The opinion of the court was delivered by: Castillo, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Camuel Cross sued the Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees
("Board") for sexual harassment and retaliation under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.
("Title VII"). The Board has filed a motion for summary judgment,
which we grant for the reasons stated below.
Cross failed to submit a proper response to the Board's
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts. Under Local Rule 56.1(a)
(formerly Local Rule 12(M)), the moving party must submit a
statement of undisputed
material facts. In response, the nonmovant must submit: (1) "a
response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's
statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific
references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other
supporting materials relied upon"; and (2) "a statement . . . of
any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment,
including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and
other supporting materials relied upon." Local Rule
56.1(b)(3)(A)-(B) (formerly Local Rule 12(N)). The Seventh
Circuit has upheld severe consequences for a nonmovant's failure
to comply with these rigorous requirements:
[A] failure to properly contest in the 12(N)
statement of material facts set out in the movant's
12(M) statement, constitutes a binding admission of
those facts. In such a case, we "depart from our
usual posture of construing all facts in favor of the
nonmoving party; rather we accept as true all
material facts contained in [the moving party's]
Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997)
(quoting Johnson v. Gudmundsson, 35 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir.
In his response to the Defendant's Statement of Facts, Cross
denies the truth of twenty-eight of the Board's seventy-six
numbered paragraphs. None of Cross' denials, however, is
supported by any references to the record. See Garrison v.
Burke, 165 F.3d 565, 567 (7th Cir. 1999); Brasic, 121 F.3d at
284. As a result, all material facts contained in the Board's
Statement of Facts are accepted as true for the purposes of
summary judgment. Id.
Plaintiff Cross was a music teacher at Gordon Hubbard High
School ("Hubbard"), a Chicago Public School, from August 1992 to
May 1996. Cross alleges that, for part of the time that he was
teaching at Hubbard, Charles Vietzen, the principal, sexually
harassed him. Beginning sometime before 1994, Cross was bothered
by Vietzen's conduct toward him, which he believed constituted
"harassment." (R. 19, Def.'s Statement of Material Facts. Ex. A,
Cross Dep. at 116.) Cross told Vietzen that he did not approve of
Vietzen's conduct. Even after this conversation, Cross claims
that Vietzen sexually harassed him on a number of occasions,
specifically: (1) Vietzen showed Cross a sexually explicit
birthday card in 1994 in the presence of other people, (2)
Vietzen touched him sometime during the 1994-95 school year in
the school cafeteria; (3) Vietzen put his arm around Cross during
the same school year in the lunchroom; (4) in September 1994,
Vietzen, in the presence of other teachers, asked Cross to join
him for cocktails; and (5) in January 1995, Vietzen asked Cross
to take off his clothes. In addition, Cross alleges that Vietzen
put his knee in Cross' behind and that Vietzen told him sexually
explicit jokes, but Cross cannot recall when these alleged
incidents occurred. In spite of Vietzen's alleged conduct, Cross
had no difficulty in performing his duties teaching band.
In January 1995, one of the school counselors informed Vietzen
that two female students accused Cross of having inappropriate
relationships with them. The Cook County Attorney's office
investigated the allegations, but took no action against Cross.
During the course of the investigation, Cross admitted to Vietzen
that he had engaged in inappropriate activities, such as going to
a student's house, having a student ride in his car, and going to
a restaurant with a student. As a result of Cross' inappropriate
conduct, Vietzen lowered Cross' efficiency rating to satisfactory
for the 1994-95 school year. During the same school year, Cross'
high rate of absenteeism prompted Vietzen to speak with him four
or five times.
Vietzen left Hubbard for a short time, between December 1995
and March 1996, during which time Valerie Doubrawa was the acting
principal of the school. On March 11, 1996, Doubrawa issued an
oral and written reprimand to Cross because of
his excessive absences and failure to give prior notification of
absences. On March 20, 1996, Cross wrote a letter to Dr. Jordan,
the Region Five Superintendent and Vietzen's superior,
criticizing the administration at Hubbard; specifically, he
complained that the reprimand he received was unjustly issued. In
that letter, however, Cross made no mention of being subjected to
sexual harassment or that Vietzen had engaged in inappropriate
conduct toward him. Sometime in May 1996, after Vietzen's return,
Cross filled out a leave of absence form, but he did not receive
approval for the leave. Notwithstanding the lack of approval,
Cross took a leave. He returned to school with his union
representative on May 28, 1996 to try to meet with Vietzen, who
refused to see them. Vietzen never told Cross that he could not
return to work at Hubbard, nor did he terminate Cross'
employment. On June 18, 1996, Cross filed a charge of sexual
harassment and retaliation against the Board with the Illinois
Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and the EEOC. In August 1996,
Cross left Chicago; on July 7, 1997, Cross executed a CPS
resignation form indicating that his resignation was effective
November 4, 1996, that he was on medical leave, and that he
wanted early retirement. Thereafter, the EEOC issued a Notice of
Right-to-Sue Letter, and Cross filed this action, alleging sexual
harassment and retaliation under Title VII. Currently pending
before this Court is the Board's motion for summary judgment. For
the reasons that follow, the motion is granted.
Summary judgment is appropriate "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
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A genuine issue
for trial exists only when "the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). A plaintiff cannot rest on mere
allegations of a claim without any probative evidence supporting
his complaint. Id. at 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505. The non-moving party
is required to go beyond the pleadings and designate specific
facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
(1986). The Court must view the evidence in a light most
favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in the non-movant's favor. Crim v. Board of Educ. of
Cairo Sch. Dist. ...