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GULLEY v. AMERICAN TRANS AIR

September 17, 2003

MICHELLE GULLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN TRANS AIR, INC., AND THE ASSOCIATION OF FLIGHT ATTENDANTS, AFA LOCAL 33, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harry Leinenweber, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Michele Gulley (hereinafter, "Gulley" or the "Plaintiff") filed suit against defendants' American Trans Air, Inc. ("ATA") and the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO (hereinafter, the "AFA" or the "Union") on June 28, 2002, assessing five counts of employment discrimination. On November 21, 2002, the Court stayed Counts One, Two, and Four pending arbitration, as required by the Railway Labor Act, 48 U.S.C. § 1451. The stayed counts allege racial and national origin discrimination in ATA's failure to promote Gulley, as well as in ATA's and AFA's handling of a dispute between Gulley and a fellow employee, Jerry Jules-Chatelain ("Jules-Chatelain").

Counts Three and Five remain before the Court. Count Three charges ATA with retaliating against and harassing Gulley for filing an anti-discrimination claim. Count Five accuses AFA of the same violations. [ Page 2]

On June 26, 2003, ATA and AFA each filed Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 motions for summary judgment to dismiss the remaininq counts, accompanied by memorandums of law and Local Rule 56.1 for the Northern District of Illinois Statements of Material Facts (the "56.1 statements"). Plaintiff, who is represented by counsel, was given until July 17, 2003 to respond. Plaintiff did not file a timely response. On July 29, 2003, Plaintiff moved to extend its time to respond to the summary judgment motion. On July 31, 2003, Plaintiff withdrew this motion. On August 19, 2003, Plaintiff again requested leave to file a late response to the summary judgment motion. On August 26, 2003, the Court denied Plaintiff's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Local Rule 56.1 Responses

Local Rule 56.1 of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ("Local Rule 56.1") establishes procedures that both moving and opposing parties must follow in filing and responding to a motion for summary judgment. Under Local Rule 56.1, the moving party must submit a statement of material facts with "references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Local Rule 56.1(a)(3). In turn, the opposing party must file "a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement," and, in the case of disagreement, provide specific references to [ Page 3]

supporting evidentiary material. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A). If the opposing party does not respond and controvert the moving party's statement of material facts, those facts are deemed to be admitted for the purposes of the motion. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). In failing to respond to Defendants' motions, Gulley also failed to respond to Defendants' 56.1 statements. As a result, all of ATA's and AFA's Local Rule 56.1 facts that are supported by the record must be deemed admitted. Accordingly, the Court bases the following factual findings exclusively on the record and Defendants' 56.1 Statements.

B. Facts

Before the Court begins, it wishes to note its difficulty in compiling the following factual record. Not only did Gulley not respond to Defendants' Summary Judgment motions, but Gulley's original complaint bordered on the incoherent. This forced the Court to take its "best guess" both at what, transpired prior to the filing of this lawsuit, and what Gulley's complaint actually alleges.

ATA hired Gulley to serve as a Flight Attendant on March 17, 2000. In the fall of 2000, Gulley unsuccessfully sought a promotion to Senior Flight attendant. On January 28, 2001, Gulley was assigned to work a flight with Senior Flight Attendant Jerry Jules-Chatelain. When Jules-Chatelain delayed the flight by arriving late, Gulley failed to notify crew scheduling. As a [ Page 4]

result, she received a "crew advisory" mark on her record but: no further discipline. Jules-Chatelain received discipline in the form of a written warning. Unaware of Jules-Chatelain's punishment, Gulley communicated to several ATA employees, including the AFA grievance representatives K. N. Weaver ("Weaver") and Linda Green ("Green"), that, she wanted Jules-Chatelain disciplined or fired. Gulley claims that Weaver warned her that if she persisted in trying to get a fellow employee disciplined, other employees might retaliate against her.

Gulley considered ATA's giving her a crew advisory, while "failing" to discipline Jules-Chatelain, an act of racial discrimination. She based this belief partially on the fact that while she is a Caucasian of East Indian decent, Weaver is partially African-American and Green is fully African-American.

On February 14, 2001, Gulley filed an internal discrimination complaint to ATA. As no party submitted this complaint as evidence, the Court can only guess as to its contents. From the totality of the record, the Court surmises that the complaint alleged racial and national origin discrimination in the handling of the dispute regarding Jules-Chatelain, along with the failure to promote Gulley in the Autumn of 2000. On April 18, 2001, Gulley filed discrimination complaints with ...


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