United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 10, 2004.
BOOKER MOORE, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On August 9, 1999, Booker Moore filed this lawsuit against the
City of Chicago ("the City"), alleging discrimination and
retaliation in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e. Moore
later amended his Complaint to include a claim for discrimination
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. From 1964 until his retirement in October
1999, Moore was employed as a Chicago police officer. In his
Complaint, Moore alleges that the City discriminated against him
by transferring him from Area One, Property Crimes to the Third
District, Patrol Division and retaliated against him by giving
him lower performance reviews, putting him on "bogus"
assignments, and subjecting him to unwarranted discipline.
The City now moves for summary judgment. Summary judgment is
proper when there is no genuine issue of material fact and the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986). In determining
whether any genuine issue of material fact exists, I must
construe all facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party and draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences in its
favor. Anderson v. Liberty 4 Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A genuine issue of
fact exists only when, based on the record as a whole, a
reasonable jury could find for the non-movant. Pipitone v.
United States, 180 F.3d 859, 861 (7th Cir. 1999).
I. Moore's § 1981 Claim
The City argues that Moore's § 1981 claim is time-barred. The
applicable statute of limitations for a § 1981 claim corresponds
to the state period for personal injury-style tort claims,
Goodman v. Lukens Steel Co., 482 U.S. 656 (1987), which in
Illinois is two years from the date of the alleged discriminatory
conduct. Vakharia v. Swedish Covenant Hosp., 190 F.3d 799, 807
(7th Cir. 1999). In this case, Moore's alleged discriminatory
transfer occurred on October 15, 1992 but Moore did not file his
§ 1981 claim until May 26, 2000, nearly eight years later. Since
Moore's filing was made well outside the statutory period, I find
that it is time-barred.
II. Moore's Title VII Claim of Discrimination
Moore bases his Title VII discrimination claim on his October
15, 1992 transfer. Since Moore has not presented any direct
evidence of discrimination, he must rely on the indirect method
of proof. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973). Under the indirect method, Moore must establish a prima
facie case for discrimination. Id. To establish a prima
facie case for discrimination, the plaintiff must show that he
is a member of a protected class, he was performing his job
satisfactorily, he suffered an adverse employment action, and
similarly situated employees who were not members of the
protected class were treated more favorably. Hughes v. Brown,
20 F.3d 745, 746 (7th Cir. 1994).
The City argues that Moore cannot establish his prima facie
case because the complained of transfer was not an adverse
employment action. Not everything that makes an employee unhappy is an actionable adverse action. Smart v. Ball State
Univ., 89 F.3d 437, 441 (7th Cir. 1996). Only tangible
employment actions that cause a significant change in employment
status constitute actionable adverse actions. Burlington Indus.
v. Ellerth, 524 U.S. 742, 753 (1998). Examples of actionable
adverse actions include hiring, firing, failing to promote,
reassigning with significantly different responsibilities, or a
decision causing a significant change in benefits. Id. "A
purely lateral transfer, without more," is not an adverse
employment action. Williams v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, Co.,
85 F.3d 270, 274 (7th Cir. 1996). A reassignment can, however,
constitute an adverse employment action if the new position has
fewer opportunities for job promotions, Grayson v. City of
Chi., 317 F.3d 745, 750 (7th Cir. 2003), or if the
reassignment has a less distinguished title. Hildebrandt v. Ill.
Dep't of Natural Res., 347 F.3d 1014, 1034 n. 13 (7th Cir.
Moore claims that his transfer constituted a materially adverse
employment action because it was "a stigmatizing event." (Moore
Resp. P. 4). In Moore's opinion, sergeants in the detective
division were more highly thought of than those in the patrol
division and were more likely to receive promotions.*fn1
While Moore states his opinions about the lower level of prestige
and fewer opportunities for promotion, he does not present any
facts, either in his affidavit or in the record as a whole, that
substantiate those opinions. Such "conclusory allegations,
unsupported by specific facts" are insufficient to create a
genuine issue of material fact. Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767,
773 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n,
497 U.S. 871, 888, (1990)). Since Moore has not established that he suffered an
adverse employment action, I find that summary judgment on his
discrimination claim is appropriate.*fn2
III. Moore's Title VII Claims of Retaliation
Moore claims that, after he filed his Title VII claim with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), the City
retaliated against him by giving him lower performance ratings,
subjecting him to unwarranted discipline, and giving him "bogus"
assignments. Here again, Moore has no direct of evidence of
retaliation and must rely on the indirect method of proof. To put
forth a prima facie case of retaliation, Moore must show, among
other things, that he was treated differently than a similarly
situated employee who had not complained to the EEOC. Little v.
Ill. Dep't of Revenue, 2004 U.S. App. LEXIS 10439 at *10
(7th Cir. 2004). The City argues that Moore cannot identify
any such officer. Indeed, Moore has not alleged any facts or
provided any evidence tending to show that another Third District
officer performed equivalently yet received higher performance
ratings, fewer reprimands, less disciplinary action, or was given
better assignments. Since Moore cannot establish that another
officer in the Third District received more favorable treatment,
I find that summary judgment is appropriate.*fn3 For the reasons stated herein, the City's Motion for Summary
Judgment is GRANTED.