The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Reid M. Paxson, filed suit against Defendant, County of
Cook, Illinois ("Cook County"). Plaintiff alleges violations of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and an Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress claim. Presently before the Court is Cook County's
Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, Cook County's
Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.
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 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
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
Plaintiff, a Caucasian male, works for Cook County as a "Business
Manager II" at Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (the
"Center"). Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 2. Clara Collins is Superintendent and
Plaintiff's supervisor at the Center. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 3; Pl's 56.1
¶ 2. As Superintendent of the Center, Collins is responsible for
managing the facility and making sure that the County's policies and
procedures are carried out. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 3. Collins has the
authority to request the transfer of an employee who has expressed
concerns regarding his or her physical safety at the Center. Pl.'s 56.1
In 2001, the racial makeup of the Center workforce was approximately
90% African-American and approximately 5-10% Caucasian. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 6.
Around that time, the racial makeup of Center residents was approximately
75% African-American, 20% Hispanic, and 5% Caucasian. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 7.
On May 9, 2001, a regularly scheduled labor-management meeting was
held, and a discussion of payroll issues took place. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 4.
Ray Bialek an African-American Field Representative for the Fraternal
Order of Police Collins, and Plaintiff attended this meeting. Def.'s
56.1 ¶¶ 5-6; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 16. On May 16, 2001, Bialek wrote a letter to
Collins complaining that the conduct of Plaintiff at the meeting was
unprofessional, abusive, threatening, and unstable and that Plaintiff
battered him. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 6; Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 14-15.
On May 18, 2001, Plaintiff wrote a memorandum to Collins complaining
about what occurred at the meeting. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 7. On June 15,
2001, Plaintiff sent a second memorandum to Collins requesting that
Bialek's allegations be formally refuted in writing. Def.'s 56.1 ¶
8. Although Collins decided that Bialek's description of the events that
transpired at the meeting lacked merit, Collins did not take any steps to
refute those allegations, side with Plaintiff, or attempt to meet with
Plaintiff to discuss his requests. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 14, 16. On July 3,
2001, Plaintiff sent a memorandum to Collins complaining that she had
both failed to investigate the allegations made by Bialek after the
labor-management meeting and write a letter formally refuting the
allegations. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 12.
Although Collins was aware soon, after she started working at the
Center, from conversations with two other Center employees, of remarks
that Plaintiff was holding Ku Klux Klan meetings in his office, she
believed the allegations of Klan activities there was a joke. Pl.'s 56.1
¶¶ 22-23, 28. Collins, as Superintendent of the Center, has the authority
to initiate an inquiry into possible misconduct by county employees at
the Center. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 27. Collins did not discuss the allegations
with Plaintiff. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 24.
On or about June 26, 2001, after hearing unspecified remarks from
individuals suggesting that Ku Klux Klan ("KKK") meetings were being held
in Plaintiff's office, Collins asked Assistant Superintendent Willie Ross
if he knew anything about the rumors. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 10. Ross then
went to Plaintiff's office and asked Plaintiff if he was running the KKK
out of his office. Plaintiff asked Ross about where he heard this
information, and Ross revealed that Collins was the source. Def.'s 56.1
Upon hearing from Ross that Collins was discussing allegations of KKK
activities, Plaintiff immediately contacted Collins by phone to discuss
the issue. Plaintiff was very upset about the rumors. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶
31. On July 3, 2001, Plaintiff sent a memorandum to Collins complaining
that she had failed to investigate the allegations that there were KKK
meetings in Plaintiff's office and that she had failed to investigate the
allegation that he was allied with Ross and a third employee in a
"character assassination" of one of the floor managers. Def.'s 56.1 ¶
12. However, at no time did Collins take any additional steps to
investigate the allegations herself. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 26, 34.
Administrative leave with pay is a type of leave available for Cook
County employees under unique circumstances where an individual is placed
on leave for Cook County's interest.
Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 17. Administrative leave is granted on a case-by-case
basis and is based upon the recommendation of an administrator where the
affected employee is either a danger to the institution or there is some
other reason the person should be removed immediately before any other
process is initiated. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 17-18. These reasons could include
instances where the affected employees ...