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NOBLE v. SHEAHAN

September 18, 2000

RANDALL A. NOBLE, PLAINTIFF,
V.
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY OF SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS AND COOK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Castillo, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Randall A. Noble ("Plaintiff") filed this lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., alleging that Michael Sheahan and the Cook County Sheriff's Department ("Defendants") discriminated against him on the basis of race and retaliated against him for filing a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). A trial is scheduled to begin in this case on September 25, 2000. Currently before this Court is Plaintiff's motion to bar the testimony of Thomas Swaine related to the previously barred testimony and opinions of Alisa B. Skinner ("Plaintiff's Motion to Bar the Testimony of Thomas Swaine"). For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion is denied in part and granted in part.

I. RELEVANT PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On August 3, 2000, Plaintiff filed a motion to bar Defendants from introducing any testimony or opinions of Alisa B. Skinner, a Forensic Scientist with the Illinois State Police, Division of Forensic Services. This Court granted Plaintiff's motion because Defendants failed to make required disclosures relating to expert testimony pursuant to Rule 26 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (R. 22, August 9, 2000 Order.) At that time, the Court asked Plaintiff to submit a reply brief addressing the issue of whether Thomas Swaine, an investigator with the Cook County Sheriff's Office, Office of the Inspector General, should be barred from testifying regarding Skinner's opinions. (R. 26, Pl.'s Reply Br. at 2.) After Plaintiff submitted his reply brief, Defendants filed a surreply brief on August 25, 2000.

II. RELEVANT FACTS

A. Plaintiff's September 1995 Charge of Discrimination and Retaliation

At all times relevant to this lawsuit, Plaintiff has been a deputy sheriff in the Cook County Sheriff's Department Court Services Program. In September 1995, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the IDHR and the EEOC, alleging that Defendants discriminated against him on the basis of race. Thereafter, Plaintiff amended his charge to include retaliation and additional allegations of race discrimination. The IDHR conducted an investigation and issued an Investigation Report, as well as a Notice of Substantial Evidence and Notice of Dismissal on July 16, 1999. (R. 4, Defs.' Answer at 4-5, ¶ 8.)

B. Swaine's Investigation Into Alleged Misconduct by Plaintiff

In August 1998, prior to the conclusion of the IDHR's investigation, the Department of Internal Affairs of the Cook County Sheriff's Department received complaints of alleged misconduct by Plaintiff. (Defs.' Surreply Br. at 1, ¶ 1.) Swaine was assigned to investigate these allegations, and, on October 6, 1998, concluded that Plaintiff had engaged in several instances of misconduct. As a result, Swaine recommended that Plaintiff be suspended for 29 days. (Id. at 1, ¶ 2.)

In November 1998, Swaine received two documents from separate sources that suggested additional misconduct by Plaintiff. (Id. at 2, ¶¶ 4-5.) The first document was an original copy of a criminal record history sheet of Marvin Cruz, which Plaintiff illegally obtained, and which contained a handwritten note bearing the name "Randall." (Id. at 2, ¶ 4.) The second document was a handwritten note regarding Plaintiff's alleged "plot to frame or eliminate an individual for $20,000," (Id. at 2, ¶ 5), which Defendants assert Plaintiff wrote.

Upon receiving these documents, Swaine initiated a second investigation into Plaintiff's alleged misconduct. (Id. at 2, ¶ 6.) In addition, Swaine submitted the two documents, along with what he believed to be a sample of Plaintiff's handwriting, to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab for analysis. (Id.) Skinner reviewed the documents and issued a report indicating that Plaintiff's handwriting was on both documents. (Id. at Ex. C, December 14, 1998 Report of Alisa B. Skinner.) Swaine, after receiving Skinner's report, concluded his second investigation into Plaintiff's misconduct and issued a Summary Report on March 8, 1999, recommending that Plaintiff be terminated. (Id. at Ex. B, Swaine's Summary Report at 34.) Defendants subsequently filed a complaint against Plaintiff with the Cook County Sheriff's Merit Board.

C. Plaintiff's Current Employment Status

During the course of Swaine's second investigation into alleged misconduct by Plaintiff, Plaintiff took a medical leave of absence from the Cook County Sheriff's Department. When Plaintiff attempted to return to work in August 1999, he was informed that he was "suspended without pay pending the disposition of allegations made in a complaint that Defendants had filed against Noble in the Cook County ...


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