The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES NORGLE, District Judge
Before the court is Defendants Dunkin' Donuts, Inc. and Allied
Domecq's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the following reasons,
Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.
Plaintiff Walik Elkhatib ("Elkhatib"), a Palestinian-Arab, came
to this country in 1971. He is now an American citizen. In 1979,
he purchased his first Dunkin' Donuts franchise in Bellwood,
Illinois. Elkhatib became a Dunkin' Donuts franchisee partly
because, he claims, his Arab race forbids him from handling pork,
and in 1979, Defendants' stores did not carry pork products. In
1984, Defendants began offering breakfast sandwiches with bacon,
ham, or sausage at its franchises. Elkhatib refused to sell these items at his
store, and Defendants' District Manager Jeff Zevoral ("Zevoral")
raised no objections. In 1995, Elkhatib opened his second
franchise in Berkeley, Illinois, and once again refused to sell
pork products. Defendants did not object. A year later, Elkhatib
began selling breakfast sandwiches without meat at his Bellwood
and Berkeley locations. Zevoral provided Elkhatib with a sign
that said "No Meat Products Available." In 1998, Elkhatib opened
his third franchise in Westchester, Illinois.*fn2 Then, in
2002, Elkhatib was approached by Gene Liguoritis ("Liguoritis"),
Development Manager for Dunkin' Donuts. Liguoritis suggested that
Elkhatib relocate the Westchester store from 1901 South Mannheim
Road to a location at the intersection of Mannheim and Roosevelt
Roads, in Westchester.
However, in May, 2002, Liguoritis informed Elkhatib that
Defendants would not agree to the proposed relocation of the
franchise. Dunkin' Donuts supervisors Greg Novak ("Novak") and
Chuck Cowgill ("Cowgill") then held a meeting with Elkhatib at
the Westchester store. At that meeting, Elkhatib informed Novak
and Cowgill that he could not sell meat breakfast sandwiches
because he was forbidden to handle pork. Then, on August 14,
2002, Elkhatib received a letter from Kathryn Thomas ("Thomas"),
Legal Counsel for DOMEQ, which stated that Elkhatib was no longer
eligible for relocation, or renewal of his current franchise
agreements, because of his failure to carry Dunkin' Donuts' full
breakfast sandwich product line. Compl., Ex. 3. B. Procedural Framework
On November 8, 2002, Elkhatib filed a complaint against
Defendants Dunkin' Donuts and Allied Domecq alleging civil rights
violations. In response, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on January
13, 2003. That Motion was denied on March 27, 2003. Then, on July
1, 2004, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment.
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is now fully briefed and
before the court.
A. Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is permissible when "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). The
nonmoving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
identify specific facts, see Cornfield v. Consolidated High
Sch. Dist. No. 230, 991 F.2d 1316, 1320 (7th Cir. 1993), that
raise more than a mere scintilla of evidence to show a genuine
triable issue of material fact. See Murphy v. ITT Technical
Services, Inc., 176 F.3d 934, 936 (7th Cir. 1999).
In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court can only
consider evidence that would be admissible at trial under the
Federal Rules of Evidence. See Bombard v. Fort Wayne
Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562 (7th Cir. 1996). The court
views the record and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See
Fed.R.Civ. P. 56(c); see also Perdomo v. Browner, 67 F.3d 140,
144 (7th Cir. 1995). "In the light most favorable" simply means
that summary judgment is not appropriate if the court must make
"a choice of inferences." See United States v. Diebold, Inc.,
369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); see also First Nat'l Bank of Ariz.
v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 280 (1968); Wolf v. Buss (America) Inc., 77 F.3d 914, 922 (7th Cir. 1996). The choice
between reasonable inferences from facts is a jury function.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
When the defendant moves for summary judgment, the court must
view the record and all inferences in a light most favorable to
the plaintiff. Ameritech Benefit Plan Comm. v. Communication
Workers of Am., 220 F.3d 814, 821 (7th Cir. 2000). However, the
inferences construed in the plaintiff's favor must be drawn from
specific facts identified in the record that support the
plaintiff's position. Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp.,
24 F.3d 918, 922-23 (7th Cir. 1994). Under this standard, "[c]onclusory
allegations alone cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment."
Thomas v. Christ Hospital and Medical Center, 328 F.3d, 890,
892-93 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife
Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89 (1990)).
B. Elkhatib's Claim under 42 U.S.C. §§ ...