Plaintiff William Chen is a former employee of defendant Quark
Biotech, Inc. Plaintiff claims that his written employment
contract, which contained a three-year term, was breached when he
was discharged approximately eight months after the commencement
date of the contract. Defendant contends that, consistent with
provisions of the contract, plaintiff was properly discharged for
cause or other adequate reason. Since the parties present no
choice of law arguments and rely on Illinois law, it is assumed
that Illinois contract law applies to plaintiff's contract claim.
See Wood v. Mid-Valley, Inc., 942 F.2d 425
, 426-27 (7th Cir.
1991); Guaranty Residential Lending, Inc. v. International
Mortgage Center, Inc., 305 F. Supp.2d 846, 851 n. 4 (N.D. Ill.
2004). Plaintiff also brings a claim under the Illinois Wage
Payment and Collection Act ("IWPCA"), 820 ILCS 115. Presently
pending are cross motions for summary judgment. On a motion for summary judgment, the entire record is
considered with all reasonable inferences drawn in favor of the
nonmovant and all factual disputes resolved in favor of the
nonmovant. Turner v. J.V.D.B. & Associates, Inc., 330 F.3d 991
994-95 (7th Cir. 2003); Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588
592 (7th Cir. 2003); Abrams v. Walker, 307 F.3d 650
(7th Cir. 2002). The burden of establishing a lack of any genuine
issue of material fact rests on the movant. Outlaw v. Newkirk,
259 F.3d 833
, 837 (7th Cir. 2001); Wollin v. Gondert,
192 F.3d 616
, 621-22 (7th Cir. 1999). The nonmovant, however, must make a
showing sufficient to establish any essential element for which
he or it will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
, 322 (1986); Binz v. Brandt
Construction Co., 301 F.3d 529
, 532 (7th Cir. 2002); Traylor v.
Brown, 295 F.3d 783
, 790 (7th Cir. 2002). The movant need not
provide affidavits or deposition testimony showing the
nonexistence of such essential elements. Celotex, 477 U.S. at
324. Also, it is not sufficient to show evidence of purportedly
disputed facts if those facts are not plausible in light of the
entire record. See NLFC, Inc. v. Devcom Mid-America, Inc.,
45 F.3d 231
, 236 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 515 U.S. 1104 (1995);
Covalt v. Carey Canada, Inc., 950 F.2d 481
, 485 (7th Cir.
1991); Collins v. Associated Pathologists, Ltd., 844 F.2d 473
476-77 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 852
(1988). As the
Seventh Circuit has summarized:
The party moving for summary judgment carries the
initial burden of production to 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." Logan v. Commercial
Union Ins. Co., 96 F.3d 971, 978 (7th Cir. 1996)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)
(citation and internal quotation omitted)). The
moving party may discharge this burden by "`showing'
that is, pointing out to the district court that
there is an absence of evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325,
106 S.Ct. 2548. Once the moving party satisfies this
burden, the nonmovant must "set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). "The nonmovant must do more,
however, than demonstrate some factual disagreement
between the parties; the issue must be `material.'"
Logan, 96 F.3d at 978. "Irrelevant or unnecessary
facts do not preclude summary judgment even when they
are in dispute." Id. (citation omitted). In
determining whether the nonmovant has identified a
"material" issue of fact for trial, we are guided by
the applicable substantive law; "[o]nly disputes that
could affect the outcome of the suit under governing
law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment." McGinn v. Burlington Northern R.R. Co.,
102 F.3d 295, 298 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).
Furthermore, a factual dispute is "genuine" for
summary judgment purposes only when there is
"sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for
a jury to return a verdict for that party." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 So.
Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Hence, a
"metaphysical doubt" regarding the existence of a
genuine fact issue is not enough to stave off summary
judgment, and "the nonmovant fails to demonstrate a
genuine issue for trial `where the record taken as a
whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find
for the non-moving party. . . .'" Logan, 96 F.3d at
978 (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587,
106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)).
Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed and
taken as true for both sides' motions. Defendant is a
pharmaceutical company in the business of developing new drugs
for the treatment of human diseases. Plaintiff is a research
scientist in molecular biology and had experience operating
"knockout mice" laboratories. Plaintiff was hired to be in charge
of defendant's knockout mice activities, which is a process of
studying human genes by identifying comparable mice genes,
removing selected genes, and investigating the results thereof.
There are three phases to such activity. Phase one consists
primarily of gene cloning and the creation of knockout or
targeting vectors. The second phase involves work with embryonic
stem cells, including the introduction of targeting vectors into
embryonic stem cells and the isolation of embryonic stem cell
clones in which one part of a specific gene is knocked out or
targeted. The final phase is the introduction of embryonic stem
cells into a mouse embryo. The knockout mice laboratory that
plaintiff helped set up was located in Israel.