answered the defendant's discovery requests and initiated discovery on the plaintiff's behalf, filing both a request for the production of documents and a set of interrogatories. The plaintiff's attorney also prepared a pre-hearing memorandum which was submitted to the HRC on December 21, 1982.

On December 28 and 29, 1982, an evidentiary hearing was held to adjudicate the merits of the plaintiff's complaint. During the two-day hearing, each party had an opportunity to examine and cross-examine witnesses under oath pursuant to the Illinois Rules of Evidence. The plaintiff's attorney made an opening statement, called five witnesses for examination, and offered six exhibits, all of which were admitted into evidence.

In a recommended order and decision dated September 14, 1983, the ALJ recommended that the HRC dismiss the plaintiff's complaint. After the defendant appealed the ALJ's failure to award the company its attorney's fees, a three-member panel of the HRC reviewed the findings of facts and conclusions of law contained within the recommended order. The panel affirmed the ALJ's findings and conclusions in a final order and decision dismissing the complaint. The plaintiff did not appeal the HRC's decision within the Illinois state court system, but instead filed this Title VII action in federal court.

II. ANALYSIS

In its "Motion to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment", the defendant urges the court to follow the decision of the Northern District of Illinois in Buckhalter v. Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers, Inc., 590 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D.Ill. 1984), and to bar this Title VII action by the doctrine of res judicata. In Buckhalter, the plaintiff alleged that he was discharged from his employment because of his race. The plaintiff first filed a charge of racial discrimination with the Illinois Fair Employment Practices Commission ("the FEPC").*fn1 After a full hearing, an ALJ dismissed the plaintiff's claims. The full HRC affirmed the dismissal. The plaintiff then was issued a right to sue letter from the EEOC and filed suit under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. As in this case, the plaintiff in Buckhalter made the same claims as were considered and decided upon by the HRC. The district court in Buckhalter held that the plaintiff's claims were barred by the res judicata effect of the state administrative decision.

The district court in Buckhalter held that it was required to give "full faith and credit" and preclusive effect to a state administrative determination if the administrative tribunal was acting in a "judicial capacity" in rendering a decision. Buckhalter, 590 F. Supp. at 1149. The court thus distinguished the findings of a state agency in its investigative capacity from an agency's determinations in its "judicial capacity". Buckhalter, 590 F. Supp. at 1149. The district court further read Kremer v. Chemical Construction Corporation, 456 U.S. 461, 470 n. 7, 102 S.Ct. 1883, 1891 n. 7, 72 L.Ed.2d 262 (1982), as foreclosing res judicata effect only to those state administrative decisions which are investigative or purely administrative in nature and not to the determinations of an agency when acting in a "judicial capacity". Buckhalter, 590 F. Supp. at 1148-1149.

The district court then noted that the HRC has no equivalent in the federal system, insofar as it is empowered to act in a judicial capacity. Buckhalter, 590 F. Supp. at 1149. Indeed, the HRC may grant several forms of relief upon a determination of a civil rights violation. See Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 68, Par. 8-108. HRC decisions are given preclusive effect in Illinois courts and may be overturned only if contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 68, Par. 8-111. A HRC holding may be appealed to the Illinois Circuit Courts pursuant to the Administrative Review Law (Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110, Par. 3-101 et seq.). Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 68, Par. 8-111(a). In finding that the HRC determination should be given preclusive effect, the district court in Buckhalter also placed emphasis on the fact that the plaintiff was afforded due process before the HRC.

The court, however, disagrees with the Northern District of Illinois' interpretation of Kremer and its holding in Buckhalter. The court holds that the determination of the HRC in this case is not to be given preclusive effect in the plaintiff's subsequent Title VII action. The United States Supreme Court, in Kremer v. Chemical Construction Corporation, 456 U.S. 461, 102 S.Ct. 1883, 72 L.Ed.2d 262 (1982), held that a district court was required under the Full Faith and Credit Clause, United States Constitution, Article IV, § 1, and its implementing statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1738, to give preclusive effect to a state court decision upholding a state administrative agency's rejection of an employment discrimination claim. Kremer, 456 U.S. at 485, 102 S.Ct. at 1899. The Full Faith and Credit Clause, implemented by § 1738, is the means by which state adjudications are made res judicata. Batiste v. Furnco Construction Company, 503 F.2d 447, 457 (7th Cir. 1974). The focus of the Supreme Court's attention in Kremer was on the state court's decision on review of the state administrative determination. The failure of the plaintiff in this case to fully pursue state procedures does not indicate the inadequacy of the procedures, Kremer, 456 U.S. at 485, 102 S.Ct. at 1899, but her failure to appeal the HRC's determination to a state circuit court does not elevate the HRC's findings to the level of a final state court judgment for res judicata purposes under Title VII.

Indeed, the Supreme Court in Kremer found that Title VII is not immunized from the applications of "full faith and credit" and res judicata principles. The Supreme Court correctly recognized that no "affirmative showing" of a "clear and manifest" legislative intent exists behind Title VII to deny res judicata or collateral estoppel effect to a state court judgment affirming a state agency determination. Kremer, 456 U.S. at 468-76, 102 S.Ct. at 1890-94. An exception to 28 U.S.C. § 1738 will not be recognized unless a later statute contains an express or implied partial repeal. Allen v. McCurry, 449 U.S. 90, 99, 101 S.Ct. 411, 417, 66 L.Ed.2d 308 (1980). No claim is made that Title VII expressly repealed ยง 1738, and repeals by implication are not favored. See Radzanower v. ...


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