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ASLLANI v. BOARD OF EDUC. OF CHICAGO

March 29, 1993

SYLVIA ASLLANI, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, et al., Defendants.


MORAN


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES B. MORAN

Plaintiff Sylvia Asllani (Asllani) brings this multi-count action against the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (the Board), the City of Chicago (the City), Ted Kimbrough (Kimbrough), Lourdes Monteagudo (Monteagudo), the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), the Pilsen Neighbors Community Council (Pilsen Neighbors), the Pickard Local School Council (the Council), and twenty one of the Board's and Council's present or former members. Asllani brings various federal claims alleging civil rights violations and state law claims. She alleges that as principal of the Pickard Elementary School (Pickard School) she was discriminated against because of her race and political affiliation. Before this court are various motions brought by defendants, including motions for dismissal or in the alternative to stay proceedings, and a motion for summary judgment. *fn1" For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motions are granted in part and denied in part.

 FACTS

 Asllani, a white female, had been employed by the Board since 1958. She served as a teacher until 1977, at which time she became the interim principal of Darwin School. In March 1977, she was assigned as a regularly-appointed principal to Pickard School under the "Plan for Implementation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" (the 1977 Plan) and the "Protective Principles" which were incorporated as chapter VI of the 1977 Plan. According to plaintiff, her performance as a teacher and principal consistently had been rated as excellent or superior.

 On April 9, 1990, Kimbrough, general superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools, notified Asllani that he planned to request her suspension for a period not to exceed thirty days. A pre-suspension hearing was held on April 11 and April 13, 1990. On April 18, 1990, the Board met and upon the recommendation of the hearing officer voted to suspend plaintiff without pay for twenty-five school days, beginning April 20, 1990. Defendant Cortes acted as the substitute principal while Asllani served the suspension. The facts surrounding plaintiff's suspension were recited and addressed in detail in an earlier opinion written by Judge Zagel and therefore need not be further discussed here. *fn2"

 Asllani's contract for employment as principal was for four years, ending June 30, 1990. The Council held a meeting on April 14, 1990, and voted to renew Asllani's contract for a four-year term beginning July 1, 1990. That some month, Kimbrough declared that the April 11, 1990 meeting was void. On April 25, 1990, the Council conducted a meeting where the defendant members of the Council voted not to renew Asllani's contract. The six members of the Council who voted not to extend the contract to Asllani were Hispanic. Asllani was not present at the meeting and was not informed until May 17, 1990, that the Council had voted not to renew her contract.

 On May 7, 1990, plaintiff was notified that she was to be suspended for a second time, pending a hearing. A pre-suspension hearing took place on May 21, 1990, and the hearing officer, defendant Principe, recommended suspension of Asllani to the Board. Plaintiff was suspended for allegedly conducting and participating in illegal meetings, for allegedly harassing a teacher at Pickard School, and for failing to obtain a building permit.

 On June 26, 1990, a Council meeting was held and the members voted to extend a four-year contract to Cortes, a Hispanic, for the position of principal at Pickard School, effective July 1, 1990. Asllani was not notified of the June 26, 1990 meeting.

 When Asllani returned from her suspension on July 6, 1990, she was denied access to her office and was informed by defendant Engelskirchen that she was no longer the principal at Pickard School.

 On April 12, 1990, plaintiff filed her initial complaint and on May 22, 1990, she filed her amended complaint before Judge Zagel seeking declaratory and other relief against the Board, Principe, Kimbrough, and Engelskirchen. In that action plaintiff alleged that the defendants violated the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment, when they suspended her in April 1990. Plaintiff further alleged that the defendants were engaged in a political conspiracy with one of the Council's factions and that they sought to suspend plaintiff, in retaliation, because she was a member of the opposing council faction. Asllani further claimed that defendants' actions were in violation of her First Amendment rights and amounted to a political conspiracy to deprive plaintiff of her civil rights based upon her race. On October 16, 1990, Judge Zagel granted defendants' motion to dismiss those claims.

 On May 16, 1990, plaintiff filed her first complaint and on January 17, 1992 she filed her fourth amended complaint with the Circuit Court of Cook County before Judge O'Brien. *fn3" That complaint includes many of the allegations encompassed in Asllani's complaint now before us. *fn4" Judge O'Brien has dismissed with prejudice four of the seven counts of plaintiff's fourth amended complaint.

 On July 1, 1992, Asllani filed her complaint before this court. The complaint includes eleven counts against twenty-eight defendants. *fn5"

 DISCUSSION

 I. Prior and Ongoing Litigation

 Defendants argue that this court should dismiss plaintiff's amended complaint in its entirety because its claims are barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The doctrine of res judicata holds that a final judgment on the merits, in a court of competent jurisdiction, bars the same parties or their privies from relitigating the issues that were raised in the prior action, as well as other issues that could have ...


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