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August 4, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge


After she was terminated from her job as the Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") Manager of Customer Relations, Sharon Richardson ("Richardson") sued CTA, alleging that it had discriminated against her on account of her race and sex in violation of both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ("Title VII," 42 U.S.C. § 2000e) and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"). CTA moved for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56, and both parties have complied with this District Court's LR 56.1.*fn1

Even with the record viewed in her favor as Rule 56 requires, Richardson has not come forward with enough facts for a reasonable jury to conclude that she ought to prevail on either ground of her Title VII claim or on her Section 1981 claim. Hence CTA's Rule 56 motion is granted, and this action is dismissed.

  Rule 56 Standards

  Every Rule 56 movant bears the burden of establishing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, (477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose courts consider the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to nonmovants and draw all reasonable inferences in their favor (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)). But to avoid summary judgment a nonmovant "must produce more than a scintilla of evidence to support his position" that a genuine issue of material fact exists (Pugh v. City of Attica, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001)) and "must set forth specific facts that demonstrate a genuine issue of triable fact" (id.). Ultimately summary judgment is warranted only if a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the nonmovant (Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). What follows is therefore a summary of the facts viewed in the light most favorable to nonmovant Richardson — but within the limitations created by the extent of her compliance (or noncompliance) with the strictures of LR 56.1. Facts

  Richardson was hired in October 1997 as CTA's Manager of Customer Relations (C. St. ¶ 13). Her chief responsibility was to manage the day-to-day operations of CTA's call center, including supervising its staff (R. St. ¶ 2; R. Ex. A).

  In May 2000 Richardson took over as Acting General Manager of Customer Relations (R. St. ¶ 13), reporting directly to CTA's Vice President of Transit Operations Richard Winston ("Winston") (C. St. ¶ 15). Richardson held that job for a little over a year until CTA hired Tamara McCollum ("McCollum") in August 2001 as the permanent General Manager (C. St. ¶ 18). At that point Richardson returned to her previous post as Manager of Customer Relations (C. St. ¶ 20).

  As McCollum began her tenure with CTA, Richardson helped to transition her new supervisor into the position she herself had been filling (R. St. ¶ 45). But despite their initially cordial interaction, over the course of the next several months McCollum and Richardson developed a volatile working relationship that vacillated from harmony to acrimony.

  For example, Richardson openly told McCollum that she believed McCollum was micromanaging the department and that her management style was ineffective (C. St. ¶¶ 68-70). But at other times Richardson also said that she appreciated McCollum's openness and honesty and that she enjoyed working with McCollum because of her love for customer service (C. St. ¶ 75).

  McCollum was more consistent in the messages she sent to Richardson. Indeed Richardson herself thought that she could never please McCollum (C. St. ¶ 66; R. Dep. 118):
I didn't receive anything from her but negativity. Everything was always negative. Something was always wrong. Something didn't get done to her expectations.
In one instance McCollum told Richardson she was concerned that Richardson managed more by emotion than by reasoned judgment (C. St. ¶ 51). On another occasion she informed Richardson that she was not meeting the deadlines that were required of her (C. St. ¶ 49). Yet when McCollum was out of the office she entrusted Richardson with handling any matters that might crop up in her absence (R. St. ¶¶ 50-51).
  Beginning in 1999 CTA implemented a new model for employee evaluations (R. St. ¶ 4). That system used a five-point scale to assess each employee's performance annually (R. Ex. C):
5=Outstanding Individual is a truly exceptional performance [sic], substantially exceeding requirements in all major responsibilities and/goals.
4=Exceeds Expectations Individual consistently meets performance standards and exceeds requirements in many aspects of the job.
3=Meets Expectations Individual has performed a complete and fully satisfactory job and has met major responsibilities and/or goals in a competent manner.
2=Needs Improvement Individual meets minimal performance standards, but has room for improvements. Also applies to new employees who may need additional training or experience.
1=Unsatisfactory Individual exhibits unsatisfactory performance. Substantial improvement is required to continue in position.
  Richardson received three evaluations under the new system. Executive Vice President Jack Hartman ("Hartman") rated her work as 2.5 for 1999, and Winston assessed her work as 2.3 for 2000 (C. St. ¶¶ 31, 35). Richardson's final performance evaluation was completed by McCollum, who rated Richardson's work as 1.72 for the period from August to December 2001 (R. Resp. ¶ 93; R. Ex. F; C.R. Mem. 2 n. 2)

  On March 8, 2002 — based on a recommendation from McCollum — Richardson was suspended from active duty and was immediately escorted off the premises (C. St. ¶ 100; C. Resp. ¶ 75). When Richardson returned the following week she received a "Notice of Discharge" (signed by Winston) that cited several reasons for that termination decision: Richardson's failure to obey rules; her abuse of company time and poor work performance; and her general failure to use her best judgment when handling situations that had arisen throughout the course of her employment (C. St. ¶¶ 12, 124).

  After she was thus fired, Richardson filed a charge with EEOC, claiming that her suspension and termination constituted race-based and sex-based discrimination. After EEOC then issued a right to ...

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