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GALVIN v. CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CHICAGO

September 20, 1994

RITA GALVIN, Plaintiff,
v.
CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CHICAGO, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Rita Galvin filed this three-count complaint, alleging violations of Title VII, as well as two state law claims. Presently before the court is defendant Catholic Bishop of Chicago's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Catholic Bishop's motion is granted as to Galvin's Title VII claim, and the remainder of her complaint is dismissed.

 I. Background *fn1"

 Plaintiff Rita Galvin is a female Hispanic who was employed by defendant Catholic Bishop of Chicago from September 17, 1984 until her termination in February, 1991. Galvin initially served as Supervisor of Records Services in the Pastoral Center, the Catholic Bishop's administrative office. In 1986, Galvin was reassigned to the Information Resources department, which oversees computer operations, serving as a manager. She was promoted to the position of manager of Management Information Systems in 1989, and reported to Jack Benware, who was Director of Administration Services and Chief Financial Officer. Galvin's relationship with Benware was not always harmonious. *fn2" For example, in October, 1990, the Archdiocese held a "Town Hall Meeting" for its employees, in which the employees were invited to ask questions of a panel regarding potential cutbacks in personnel being considered by the Archdiocese. Galvin asked what effect the cutbacks would have on employee benefits. The question was referred to Benware, who answered the question in some detail. The following day, Benware attempted to reach Galvin on the telephone, but Galvin was out of the office, and no one in her department answered the phone. Upset that the phones were unattended, Benware spoke first with Galvin's secretary, who in turn informed Galvin that Benware was very angry. Galvin called Benware, and Benware berated Galvin for instructing a temp in the office not to answer the phone. The conversation deteriorated, and the topic turned to Galvin's question at the meeting. Benware accused Galvin of "putting him on the spot" by asking the question, and told her she should have asked him privately. Galvin countered that the question was totally appropriate, and that his tone with her was unacceptable. Benware then stated, "Lady, I'll chew your ass out any time I want." Galvin then told Benware that the two of them had to meet with Father Spiess, the Vicar for Administration of the Chicago Archdiocese and Benware's boss. Benware suggested that Galvin was attempting to go above his head, or behind his back, to Spiess, as she had previously done with Spiess' predecessor, Father James Roache. Benware then instructed Galvin to be in his office on the following Monday at nine o'clock.

 The following Monday, Galvin met with Benware in his office. Benware had also invited Fred Van Den Hende, the Director of Employee Services for the Chicago Archdiocese. Benware informed Galvin that she had used poor judgment as a manager in asking the question at the Town Hall Meeting. She disagreed, stating again that she had the right to ask any question she wanted. Benware told her to be quiet and listen. Galvin responded that she would not remain quiet when Benware was wrong. She stated that she did not intend to embarrass him at the meeting, and that she would not take his abuse. Benware stated that he and Galvin would have to agree to disagree. Nothing further came of the incident, and it was not mentioned again by either party.

 In early 1991, the directors of the various departments, including Benware, met at Mundelein College to discuss possible reductions in jobs and programs. Among the suggestions made by Benware was that Galvin should be terminated as she was not technically trained or skilled, and replaced with someone who could handle both technical and administrative functions. The recommendation was adopted without objection. As a result, Benware informed Galvin on February 20, 1991, that she had been terminated as part of the reduction-in-force (RIF). *fn3" This was confirmed by a letter sent to Galvin on February 26, 1991. Benware subsequently appointed one of the MIS staff members, Gang Chen, to Acting Manager, and then promoted Chen to Manager. In this capacity, Chen performed both the administrative tasks which Galvin had performed, as well as the technical functions he had previously been responsible for.

 On December 10, 1991, Galvin filed an EEOC charge. After an investigation, the EEOC issued a determination concluding that "the evidence obtained during the investigation does not establish a violation of the statute," and informing Galvin of her right to sue. Galvin filed the present suit on May 26, 1993, alleging violations of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e et seq., and two pendent state claims.

 II. Summary Judgment Standard

 Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). This standard places the initial burden on the moving party to identify "those portions of 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986) (quoting Rule 56(c)). Once the moving party has done this, the non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court must read all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Griffin v. Thomas, 929 F.2d 1210, 1212 (7th Cir. 1991).

 III. Discussion

 Galvin claims that she was discharged by Benware because of her gender and race. In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973), the Supreme Court set forth the appropriate analytical framework for Title VII cases. *fn4" Under McDonnell Douglas, a plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of gender or race discrimination. Chicago Bishop has impliedly admitted, at least for the purposes of this motion, that Galvin is able to satisfy this burden. The burden then shifts to the defendant to "articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the employee's [discharge]." Id., 411 U.S. at 802. *fn5" In their pretrial order, the parties included the following stipulation:

 
In both the oral and written communications, Galvin was informed that her termination was part of a reduction-in-force and stemmed from the redefinition of the position of MIS Manager to encompass technical functions requiring someone with strong technical expertise in hard and soft ware and computer programming. Galvin was further informed that the aforesaid redefinition of the MIS Manager's job resulted in the elimination of her administrative job.

 It is therefore apparent that Chicago Bishop has satisfied its obligation under this portion of the McDonnell Douglas framework. See Dale v. Chicago Tribune Co., 797 F.2d 458, 463-64 (7th Cir. 1986) (defendant satisfied burden of production in Title VII action where record demonstrated that defendant terminated plaintiff "because [defendant] no longer viewed [plaintiff] as qualified to ...


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