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WILSON v. AMERITECH

May 9, 2003

MONET WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERITECH, AN SBC COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Monet Wilson filed suit against Ameritech following her termination, alleging various forms of discrimination and retaliation. Ameritech has moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated herein, Ameritech's motion is granted.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where the evidence presented to the Court shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Beauchamp v. City of Noblesville, Ind., 320 F.3d 733, 742 (7th Cir. 2003); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party" Pugh v. City of Attica Indiana, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 US. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 92 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

Once the movant has met this burden, it is up to the non-movant to presents "definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion" and show that there is an issue of material fact. E.E.O.C. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 233 F.3d 432, 437 (7th Cir. 2000). A mere scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is insufficient. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252, 106 S.Ct. at 2512. The Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draws all reasonable inferences in his favor. Lesch v. crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002).

LOCAL RULE 56.1 REQUIREMENTS

According to the Local Rules, a party opposing summary judgment shall file "a concise response to the movant's statement [of material facts] that shall contain . . . a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of" any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment." Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). Plaintiff did not file such a statement. Instead, she attempted to insert additional facts in her memorandum of law and response to Defendant's 56.1 statement. These methods are inappropriate, because they circumvent the adversarial process and harm the otherwise efficient flow of the Court's docket. See Midwest imports, Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1316-17 (7th Cir. 1995); Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 584 (N.D. Ill. 2000) ("Simply providing additional facts in one's responsive memorandum is insufficient to put those facts before the Court."). The Court chooses to do what other courts have done in this circumstance — exercise its discretion by disregarding Wilson's improperly-submitted additional facts, See McGuire v. United Parcel Serv., 152 F.3d 673, 675 (7th Cir. 1998); Midwest Imports, 71 F.3d at 1313; Malec, 191 F.R.D. at 584. Accordingly, the Court takes the factual record for the purposes of deciding this motion solely from Defendant's Local General Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Uncontested Material Facts (R. 32-1), except in those few instances where a statement was properly rebutted by Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A) Response. (See R. 50-1, Pl.'s Response; R. 51-1, May 7, 2003 Order.)

UNDISPUTED FACTS

I. Wilson's Employment

Monet Wilson is an African-American woman. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 1.)*fn1 Ameritech employed her as an associate at its Consumer Services Call Center in Oak Brook, Illinois, from September 7, 1999 through January 11, 2001. (Id. ¶ 6.)

II. Ameritech's Attendance Policies

Ameritech had attendance guidelines during Wilson's employment. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 26.) Wilson was aware of these guidelines, and Ameritech counseled her about the importance of maintaining a satisfactory attendance record. (Id. ¶ 32.) The guidelines defined the type of absences that an associate may incur, the threshold for maintaining satisfactory attendance, and the progressive disciplinary steps that Ameritech could take when an associate's absences exceeded the threshold. (Id. ¶ 27.) If an associate missed work for reasons other than vacation or an excused absence, it was a chargeable absence that was counted against the associate's attendance record. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.) Ameritech's progressive discipline for excessive absences started with a written warning, moved to a suspension, and ended in dismissal. (Id. ¶ 30.)

Ameritech kept associates' attendance records in its Consumer Services facility. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 15.) Ameritech noted each time that an associate was tardy or absent, along with any reason for the occurrence. (Id. ¶¶ 21, 23.) Ameritech maintained the attendance records in the same manner for all associates. (Id. ¶ 24.) Cathleen Tuttle monitored associate attendance at that facility while Plaintiff was with Ameritech. (Id. ¶ 16.)

III. Wilson's Attendance Problems

Wilson incurred many chargeable absences and tardies while with Ameritech. She first was absent from work on December 16, 1999. (Def.'s Facts ¶ 33.) Her attendance problems grew in February 2000. She missed work entirely on February 10 and 11. (Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 33-34.) In addition, Wilson missed parts of her workdays on February 12 and 14. (Id. ¶¶ 34-35.) As a result, Ameritech issued Wilson a First Written Warning Letter on February 16. (Id. ¶ 36.) That letter advised Wilson ...


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