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KINNEY v. HAMILTON PARTNERS

March 25, 2004.

DARRYL W. KINNEY, Plaintiff,
v.
HAMILTON PARTNERS, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GEORGE LINDBERG, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

On June 9, 2003, Plaintiff Darryl W. Kinney filed his Complaint of Employment Discrimination against Defendant Hamilton Partners. Plaintiff's complaint states three claims*fn1 — (1) race discrimination in violation of Title VII, (2) retaliation in violation of Title VII, and (3) breach of Plaintiff's severance agreement in violation of state law — and asks the Court, inter alia, to grant Plaintiff appropriate injunctive relief, lost wages, liquidated/double damages, front pay, compensatory damages, punitive damages, prejudgment interest, post-judgment interest, and costs.

On January 30, 2004, Plaintiff filed an amended motion for summary judgment. Plaintiffs motion is hereby denied.

  Legal Standards — Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment will be granted only "when the `pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.'" Cerutti v. BASF Corp., 349 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir. 2003) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56). Page 2 In making this determination, the Court must "constru[e] all facts . . . and draw[] all reasonable inferences from those facts . . . in favor of the . . . non-moving part[y]. . . ." Id. (citation omitted).

  Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se in this civil action, he "benefit[s] from various procedural protections not otherwise afforded to the attorney-represented litigant . . ."*fn2 Downs v. Westphal, 78 F.3d 1252, 1257 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). However, Plaintiff must still adhere to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this District's local rules.*fn3 Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998) ("rules apply to uncounseled litigants and must be enforced"). This includes compliance with rules governing summary judgment motions.*fn4 Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 923-24 (7th Cir. 1994) (district court may strictly enforce Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1).

  Analysis

  Plaintiff's brief contains very little legal argument. Additionally, Plaintiff's "Statement of Facts" fails to comply with either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 or Northern Page 3 District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1, and, in any event, does not establish that Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on any of his three stated claims. Therefore, the Court must deny Plaintiff's motion. See Cerutti, 349 F.3d at 1060.

  I. Title VII — Race Discrimination

  Plaintiff may establish his "claim of race discrimination . . . in one of two ways — under the direct method or the indirect burden-shifting method. . . ." Haywood v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 323 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2003) (citations omitted). The direct method permits Plaintiff to "show either through direct or circumstantial evidence that the employer's decision to take the adverse job action was motivated by an impermissible purpose, such as h[is] race or national origin." Id. (citations omitted). On the other hand, the indirect method requires Plaintiff to establish "that: (1) []he was a member of a protected class; (2) []he was meeting h[is] employer's legitimate job expectations; (3) []he suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) similarly situated employees not in the protected class were treated more favorably." Id. at 530 (citations omitted); Peters v. Renaissance Hotel Operating Co., 307 F.3d 535, 545 (7th Cir. 2002) (same). If Plaintiff successfully establishes these four elements, the burden of production would shift to Defendant "to articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for its action." Peters, 307 F.3d at 545 (citations omitted); Curry v. Menard, Inc., 270 F.3d 473, 477 (7th Cir. 2001) (same). Assuming Defendant satisfies its burden, the burden would then shift "back to [Plaintiff] to show that the reason set forth by [Defendant] was not its true reason, but a pretext — `a dishonest explanation, a lie rather than an oddity or an error.'" Peters, 307 F.3d at 545 (citation omitted); Curry, 270 F.3d at 477 (same).

  Plaintiffs statement of facts provides no direct or circumstantial evidence that Plaintiff suffered an adverse job action as a result of a racially-motivated decision. Therefore, Page 4 Plaintiff must rely on the indirect, burden-shifting method of proof to establish a prima facie case of race discrimination under Title VII. Plaintiff's effort falls short of that mark.

  Plaintiff's statement of facts includes no evidence to establish that (1) Plaintiff was meeting Defendant's legitimate job expectations*fn5 or (2) similarly situated employees who were not in his protected class were treated more favorably. In fact, Plaintiff altogether ignores the issue of Defendant's treatment of its other employees, whether similarly situated or not. These omissions negate the need for any further analysis. Even if all of Plaintiff's stated facts and evidence were admissible and uncontested, they would not establish a prima facie case of race discrimination under Title VII. Accordingly, summary judgment may not be granted. See Cerutti, 349 F.3d at 1060.

  II. Title VII — Retaliation

  Once again, Plaintiff has "two (and only two) distinct routes to obtaining . . . summary judgment." Stone v. City of Indianapolis Pub. Utils. Div., 281 F.3d 640, 644 (7th Cir. 2002). These two routes may be summarized as follows:
One, the more straightforward, . . . is to present direct evidence (evidence that establishes without resort to inferences from circumstantial evidence) that he engaged in protected activity (filing a charge of discrimination) and as a result suffered the adverse employment action of which he complains. . . . The second route . . . requires the plaintiff to show that after filing the charge only he, and not any similarly situated employee who did not file a charge, was subjected to an adverse employment action even though he was performing his job in a satisfactory manner.
Id. (citation omitted); see also Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., ...

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