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PARKS v. UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO HOSPS. & CLINICS

August 17, 1995

MICHAEL E. PARKS, PETER J. NICOLA, DRED S. ARRINGTON, and ROBERT D. DYKSTRA, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO HOSPITALS AND CLINICS, an Illinois corporation, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court are four motions for summary judgment, all filed by Defendant The University of Chicago Hospitals (the "Hospitals"). For the following reasons, all four motions are granted.

 I.

 Four Plaintiffs filed a Complaint consisting of three counts against the Hospitals based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. All claims relate to Plaintiff Michael Parks ("Parks") and his charge of discrimination. Parks, a black male, alleges in count I of the Complaint that the Hospitals refused to promoted him because of his race. In count II, he contends that the Hospitals ultimately fired him in retaliation for filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In count III of the Complaint, Plaintiffs Dred Arrington ("Arrington"), Robert Dykstra ("Dykstra"), and Peter Nicola ("Nicola") allege that the Hospitals fired them in retaliation for participating in one of Parks's EEOC charges.

 The Hospitals hired Parks in June 1990 as a Bio-Medical Equipment Technician ("BMET"), and a few months later the Hospitals promoted Parks to Senior BMET. In January 1991, an assistant director position opened in his department. Parks was not promoted to assistant director, but he believed that he should have been. As a result, in July 1991, Parks filed his first EEOC charge ("July-1991-Charge") on the ground that the Hospitals did not promote him due to his race. Parks withdrew the July-1991-Charge almost two years later in March 1993. Also in 1993, his shift was eliminated due to restructuring of the Clinical Engineering Department. Instead of changing shifts, Parks requested that he be laid off. The Hospitals, however, decided not to terminate Parks but reassign him. On May 11, 1993, Parks filed his second EEOC charge ("May-1993-Charge") claiming retaliation--in the form of diminished responsibilities--for having filed the July-1991-Charge. Parks was fired on September 9, 1993, and on September 21, 1993, Parks filed his third EEOC charge ("September-1993-Charge"). The September-1993-Charge asserted that Parks was fired either in retaliation for filing the earlier claims or due to his race.

 The facts underlying the claims of the other three Plaintiffs relate to their alleged involvement with Parks's July-1991-Charge. In both late 1992 and early 1993, Parks requested, at separate times, the other Plaintiffs to be witnesses in the investigation of Parks's first EEOC claim. On April 15, 1993, Arrington, Dykstra, and Nicola were laid off. The Hospitals contend that the terminations were the result of a reduction in force, but Plaintiffs allege that the terminations were in retaliation for participating in the EEOC investigation.

 The Hospitals have filed four motions for summary judgment, one motion per Plaintiff. Each motion contains a detailed statement of undisputed facts with supporting materials and a memorandum which addresses the legal issues as to each individual. The court will consider all four motions for summary judgment in this opinion.

 II.

 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that a summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Salima v. Scherwood South, Inc., 38 F.3d 929, 931 (7th Cir. 1994); Transportation Communications Int'l Union v. CSX Transp., Inc., 30 F.3d 903, 904 (7th Cir. 1994). A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id.; Russell v. Acme-Evans Co., 51 F.3d 64, 67 (7th Cir. 1995). Furthermore, a summary judgment is not a discretionary remedy and must be granted when the movant is entitled to it as a matter of law. Jones v. Johnson, 26 F.3d 727, 728 (7th Cir. 1994).

 When the courts of this district rule on motions for summary judgment, in addition to Rule 56(c), the courts very seriously consider the Rules of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ("Local Rules"). Plaintiffs' responses are a prime demonstration of the benefit that can be derived from the Local Rules. The focus here is on Local Rules 12(M) and 12(N) pertaining to summary judgment motions.

 These Local Rules may be thought of as forming a sieve through which the factual assertions and supporting evidence are poured; the residue of the sifting process comprises the genuine issues of material fact that go to the merits of the motion. Employed here, Plaintiffs' offerings pour "Like water through a sieve," *fn1" leaving no residue. Put in more concrete terms, Plaintiffs' 12(N) Statement does not correctly oppose the Hospital's 12(M) Statement. In the few instances Plaintiffs disagreed with the Hospitals factual assertions, Plaintiffs did not cite to any support in the record. Because all four of the Plaintiffs' 12(N) Statements share this deficiency, the lack of citation to record support is fatal to the entire case. Valenti v. Qualex, Inc., 970 F.2d 363, 369 (7th Cir. 1992) (holding that a flat denial to a statement of fact under Local Rule 12 without reference to supporting materials has no standing under the Local Rule).

 Local Rules 12(M) and 12(N) provide that unsupported and irrelevant material will not be weighed when considering the possibility of summary judgment. The court will accept only those factual statements that are well pled and are in compliance with Local Rules 12(M)(3), 12(N)(3)(a), and 12(N)(3)(b). Any statements not in compliance are not considered. Waldridge v. American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, slip op. at 6 (7th Cir. 1994) ("district courts are not obliged . . . to scour the record looking for factual disputes"). Those facts which the litigants properly assert in the 12(M)(3) and 12(N)(3)(b) Statements are deemed admitted, unless the responding party contradicts them in the manner specified under Local Rules 12(M) and 12(N)(3)(a). Knox v. McGinnis, 998 F.2d 1405, 1408 n.8 (7th Cir. 1993); see also Early v. Bankers Life & Casualty Co., 853 F. Supp. 1074, 1079 (N.D. Ill. 1994) (holding that failure to comply with Local Rule 12(n) results in the admission of material facts). In addition, a mere disagreement with the movant's asserted facts is inadequate if made without reference to specific supporting material. Edward E. Gillen Co. v. City of Lake Forest, 3 F.3d 192, 196 (7th Cir. 1993). The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly upheld the strict application of Local Rule 12(N). LaSalle Bank Lake View v. Seguban, 54 F.3d 387, 389 (7th Cir. 1995); Stewart v. McGinnis, 5 F.3d 1031, 1034 (7th Cir. 1993) (collecting cases in accord).

 The Hospitals appropriately provide a statement of undisputed facts consisting of short numbered paragraphs, supported with specific references to deposition testimony, an affidavit, and parts of the record. See Local Rule 12(M). In contrast, Plaintiffs' Local Rule 12(N) Statements fail to, "in the case of disagreement, [cite to] specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon . . . ." Local Rule 12(N)(3)(a). Parks' 12(N) Statement attempts to disagree with only two out of ninety-one supported paragraphs. Both attempts omit citation to any authority whatsoever. Arrington's 12(N) Statement disagrees with two of the Hospitals' nineteen 12(M) paragraphs. Both contradictions fail to cite to any supporting material. Moreover, one of his disagreements flies in the face of transcribed deposition testimony. Arrington's response to the Hospital's paragraph ...


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