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BREWER v. CITY OF EVANSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT

February 5, 2004.

JOHN W. BREWER, Plaintiff,
v.
CITY OF EVANSTON FIRE DEPARTMENT, a Municipal Corporation, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, John W. Brewer, filed suit against Defendant, the City of Evanston Fire Department. Plaintiff alleges a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Presently before the Court is Cook County's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

LEGAL STANDARD

  Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Flanders Elec. Motor Serv., Inc., 40 F.3d 146, 150 (7th Cir. 1994). "One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses. . . ." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Thus, although the moving party on a motion for summary judgment is responsible for demonstrating to the court why there is no genuine issue of material fact, the non-moving party must go beyond the face of the pleadings, affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file to Page 2 demonstrate, through specific evidence, that a genuine issue of material fact exists and to show that a rational jury could return a verdict in the non-moving party's favor. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-27; Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254-56 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986); Waldridge v. American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 923 (7th Cir. 1994).

  Disputed facts are material when they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view all inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48; Popovits v. Circuit City Stores, Inc., 185 F.3d 726, 731 (7th Cir. 1999). However, a metaphysical doubt will not suffice. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative or is no more than a scintilla, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-250.

  BACKGROUND

  The undisputed facts, for the purposes of this motion, taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1(a) & (b) statements of material facts (referred to herein as "Pl.'s 56.1" and "Def.'s 56.1") and exhibits, are as follows.

  Previous Promotion Postings

  Plaintiff, an African-American, is a Captain in the Bureau of Fire Prevention. PLs 56.1 ¶ 1. On or about November 4, 1998, the Defendant posted an internal posting for the position of Division Chief in the Fire Department/Administration Division. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 4. This posting required that a candidate possess a State of Illinois Fire Officer I Certification and State of Page 3 Illinois Instructor II Certification. PL's 56.1 ¶ 39. Plaintiff was the only qualified applicant for the promotion. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 6-9.

  Plaintiff was interviewed for the promotion on or about July 13, 1999. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 11. Plaintiff interviewed for the promotion before a panel consisting of Fire Chief John Wilkinson; Division Chiefs Michael Whalen, Alan Berkowsky, and Samuel Hunter; and the Director of the Department of Human Resources, Judy Witt. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 11-14. Plaintiff also answered a set of written questions for the panel. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 20. The panel was an advisory panel, and Chief Wilkinson held the ultimate decision on who should be appointed. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 15.

  After the interview and the completion of the written exercise, none of the members of the panel concluded that Plaintiff should be promoted to the position of Fire Chief. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 21-27. Plaintiff did not receive that promotion. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 28.

  On or about July 22, 1999, Defendant posted an internal posting for the position of Division Chief, Fire Department/Operations Division. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 30. This promotion required a candidate to possess a State of Illinois Fire Officer I Certification and State of Illinois Instructor II Certification. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 74. Plaintiff and Ben Jaremus applied for the promotion. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 31-32.

  On or about December 3, 1999, before Plaintiff was interviewed and completed written exercises for the promotion, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the City of Evanston Human Relations Commission. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 33; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 77. After Plaintiff filed his ...


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