The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Lori Carroll's, Martin
McGuire's, Maggie O'Hern's (collectively the "individual defendants"),
and Orland Township's (hereinafter "Township") motion for summary
judgment as to Plaintiff Patricia A. Weissmann's (hereinafter
"Weissmann") Complaint In Count I and Count II, Weissmann alleges
violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the individual defendants and
the Township. Additionally, before this court is individual defendants'
and Township's motion to strike the affidavit of Patricia Thompson.
For the reasons below, this court grants individual defendants and
motion for summary judgment on Count's I and II of Weissmann's
Complaint. In addition, the court strikes as moot the motion to strike
the affidavit of Patricia Thompson.
According to Weissmann's Complaint, she began her employment with the
Township in February 1999 as the part-time Deputy Clerk, and at one point
also served as the part-time Acting Executive Administrator for the
Township. The record reflects that in September of 2000, the position of
Township Executive Administrator became vacant. The Orland Township Board
(hereinafter "Board") asked Weissmann and two other individuals to help
perform some of the Executive Administrator duties while the position was
vacant. From approximately September 2000 through May 2001, Weissmann,
along with two other individuals, were paid stipends to perform these
extra duties while the position was vacant.
On April 3, 2001, an election was held for various positions on the
Township Board of Trustees. At that time, Weissmann was the Deputy Clerk
and was also still helping to perform the extra duties of the Township
Executive Administrator. In the April 2001 election, candidates from the
two political parties, the Coalition Party and the Independent Leadership
Party, ran for trustee positions on the Board. The individual defendants
were the Coalition Party's candidates. Weissmann supported the
Independent Leadership Party candidates. The outcome of the
election resulted in the three individual defendants being elected to
three trustee positions on the Township. As a result, the individual
defendants became a three to two voting majority of the Board.
On May 8, 2001, the Board held its first meeting following the
election. At the meeting, one of the individual defendants moved for the
Board to hire Ellen Friedel to the vacant position of Executive
Administrator and also to terminate Weissmann's temporary stipend and the
extra Executive Administrator duties that she was performing. The
individual defendants supported both motions affirmatively and each
motion passed by a three to two majority vote.
Later at the same meeting, the Board considered abolishing the Deputy
Clerk position from the Township. However, the measure did not come to a
vote at that meeting. At a following Board meeting on May 15, 2001, one
of the individual defendants moved to adopt an ordinance abolishing the
office of Deputy Clerk. Thereafter, a vote was taken and the office of
Deputy Clerk was eliminated by a vote of three to two.
This case was originally before the Honorable Ronald A. Guzman of the
Northern District of Illinois. In a February 27, 2003 Memorandum Opinion
and Order, Judge Guzman, addressing the individual defendants' and the
Township's motion to
dismiss Weissmann's Complaint, granted the individual defendants'
motion to dismiss Count I with regard to the abolishment of the Deputy
Clerk position; denied the individual defendants' motion to dismiss Count
I with regard to the termination of Weissmann from her part-time position
as Executive Administrator; and denied in its entirety the Township's
motion to dismiss Count II.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In seeking a grant
of summary judgment the moving party must identify "those portions of
`the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions
on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific
evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence
to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the
movant has met this burden, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on
the allegations in the pleadings, but, "by affidavits or as otherwise
provided for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). A "genuine
issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a
"metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).
Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th
Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a light
most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable
inferences that favor the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th
COUNT I: § 1983 Individual Defendants Claim
With respect to Count I, Weissmann argues that the individual
defendants deprived her rights to freedom of speech, freedom of assembly,
freedom of association, due process, and equal protection under the First
and Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in violation of §
1983. Section 1983 makes it unlawful for any person "under color of any
statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . [to]
subject, or cause to be subjected, any citizen of the United ...