United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
May 17, 2004.
UWAOMA FRED ONWUNMELU, Plaintiff, V. NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: ELAINE E. BUCKLO, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Uwaoma Fred Onwunmelu was first hired by defendant National
Railroad Passenger Corporation ("Amtrak") in January 1998 as a commissary
clerk. On June 21, 2001, Mr. Onwunmelu was promoted to Supervisor, Mail
and Express, and on July 22, 2002, he was terminated from that
position.*fn1 Mr. Onwunmelu claims that Amtrak discriminated against him
on the basis of his race and national origin, in violation of Title VII,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Count I), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count II).
Specifically, Mr. Onwunmelu, an African-American whose national origin is
Nigerian, claims that Amtrak terminated him from his position as
Supervisor because of his race and national origin. Amtrak moves for
summary judgment on both counts. I GRANT that motion. Summary judgment is appropriate where the record and affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Lexington Ins.
Co. v. Rugg & Knopp, 165 F.3d 1087, 1090 (7th Cir. 1999); Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). Normally, I must construe all facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party and draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences
in favor of that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
255 (1986). However, in this case Mr. Onwunmelu has failed to comply with
Local Rule 56.1, which requires him to file
a concise response to the movant's statement that
(A) a response to each numbered paragraph in the
moving party's statement, including, in the case of
any disagreement, specific references to the
affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting
materials relied upon, and
(B) a statement, consisting of short numbered
paragraphs, of any additional facts that require the
denial of summary judgment, including references to
the affidavits, parts of the record, and other
supporting materials relied upon.
Local Rule 56.1(b). Mr. Onwunmelu does attempt to dispute three of the
statements in Amtrak's Rule 56.1(a) filing within his response to
Amtrak's motion for summary judgment. However, two of his responses do
not include any reference to the record, and the third response does not
actually dispute Amtrak's statement but instead attempts to supplement it
with additional information. All of the statements in Amtrak's Rule
56.1(a) filing are therefore deemed admitted. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) (B).
See, e.g., Brasic v. Heinemann's, Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 283-84 (7th Cir. 1997); Midwest Imps.,
Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1316-17 (7th Cir. 1995).
Mr. Onwunmelu claims that Amtrak discriminated against him on the basis
of his race and national origin by terminating his employment as a
supervisor. As Mr. Onwunmelu presents no direct evidence of
discrimination, he must proceed under the McDonnell-Douglas
burden-shifting analysis. McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973). To establish a prima facie case under that analysis, Mr.
Onwunmelu must show that (1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he
was meeting Amtrak's legitimate business expectations; (3) he suffered an
adverse employment action; and (4) Amtrak treated other
similarly-situated employees, not in the protected class, more
favorably. Ajayi v. Aramark Business Services, Inc., 336 F.3d 520, 531
(7th Cir. 2003).
Mr. Onwunmelu is able to establish the first and third prongs of this
analysis. Mr. Onwunmelu is African-American and has his national origin
in Nigeria. Further, the write-up and termination from his position of
supervisor qualifies as an adverse employment action. Amtrak argues,
however, that Mr. Onwunmelu can meet neither the second nor the fourth
prongs of the analysis. I agree.
Mr. Onwunmelu cannot show that he was meeting Amtrak's legitimate
business expectations, Amtrak states that Mr. Onwunmelu did not follow
direct orders from Thomas Pape, his direct supervisor. Mr. Onwunmelu
argues that Amtrak's expectations, especially those involving checking railroad cars as they entered the
yard, were so unreasonable as to not be legitimate. So long as the
employer's expectations of its employee are bona fide that is, in good
faith and without fraud or deceit the court will not examine whether
the employer is asking "too much." Robin v. Espo Engineering Corp.,
200 F.3d 1081, 1090 (7th Cir. 2000). Mr. Onwunmelu makes no showing in
the record, other than his own conclusory statements, that Amtrak's
expectations of him were unreasonable, Mr. Onwunmelu's statements that he
was meeting those expectations are also insufficient to create an issue
of material fact. Rabinovitz v. Pena, 89 F.3d 482, 487 (7th Cir. 1996).
Even if Mr. Onwunmelu were able to establish that he was meeting
Amtrak's legitimate business expectations, he cannot meet the fourth
prong of the analysis. The only similar-situated employee identified by
Mr. Onwunmelu is Ed Carambot, a Hispanic male not of Nigerian national
origin. Mr. Carambot was the other Supervisor, Mail and Express, during
the time Mr. Onwunmelu was employer as a Supervisor. However, the record
is devoid of any indication that Mr. Carambot refused to follow Mr.
Pape's orders or otherwise did not meet Amtrak's legitimate business
expectations. Mr. Onwunmelu cannot meet the second or fourth prongs of
the analysis. Amtrak's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.