United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
March 24, 2004.
JASON ROZSKOWIAK, Plaintiff,
VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, an Illinois Municipal corporation; VILLAGE OF ARLINGTON HEIGHTS BOARD OF FIRE AND POLICE COMMISSIONERS AND ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS, both in their individual capacities and in their official capacities; RODNEY KATH, both in his individual capacity and in his capacity as Chief of Police of the Village of Arlington Heights Police Department; RONALD E. McCLASKEY, both in his individual capacity and in his capacity as Deputy Chief of Police of the Village of Arlington Heights Police Department; PETER D. KINSEY, both in his individual capacity and in his capacity as a Supervisor for the Village Arlington Heights Police Department; SGT. WILLIAM C. MARTIN, both in his individual capacity and in his capacity as a Supervisor for the Village of Arlington Heights Police Department; and SGT. WILLIAM NEWMAN, both in his individual capacity and in his capacity as a Supervisor for the Village of Arlington Heights Police Department, Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT GETTLEMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
In his first amended, seven-count complaint, plaintiff Jason
Rozskowiak seeks damages against defendants arising from their alleged
discrimination against him on the basis of national origin during and
subsequent to his employment with the Village of Arlington Heights Police
Department. Specifically, plaintiffs claims are as follows: hosfile work
environment in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.,
42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq.. against defendants Village of
Arlington Heights (the "Village"), Rodney Kath, Ronald McClaskey, Peter
Kinsey, William Martin, and William Newman (Count I); termination on the
basis of plaintiff's national origin in violation of Title VII against
defendant Village of Arlington Heights Board of Fire and Police
Commissioners and its individual members (the "Board of Commissioners"),
the Village, Kath, McClaskey, Kinsey, Martin and Newman (Count II);
damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 1981(a) against all defendants
(Count III); violation of the Labor-Management Relations Act (the
"LMRA"), 29 U.S.C. § 158(a)(1), against the Village and Board of
Commissioners (Count IV); intentional interference with an employment
relationship under Illinois law against Kath, McClaskey, Kinsey, and
Martin (Count V); intentional interference with a prospective business
advantage under Illinois law against the Village and Kath (Count VI); and
"defamation and false light invasion of privacy" under Illinois law
against Kath (Count VII).
Defendants have moved for summary judgment on all counts pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons stated herein, defendants' motion is
granted in its entirety.
Plaintiff was hired as a probationary officer by the Village on October
8, 1998. He was sent to the Illinois State Police Basic Recruits School
and after graduation was placed in a fourteen-week field training
program. Upon completion of the fourteen-week program, plaintiff was
released for "solo patrol."
On May 15, 1999, while on solo patrol, plaintiff arrested Harvey Olson
for driving without a license on his person and speeding. Olson
subsequently filed a citizen complaint*fn2 with the Village in which he
stated that plaintiff used "Gestapo-like tactics" and used undue force
during his encounter with Olson. Among other things, Olson complained
that plaintiff instructed him that he could say only "yes, sir," and "no,
sir" and was "abusive with the use of his power" over both Olson and
All citizen complaints are investigated, and Deputy Chief of Police
Ronald McClaskey assigned Sergeants William Martin and Kenneth Galinski
to investigate the Olson complaint. On May 28, 1999, Sergeants Martin and
Galinski interviewed plaintiff regarding the Olson incident and
subsequently filed a report summarizing their investigation.
At his deposition, Martin testified that he concluded that plaintiff
"overreacted to a traffic stop in which he was confused about a charge of
driving without a driver's license [on the person] and the charge of
driving with no valid driver's license." According to Martin, after
pulling Olson over for speeding, plaintiff handcuffed Olson and brought
him to the police station thinking that the proper charge was driving
without a valid license, which is a custodial offense. Ultimately,
however, plaintiff charged Olson with driving without a driver's license
on his person, which Martin characterized as a "minor traffic violation."
According to Martin, the speeding violation committed by Olson did not
require a custodial arrest, unless Olson "[did not] have a driver's
license or [could not] prove that [he had] a valid driver's license."
According to Martin, plaintiff explained in his interview that he was
confused between the charges of driving without a driver's license
on the person and driving without a valid driver's license. Martin
testified that, although plaintiffs confusion was not uncommon, the
recommended course of action in such a situation would be to call a
supervisor, which plaintiff failed to do.
In light of the Olson complaint and Martin's and Galinksi's
investigation thereof, on June 15, 1999, Chief of Police Rodney Kath
inquired of the Command Staff whether he should dismiss plaintiff
immediately or invest more time in retraining plaintiff, and the staff
recommended the latter. Sergeant William Newman, who was not a field
training officer, was assigned to ride along with plaintiff for the
purpose of providing additional training.
According to Commander Peter Kinsey's deposition testimony, the Command
Staff determined that the field training program had failed plaintiff and
thus it would be inappropriate to put plaintiff back into field training.
Before the meeting, Sergeant Newman, who had previously spoken with
Commander Peter Kinsey regarding plaintiffs performance deficiencies,
volunteered to do the additional training, and the Command Staff assigned
the task to him (even though he was not a field training officer). In his
affidavit, plaintiff asserts that Sergeant Newman was assigned to
ride-along with him either to document reasons justifying plaintiffs
termination or to force him to resign.
Between June 17, 1999, and July 12, 1999, Sergeant Newman spent
thirteen work days, totaling approximately 90 to 100 hours, directly
observing plaintiff. Sergeant Newman completed typewritten daily reports
of his observations which plaintiff signed. In his affidavit, plaintiff
asserts that, based on a conversation in which Commander Kinsey informed
him that Sergeant Newman would make a decision on whether or not
plaintiff would continue to work for the
police department, plaintiff understood that "Sergeant Newman was
chosen to ride along with [me] for the reason of getting me terminated."
Newman was never asked for any recommendation with respect to discipline
or termination of plaintiff, however.
According to plaintiff, Sergeant Newman made derogatory remarks about
plaintiffs Polish national origin, calling him a "stupid Polack" and a
"dumb Polack," among other things, during the thirteen-day ride along.
Sergeant Newman denies plaintiffs characterization of his remarks.
Rather, at his deposition, Sergeant Newman testified:
Well, [plaintiff] would make a specific comment,
he would say he would raise his hands and
put a smile on his face and he'd say, "What do you
expect? I'm Polish," when confronted with a
problem or some type of criticism, and he would do
that several times a day. . . . And after several
days of observing that, when he would start to put
his hands up on several occasions, as he would
start to say that, I would say, "Yes, I know,
you're Polish. Let's move on," and I would move on
in our conversation.
Sergeant Galinski testified at his deposition that every time he would
point out necessary corrections in plaintiffs police reports, plaintiff
would say, "Come on, what do you expect from a Polack." Another officer,
Sergeant Raymond Rohde, stated in an affidavit that when plaintiff would
make a mistake and it was called to his attention, plaintiff would "cock
his head to one side with a big smile and say `It's because I am a
Polack.'" According to Rohde, he told plaintiff to stop making comments
about his Polish identity, which were an insult to the Polish nationality
and made him look foolish. Plaintiff disputes Rohde's characterization of
their conversation, and denies making derogatory comments about himself
as an excuse for his mistakes.
At one point in his deposition, plaintiff testified that he did not
recall anyone else in the police department ever making any derogatory
remarks about his Polish ancestry; at later point, however, he testified
that Sergeant Martin called him a "stupid Polack" during his
of the Olson incident and that Commander Kinsey made comments to
the effect of "You're not cut out [to be a police officer] because you
The parties also dispute whether plaintiff was told that he needed
higher quotas for tickets and driving under the influence arrests.
Although plaintiff testified at his deposition that no one told him that
he had to have higher quotas, he did state that he was expected to have
higher statistics than other probationary officers, and that he believed
he had to have higher quotas because of his Polish extraction. Plaintiff
did not produce evidence regarding the statistics for other probationary
officers relating to their arrests or productivity, however.
At his deposition, plaintiff testified that he could not recall any
other ethnic slurs directed at him after he completed his tour with
Sergeant Newman. In his affidavit, however, plaintiff stated that, after
he completed his tour, "on almost a daily basis, Sergeant Newman would
call me in from patrol to tell me personally that the written evaluations
he made of me during my training were handed over to Deputy Chief Ronald
McClaskey and that I would be terminated because I was a `stupid
After this thirteen-day assignment was completed, Sergeant Newman
prepared and submitted a field training summary outlining his
observations of plaintiff. The summary was submitted to Deputy Chief of
Police Ronald McClaskey on July 28, 1999. According to Chief Kath, based
on this training summary, Olson's citizen complaint, and at least one
other citizen complaint filed against plaintiff, the Command Staff
determined that plaintiff had not met the standards required for service
in the Arlington Heights Police Department.
On or about August 10, 1999, plaintiff met with Deputy Chief McClaskey
and Commander Kinsey and was told that Chief Kath would recommend
plaintiffs termination to the
Board of Commissioners. Plaintiff was given a copy of a letter to
that effect that Chief Kath had prepared for the Board of Commissioners.
According to defendants, this meeting was first time that Deputy Chief
McClaskey learned of plaintiff's claim of harassment and
discrimination.*fn3 Moreover, plaintiff has not produced any evidence
that indicates that Chief Kath knew of plaintiffs discrimination
allegations prior to preparing his letter recommending termination.
On August 19, 1999, plaintiff, along with his union representative and
his union attorney, appeared before Carole Addante, the Director of Human
Resources, and Robin Ward, the Assistant Village Attorney, and discussed
plaintiffs claims of harassment. After an investigation, Addante and Ward
concluded that Chief Kath's decision to terminate plaintiff was made for
legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons. Plaintiff was terminated by the
Board of Commissioners on August 30, 1999.
At his deposition, plaintiff testified that he did not have personal
knowledge of Chief Kath telling anyone at the Carol Stream Police
Department that they should not hire plaintiff after he was terminated.
Nor has plaintiff produced any testimonial evidence from other
individuals to that effect.
A movant is entitled to summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 when
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with any affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue
of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Unterreiner v. Volkswagen of
America, Inc., 8 F.3d 1206, 1209 (7th Cir. 1993). Once a moving
party has met its burden, the nonmoving party must go beyond the
pleadings and set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue
for trial. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Becker v.
Tenenbaum-Hill Assoc., Inc., 914 F.2d 107, 110 (7th Cir. 1990). The
nonmoving party "must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co., Ltd, v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
"The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmoving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence
on which the jury could reasonably find for the [nonmoving party]."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
1. Count I: Hosfile Work Environment
As a preliminary matter, the court notes that "[i]t is only the
employee's employer who may be held liable under Title VII."
Robinson v. Sappington, 351 F.3d 317, 332, n.1 (7th Cir. 2003).
Accordingly, defendants Kath, McClaskey, Kinsey, Martin, and Newman
cannot be held individually liable under Counts I and II, and the court
dismisses those claims against them, with prejudice.
"Title VII protects a worker against conduct which is sufficiently
severe or pervasive that a reasonable person would find it hosfile and
which the victim himself subjectively sees as
abusive." Ngeunjuntr v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co.,
146 F.3d 464, 467 (71h Cir. 1998) (citing Harris v. Forklift Systems,
Inc., 510 U.S. 17 (1993)). "In order to survive summary judgment on
a hosfile work environment claim, a plaintiff must present evidence that
would establish that the allegedly hosfile conduct was so severe or
pervasive as to create an abusive working environment in violation of
Title VII." Robinson v. Sappington 351 F.3d 317, 329 (7th Cir.
2003) (quoting Russell v. Bd. of Trustees of the Univ. of Illinois
at Chicago, 243 F.3d 336, 342-43 (7th Cir. 2001)).
In evaluating whether a workplace is hosfile or abusive, the court must
look at all the circumstances, including: the frequency of the
discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically
threatening or humiliating, or merely an offensive utterance; and whether
it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance.
Harris, 510 U.S. at 23. In the context of sexual harassment,
the Seventh Circuit has noted that "[i]t is not a bright line, obviously,
this line between a merely unpleasant working environment on the one hand
and a hosfile or deeply repugnant one on the other. . . ."
Robinson, 351 F.3d at 329-330 (quoting Baskerville v.
Culligan Int'l Co., 50 F.3d 428, 430-431 (7th Cir. 1995)). Moreover,
according to the Supreme Court, "[s]imple teasing, offhand comments, and
isolated instances (unless extremely serious) will not amount to
discriminatory changes in the terms and conditions of employment."
Faragher v. City of Boca Raton, 524 U.S. 775, 788 (1998).
With these standards in mind, it seems clear that no reasonable jury
could conclude that Newman's, Martin's, and Kinsey's comments created an
objectively hosfile work environment. The statements, although offensive,
were neither physically threatening nor humiliating; nor is there
evidence that the comments affected plaintiffs ability to do his job.
condoning the cultural insensitivity displayed by the alleged
remarks, the court notes that the nature of the comments was not
sufficiently severe to invoke Title VII protection. At most, plaintiffs
uncorroborated evidence would show that he was subjected to offhand,
offensive remarks by Newman (and to a lesser extent by Kinsey and Martin)
over a period of time not exceeding three months.*fn4
Although the statements made by Newman, Kinsey, and Martin were
arguably unpleasant, they do not rise to the level of actionable
harassment. As the Seventh Circuit has noted, "The workplace that is
actionable is the one that is `hellish.'" Logan v. Kautex Textron
North America, 259 F.3d 635, 641 (7th Cir. 2001) (quoting Perry
v. Harris Chernin, Inc., 126 F.3d 1010, 1013 (7th Cir. 1997)).
Defendant Village's motion for summary judgment on Count I is therefore
2. Counts II and III: Intentional Discrimination under
Title VII and Section 1981
Curiously, the Village's motion does not mention the standards
applicable to plaintiffs claim of wrongful termination on the basis of
his national origin. According to the Seventh Circuit, a plaintiff
bringing a claim under Title VII can prove discrimination using either
the "direct" method or the indirect, burden-shifting method outlined by
the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green,
411 U.S. 792 (1973). Cerutti v. BASF Corp.,
349 F.3d 1055, 1060-1061 (7th Cir. 2003). The same standards apply to claims
brought under Section 1981. Gonzalez v. Ingersoll Mill. Mach.
Co., 133 F.3d 1025, 1035 (7th Cir. 1998).
Under the direct method of proof, a plaintiff may show, by way of
direct or circumstantial evidence, that his employer's decision to take
an adverse job action against him was motivated by an impermissible
purpose, such as race, national origin, or age. Id. at 1061.
Direct evidence is "evidence which if believed by the trier of fact, will
prove the particular fact in question without reliance on inference or
presumption." Cowan v. Glenbrook Sec. Services, Inc.,
123 F.3d 438, 443 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Plair v. E.J. Brach & Sons,
Inc., 105 F.3d 343, 347 (7th Cir. 1997)). Put differently, "[d]irect
evidence essentially requires an admission by the decision-maker that his
actions were based upon the prohibited animus." Cerutti, 349
F.3d at 1061 (quoting Rogers v. City of Chicago, 320 F.3d 748,
753 (7th Cir. 2003)). "A plaintiff can also prevail under the direct
method of proof by constructing a `convincing mosaic' of circumstantial
evidence that `allows a jury to infer intentional discrimination by the
decisionmaker.'" Cerutti, 349 F.3d at 1061 (quoting
Rogers, 320 F.3d at 753).
To establish his prima facie case of discrimination under the indirect
method, plaintiff must show that: (1) he is a member of a protected
class; (2) he was meeting his employer's legitimate expectations; (3) he
suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) other similarly-situated
employees who were not members of the class were treated more favorably.
See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792,
93 S.Ct. 1817 0973): Wells v. Unisource Worldwide, Inc., 289 F.3d 1001,
1006 (7th Cir. 2002). Once plaintiff has established a prima
facie case of discrimination, the employer must then produce
evidence of a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse
employment action. Id. If the employer proffers such a
reason, the burden then shifts back to the plaintiff to demonstrate
that the employer's proffered reason is a pretext. Id.
Rather than proceeding under either or both of these methods, plaintiff
submits that Desert Palace. Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90 (2003),
abrogated the direct/indirect evidence distinction and overruled
McDonnell Douglas See also Dare v. Wal-Mart Stores. Inc.,
267 F. Supp.2d 987, 990 (D. Minn. 2003). Having reviewed Desert
Palace, and in the absence of binding authority to the contrary, the
court declines to adopt the Dare court's analysis and concludes
that McDonnell Douglas remains a viable framework for
evaluating summary judgment motions. The holding of Desert Palace, that a
plaintiff need not present direct evidence of discrimination to obtain a
mixed-motive instruction under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m), does not run counter
to the McDonnell Douglas framework or this circuit's
interpretation of it.
With this in mind, the court concludes that plaintiff has not met his
burden under either the direct method or the McDonnell Douglas
framework. There is no evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that the
alleged comments regarding plaintiff being a "dumb Polack" were directly
related to plaintiffs ultimate termination. Stray workplace comments
unrelated to an alleged discriminatory employment decision are not
sufficient to support an inference of discrimination. Schreiner v.
Caterpillar. Inc., 250 F.3d 1096, 1099 (7th Cir. 2001). Although the
statements at issue were arguably made around the time of plaintiff s
termination, they were not made in reference to the decision to
terminate. See Gorence v. Eagle Food Centers, Inc., 242 F.3d 759,
962 (7th Cir. 2001) (explaining that remarks made around the time of
adverse employment decision, and made in reference to that decision, may
not be "stray" remarks at all).
Plaintiff claims that Sergeant Newman made most of the offensive
remarks at issue, and that his report played into Chief Kath's decision
to fire plaintiff. These facts notwithstanding, there is simply no
evidence that Newman's reports, which were signed by plaintiff, were
inaccurate or otherwise unworthy of credence. Moreover, Chief Kath's
decision to fire plaintiff was based not only on Sergeant Newman's
report, but also took into account multiple citizen complaints that had
been filed against plaintiff.
Plaintiffs assertion in his affidavit that Sergeant Newman continued to
harass him even after their thirteen day ride-along period had concluded
does not compel a different result. In his affidavit, plaintiff states:
On almost a daily basis [after completing my
training with Sergeant Newman], Sergeant Newman
would call me in from patrol to tell me personally
that the written evaluations he made of me during
my training were handed over to Deputy Chief
Ronald McClaskey and that I would be terminated
because I was a "stupid Polack."
This statement must be disregarded because it conflicts with plaintiffs
deposition, in which he testified that he did not recall other ethnic
slurs directed at him after completing his training with Sergeant Newman.
"Where deposition and affidavit are in conflict, the affidavit is to be
disregarded unless it is demonstrable that the statement in the
deposition was mistaken." Russell v. Acme-Evans Co.,
51 F.3d 64
, 67-68 (7th Cir. 1995). See also Adusumilli v. City of
Chicago, 164 F.3d 353
, 360 (7th Cir. 1998) (holding that deposition
testimony that plaintiff could not recall any incidents of harassment and
subsequent affidavit claiming daily harassment were in conflict).
Nor is there credible evidence that Sergeant Newman was appointed to
supplement plaintiffs training as the result of a conspiracy among other
officers to ensure plaintiffs
termination. The only evidence offered by plaintiff on this point
is his affidavit in which he claims that "it was made clear that the
purpose of Sergeant Newman's assignment to ride-along with me was to
either get me to resign or to document a reason justifying my
termination." These conclusory allegations, without more, are
insufficient to create an inference of discrimination in the instant
case. See Hall v. Bodine Elec. Co., 276 F.3d 345, 354 (7th Cir.
2002) ("It is well settled that conclusory allegations and self-serving
affidavits, without support in the record, do not create a triable issue
Plaintiff also emphasizes repeatedly that Sergeant Newman was not a
field training officer, presumably to buttress his argument that Sergeant
Newman was selected solely to ensure plaintiffs termination. This
argument is unavailing, however, in light of Chief Kath's unrefuted
statement in his affidavit that there is no general order or requirement
that further training beyond the fourteen week field training program
must be conducted by a field training officer, and Commander Kinsey's
deposition testimony to that effect. That Commander Kinsey may have
voiced his concerns regarding plaintiffs performance to Sergeant Newman
does not dictate a different result; this fact alone is insufficient to
raise an inference that Kinsey and Newman somehow conspired to have
plaintiff terminated on the basis of his national origin. The court thus
concludes that plaintiff has failed to prove a case under the direct
method of proof described herein.
Nor does plaintiff fare better under the indirect method. Aside from
uncorroborated statements by plaintiff, plaintiff has not produced any
evidence testimonial, statistical or otherwise that
similarly situated employees who were not of Polish descent were treated
more favorably than he. Indeed, the record establishes that there are a
number of officers on the
Village police force of Polish ancestry, including Galinski (who is
Polish and German) and Rohde (who is three-quarters Polish).
Consequently, plaintiff fails to meet the fourth element of his prima
Even assuming arguendo that plaintiff did establish a
prima facie case, he still would not prevail in the instant
dispute. His employer has articulated a legitimate, non-discriminatory
reason for his discharge: that he was the subject of numerous citizen
complaints and otherwise was not meeting their expectations.
Notwithstanding his representations to the contrary, plaintiff has not
produced evidence refuting Martin and Galinski's conclusions regarding
their investigation of the Olson complaint (specifically, that plaintiffs
confusion between two charges led him to mistakenly handcuff and take
custody of a man who was ultimately charged with a relatively minor
traffic offense). Nor does plaintiff dispute that another citizen,
Piquette, filed a complaint against him. In fact, the evidence suggests
that the ultimate decisionmaker, Chief Kath, was not aware of the
allegations of discrimination until after making his recommendation to
terminate plaintiff, and there is no evidence that Chief Kath himself
harbored any animus toward plaintiff on the basis of his national origin.
Put simply, plaintiff has not produced evidence that his employer's
stated reason for terminating him was pretext, and no reasonable jury
could conclude otherwise.
Because plaintiff has failed to prove a case of intentional
discrimination under either the direct or indirect method of proof, the
court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to
Count II. Moreover, because the same standards governing liability under
VII apply to Section 1981, Gonzalez v. Ingersoll Mill, Mach.
Co., 133 F.3d 1025, 1035 (7th Cir. 1998), defendants' motion for
summary judgment is granted with respect to Count III, as well.
3. Count IV: Labor Management Relations Act
29 U.S.C. § 152(2) provides that the term "employer," as used in
the LMRA, shall not include "any State or political subdivision thereof."
The general test for determining whether an employer is an exempt
political subdivision is whether or not it was, (1) created directly by
the state, so as to constitute departments or administrative arms of the
government, or (2) administered by individuals who are responsible to
public officials or to the general electorate. N.L.R.B. v. Parents
and Friends of the Specialized Living Center, 879 F.2d 1442, 1448
(7th Cir. 1989) (quoting NLRB v. Natural Gas Util. Dist. of Hawkins
County, 402 U.S. 600, 604-05 (1971)).
Defendants assert that the Village and the Board of Commissioners
qualify as political subdivisions of the State of Illinois and thus are
exempt under the LMRA. Plaintiff has failed to respond to this argument,
which appears to be meritorious. The court therefore dismisses Count IV
4. Count V: Intentional Interference with Employment
In his response to defendants' motion for summary judgment, plaintiff
does not defend, much less mention, Count V of his first amended
complaint. In that count, plaintiff seeks damages from Kath, Kinsey,
Martin and McClaskey in connection with their authorization of plaintiffs
termination, which he characterizes as intentional interference with his
employment relationship with the Village.
Defendants suggest that they should prevail on Count V because
plaintiff has not produced evidence that Kath spoke with anyone in the
Carol Stream Police Department. As explained below, that criticism is
more properly leveled against Counts VI and VII.
That does not save Count V, however. Other courts in this district have
noted that claims for intentional interference with an employment
relationship are typically inapplicable to the employer or agent who
actually terminates the employee. See. e.g., Mustafa v. Illinois
Dept. of Public Aid, 1997 WL 194980, at *5 (N.D.Ill. March 14,
1997). Similarly, in Fuller v. Chicago College of Osteopathic
Medicine, 719 F.2d 1326, 1333 (7th Cir. 1983), the Seventh Circuit
recognized a limited "corporate privilege" for corporate officers acting
on behalf of their corporations:
Corporate officers are not outsiders intermeddling
maliciously in the business affairs of the
corporation. They are privileged to act on behalf
of their corporations, using their business
judgment and discretion. . . . However, when the
action is detrimental to the corporation and
outside the scope of corporate authority, immunity
ceases to exist.
Supervisors and co-workers are also protected by
this corporate privilege.
See Naeemullah v. Citicorp. Services, Inc., 78 F. Supp.2d 783,
793 (N.D.Ill. 1999); Mustafa, 1997 WL 194980, at* 5.
There is no evidence that defendants in the instant case acted in a
manner that was detrimental to the Village Police Department, or
otherwise acted outside the scope of their corporate authority.
Accordingly, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment on
5. Counts VI and VII: Interference with Prospective
Business Advantage and Defamation
Plaintiff bases Counts VI and VII of the first amended complaint on the
allegation that Chief Kath discouraged the Village of Carol Stream from
hiring plaintiff. As defendants point out, however, plaintiff
acknowledged in his deposition that he had no actual knowledge of any
conversations between Chief Kath and the Village of Carol Stream, or any
other contacts between the Village of Carol Stream and any other official
of the Village. Plaintiff does not refute or otherwise respond to
defendants' argument, apparently conceding that no triable issue of fact
exists with respect to Counts VI and VII. The court thus grants
defendants' motion for summary judgment on these counts.
For the reasons stated herein, defendants' motion for summary judgment
is granted in its entirety.