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GRIFFIN v. TRITON COLLEGE

June 4, 1993

CLARENCE GRIFFIN, Plaintiff,
v.
TRITON COLLEGE, Defendant.


BOBRICK


The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDWARD A. BOBRICK

Before the court is the motion of Triton College for summary judgment on the complaint of plaintiff Clarence Griffin.

 This case arises out of plaintiff's resignation as head basketball coach and physical education teacher at Triton College. Plaintiff filed a six-count complaint against Triton College and certain individuals who have since been dismissed as defendants. The claims that remain against Triton College are: a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that Triton College denied plaintiff his Fourteenth Amendment right of due process; and claims under state law for breach of contractual confidentiality, defamation, interference with contractual relations, and breach of contract arising out of plaintiff's allegedly forced resignation. Triton College has moved for summary judgment on the complaint, arguing that none of the actions of which plaintiff complains are attributable to Triton College, especially those relevant to the § 1983 claim and, once that claim is eliminated, there is no federal jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.

 I. BACKGROUND

 A. Facts

 We draw the factual summary of this dispute from the parties' Local Rule 12 submissions. In so doing, we note that plaintiff has not disputed any of the facts that Triton College has submitted as Local Rule 12(n) requires, but has merely submitted his own statement of facts. While this may qualify as a statement "of any additional facts which require denial of summary judgment under Local Rule 12(n), plaintiff's failure to dispute Triton College's statement of facts constitutes an admission to that version of the facts. Schulz v. Serfilco, Ltd., 965 F.2d 516, 519 (7th Cir. 1992). Accordingly, Triton College's Local Rule 12(m) statement provides the source of our factual summary, supplemented where necessary by plaintiff's additional facts.

 On July 17, 1990, plaintiff met with Judith Schueler, Vice President of Student Affairs at Triton College, for twenty minutes regarding allegations that plaintiff had misappropriated funds from a student's Pell Grant check, and to question a reimbursement request plaintiff had filed. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts ("Def. St."), P 2). Schueler told plaintiff, at the end of their meeting, that she had turned the matter over to the authorities and that it was out of her hands. (Id., P 3). Thereafter, the Triton College police department notified plaintiff that he was to appear before Joseph Chambers, the interim Director of Human Resources at Triton College. (Id., P 3; Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts ("Pl. St."), P 2).

 On July 20, 1990, plaintiff met with Chambers and teachers' union representative, James O'Malley, regarding the charges Schueler had previously discussed with him. (Def. St., PP 5-6). The three met once more, on July 23, 1990, at which time Chambers told plaintiff that the board of trustees of Triton College would meet regarding the charges. (Def. St., P 7). Because of plaintiff's good record at the college, the board met in a special closed session and allowed plaintiff to address the allegations against him. (Id., P 8).

 The Triton College board of trustees met in closed session on July 24, 1990, at the Triton Administration Building. (Id., P 10). In addition to various board members, Chambers, O'Malley, two Triton College attorneys, and plaintiff were present. (Id., P 11). Plaintiff had an opportunity to explain his position regarding the charges, which he later recounted at deposition as follows:

 
A. The male lawyer asked me a question as to the check, and I said, "Yes, it was deposited in my account with the kid's permission in front of witnesses to use the check to pay his rent because he was having problems with dealing with his own affairs in that regard and he told me to do so and that's why I did it." The other question I can't remember.
 
Q. How about the question that the female lawyer asked you?
 
A. The question with the tuition reimbursement, I explained to her that it was for $ 90, and the receipt that I got was for $ 190 which was in turn filed all at one time to cover all the expenses that I had incurred for the course, the expenses that I incurred. I told her I even had receipts for that.

 Def. St., Griffin Dep., p. 56-57). Following plaintiff's explanation, the board asked plaintiff to wait outside the meeting room with O'Malley. (Def. St., P 14). At that time, one of the attorneys spoke to O'Malley, and O'Malley told plaintiff that plaintiff had to decide whether to resign and avoid facing formal charges before the board convened in open session fifteen minutes later. (Def. St., PP 15-16; Griffin Dep. p. 60-61). Given that choice and time frame, plaintiff decided ...


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