United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
December 8, 2004.
INDIRA ADUSUMILLI, Plaintiff,
PALLIATIVE CARE CENTER AND HOSPICE OF THE NORTH SHORE, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOAN H. LEFKOW, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, Indira Adusumilli ("Adusumilli") brings this pro
se action alleging that her former employer, Palliatative Care
Center and Hospice of the North Shore ("Hospice"), discriminated
against her on the basis of race, national origin, and sex in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title
VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-1 et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and
on the basis of her age in violation of the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et
seq. Adusumilli further alleges that she was discharged in
retaliation for pursuing an internal grievance. The court's
jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and
28 U.S.C. § 1332. Before the court are Hospice's motion for summary
judgment and motion for sanctions. For the reasons stated below,
the court grants both motions.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS
Summary judgment obviates the need for a trial where 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).
To determine whether any genuine fact exists, the court must
pierce the pleadings and assess the proof as presented in
depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and
affidavits that are part of the record. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c)
Advisory Committee's notes. The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of proving there is no genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). In response,
the nonmoving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone but must
use the evidentiary tools listed above to designate specific
material facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Id. at 324; Insolia v. Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596,
598 (7th Cir. 2000). A material fact must be outcome
determinative under the governing law. Insolia,
216 F.3d at 598-99. Although a bare contention that an issue of fact exists
is insufficient to create a factual dispute, Bellaver v.
Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th Cir. 2000), the court must
construe all facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party as well as view all reasonable inferences in that party's
favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255,
91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).
FACTS STATED IN A LIGHT MOST FAVORABLE TO PLAINTIFF
Adusumilli worked as an administrative assistant for Hospice
from March 5, 2003 until her termination on August 8, 2003. Her
duties during this period included assessing foundations and
charitable organizations for grants, updating information for
Hospice's Tree of Life participants, answering donation calls,
and providing administrative support for Hospice's fundraising
event held in July 2003.
According to Adusumilli, she was subjected to harassment and a
hostile work environment because three of her co-workers, Chuck
Allworth ("Allworth"), Rebecca Petrek ("Petrek"), and a
maintenance worker, inappropriately ogled various parts of her
body, including her legs, knees, groin, and breasts, on fewer
than ten occasions. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 25). Two female coworkers
looked at her shoes in a "dirty" manner. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 27).
On another occasion, Adusumilli's office manager
"inappropriately" served her a piece of pizza. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶
32). Similarly, Heidi Schelling ("Schelling"), Hospice's Vice President of
Business Development, "inappropriately" served Adusumilli a piece
of cake. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 32). Adusumilli also faced "slights"
in the workplace: Hospice's CEO did not greet her properly on one
occasion, Schelling corrected her pronunciation on one occasion,
and her supervisors claimed that they were unable to understand
Adusumilli's spoken English on two occasions. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶¶
37, 39, 41). In addition, Schelling asked Allworth to "go get
some wine" at a party held outside of work. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶
In July of 2003, Hospice held a fundraising event at Ravinia
for which Adusumilli provided administrative support.
Adusumilli's responsibilities for this event included sending
confirmation letters to donors who had ordered tickets to the
event. Although Adusumilli had been instructed to use the
husband's name when sending letters to married couples, several
donors complained that their confirmation letters were addressed
to the wife's name rather than the husband's name (e.g., Mr.
and Mrs. Jane Doe). Several donors also voiced complaints to
Petrek about Adusumilli's telephone skills. In addition,
Adusumilli assisted in preparing name tags for the event. When
preparing a name tag for one of Hospice's major donors and his
guest, Adusumilli created a name tag for the donor's deceased
wife. She incorrectly presumed that the donor would be
accompanied by his wife because she did not have the name of the
donor's guest. The donor informed Hospice management that the
name tag error ruined his evening.*fn1 On August 8, 2003, Allworth, Hospice's Director of Development,
and Schelling terminated Adusumilli. Allworth informed Adusumilli
that she operated on "a higher wavelength" than Hospice's other
employees and was unable to "get connected" to her coworkers.
(Pl. Resp. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 13). That same day, Adusumilli filed a
charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human
Rights in which she alleged that she was subjected to sexual
harassment and discriminated against because of her race,
national origin, sex, and age. Adusumilli concedes that she made
errors in her work and that on more than one occasion she accused
others of using her password to change her work. (Def. L.R. 56.1
¶ 15; Pl. Resp. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 15). She further admits that she
never complained of sexual harassment at any time during her
employment with Hospice.
Following her termination, Adusumilli claims that Petrek
refused to provide an employment reference for her in retaliation
for filing the charge of discrimination. It is the policy of
Hospice to provide employee references from its Human Resources
Department consisting only of the employee's job title and dates
of employment.*fn2 Adusumilli never received a copy of this
policy during her employment with Hospice. Petrek received two
reference inquiries for Adusumilli and referred both inquiries to
the Human Resources Department. The Human Resources Department
provided references for Adusumilli on both occasions in
accordance with its employee reference policy. Adusumilli
concedes that she has no personal knowledge that any potential
employer was denied an employment reference. (Pl. Resp. L.R. 56.1
¶¶ 48-49). DISCUSSION
Hospice moves for summary judgment on the merits of
Adusumilli's claims and on the grounds that Adusumilli's response
to Hospice's Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Uncontested Facts fails
to comply with either the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or the
Local Rules of the Northern District. The court will first
examine the merits of Adusumilli's claims.
I. Hostile Work Environment
Hospice argues that it is entitled to summary judgment as to
Adusumilli's claim of hostile work environment sexual harassment
because Adusumilli's allegations fail to come even close to
constituting severe or pervasive behavior. The court agrees.
"[A] plaintiff may establish a violation of Title VII by
proving that discrimination based on sex has created a hostile or
abusive work environment." Meritor Sav. Bank, FSB v. Vinson,
477 U.S. 57, 67, 91 L. Ed. 2d 49, 106 S. Ct. 2399 (1986). In
order for Adusumilli to make out a prima facie case of a
hostile work environment, she must show that "(1) she was
subjected to unwelcome sexual harassment in the form of sexual
advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical
conduct of a sexual nature; (2) the harassment was based on [her]
sex; (3) the sexual harassment had the effect of unreasonably
interfering with [her] work performance in creating an
intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment that
affected seriously the psychological well-being of the employee;
and (4) there is a basis for employer liability." Hall v.
Bodine Elec. Co., 276 F.3d 345, 354-55 (7th Cir. 2002), quoting
Parkins v. Civil Constructors of Ill., Inc., 163 F.3d 1027,
1032 (7th Cir. 1998).
Although the conduct in question is judged by both an objective
and subjective standard, as the Seventh Circuit has made clear,
"isolated and innocuous incidents will not support a hostile environment claim." Doe v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons,
42 F.3d 439, 444 (7th Cir. 1994), citing Harris v. Forklift
Systems, Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21, 126 L. Ed. 295, 114 S. Ct. 367
(1993)). Under the subjective standard, the court gives "proper
weight to the employee's injury in fact, acknowledging the
different ways in which a plaintiff initially responds to or
copes with harassment." Daniels v. Essex Group, Inc.,
937 F.2d 1264, 1272 (7th Cir. 1991). Under the objective
standard, the court evaluates "the work environment and the
instances of harassment against a reasonableness standard,"
id., by considering "the frequency of the discriminatory
conduct, its severity, whether it is physically threatening or
humiliating, and whether it unreasonably interferes with the
worker's performance." R.R. Donnelly, 42 F.3d at 444.
In support of her claim of hostile work environment sexual
harassment, Adusumilli claims that three of her co-workers ogled
her legs, knees, groin, and breasts on fewer than ten occasions,
that she was "inappropriately" given a piece of pizza and a piece
of cake, and that co-workers looked at her shoes in a "dirty"
manner. Such conduct, as Adusumilli is well aware,*fn3 does
not create an objectively hostile or abusive work environment
because it is not sufficiently severe, pervasive, or humiliating
to affect the terms of a reasonable person's employment. See,
e.g., Adusumilli v. Discover Fin. Servs., Inc.,
62 Fed. Appx. 721 (7th Cir. 2003) ("Adusumilli has been told repeatedly and
unequivocally both by us and by the district court that . . .
`ogling,' staring, and accidental touching is not severe or
pervasive enough to be actionable under Title VII."), cert.
denied, 124 S. Ct. 1150, 157 L. Ed.2d 1046 (2004); Adusumilli
v. Ill. Inst. of Tech., 191 F.3d 455 (7th Cir. 1999) (affirming
dismissal of claim for sexual harassment by professors and
students; defendants' alleged ogling and touching plaintiff's hand, shoulder, back, leg, and
breast not enough to state a claim); Adusumilli v. City of
Chicago, 164 F.3d 353 (7th Cir. 1998) (affirming summary
judgment in favor of employer on complaint of sexual harassment;
defendants' alleged ogling and touching plaintiff's arm, fingers,
and buttocks not enough to state a claim), cert. denied,
528 U.S. 988, 120 S. Ct. 450, 145 L. Ed. 2d 367 (1999). The courts in
these decisions informed Adusumilli that "ogling" is not
actionable. Moreover, in these cases, the courts rejected
Adusumilli's claims even though Adusumilli alleged that, in
addition to the "ogling," she was touched in some manner by her
coworkers. Here, Adusumilli does not even allege that she was
touched, nor does she describe how she was "inappropriately"
offered pizza and cake other than that she did not like the
offerors' facial expressions. See Def. L.R. 56.1, Adusumilli
Dep. at PP. 96-99.
As the above list of previous suits filed by Adusumilli
illustrates, Adusumilli's previous claims of similar conduct have
been soundly rejected and most, if not all, were in fact
frivolous. E.g., Adusumilli v. Discover Fin. Servs., No. 98 C
6129, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6580, 1999 WL 286289, at *7 (N.D.
Ill. April 19, 1999) (circulating a copy of opinion to every
judge in this district to warn Adusumilli that she could be
sanctioned for filing such baseless law suits). Adusumilli's
allegations in the instant matter similarly fail to state a claim
of harassment and, instead, are frivolous. Thus, the court grants
Hospice'ss motion for summary judgment as to Adusumilli's claim
of hostile work environment sexual harassment.
Adusumilli also fails to raise a genuine issue of material fact
with regard to her claim of discrimination based on her race,
sex, national origin, and age. Under Title VII, an employer
cannot "discharge any individual, or otherwise . . . discriminate
against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2(a)(1). Likewise, the ADEA prohibits employers
from discriminating against an employee who is at least 40 years
of age "with respect to [her] compensation, terms, conditions or
privileges or employment, because of such individual's age."
29 U.S.C. §§ 623, 631. Adusumilli may meet her burden of proof under
Title VII and the ADEA either through offering direct proof of
discriminatory intent or by proving disparate treatment through
the indirect, burden-shifting method outlined in McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668,
93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973). See Cerutti v. BASF Corp., 349 F.3d 1055,
1060 n. 4 (7th Cir. 2003) ("We employ essentially the same
analytical framework to employment discrimination cases whether
they are brought under the ADEA, Title VII, or § 1981.")
A. Direct Method of Proof
"Under the direct proof method, plaintiff must show either an
acknowledgment of discriminatory intent by the defendant or its
agents, or circumstantial evidence that provides the basis for an
inference of intentional discrimination." Contreras v. Suncast
Corp., 237 F.3d 756, 759 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Troupe v.
May Dep't Stores Co., 20 F.3d 734, 736 (7th Cir. 1994).
Adusumilli may demonstrate her case with evidence which, if
believed by a trier of fact, will prove the particular fact in
question without reliance on inference or presumption. Eiland
v. Trinity Hosp., 150 F.3d 747, 751 (7th Cir. 1998),
quoting Plair v. E.J. Branch & Sons, Inc., 105 F.3d 343, 347
(7th Cir. 1997). Further, a proffer of direct evidence must
not only speak directly to the issue of discriminatory intent, it
must also relate to the specific employment decision in question.
Plair, 105 F.3d at 347. In this case, Adusumilli has not indicated which method of
proof she intended to utilize.*fn4 The evidence relied upon
by Adusumilli in support of her claim of discrimination are the
"slights" of not being greeted properly on one occasion, having
her pronunciation corrected on one occasion, and being informed
by her supervisors on two occasions that they could not
understand her English, as well as having her shoes looked at in
a "dirty" manner and being "inappropriately" served pizza and
cake. There is no evidence, however, that any of these acts were
related to the specific employment decision in question, i.e.,
her termination. See Mateu-Anderegg v. Sch. Dist. of Whitefish
Bay, 304 F.3d 618, 624-25 (7th Cir. 2002) (determining
statements must be made "(1) around the time of, and (2) in
reference to, the adverse employment action complained of."
(internal citations omitted)); Venters v. City of Delphi,
123 F.3d 956, 973 (7th Cir. 1997) ("Evidence of discriminatory
motives must . . . have some relationship with the employment
decision in question; inappropriate but isolated comments that
amount to no more than `stray remarks' in the workplace will not
do."). Thus, Adusumilli has not demonstrated direct proof of
B. Indirect Method of Proof
Under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting method,
Adusumilli must raise an inference of discrimination by offering
sufficient evidence to make out a prima facie case.
Contreras, 237 F.3d at 759. Adusumilli must demonstrate that (1) she belongs to
a protected class; (2) she performed her job satisfactorily; (3)
she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4) Hospice
treated similarly situated employees outside of her protected
class more favorably. Id. If Adusumilli can make a prima
facie showing, then a presumption arises that Adusumilli was
discriminated against, and Hospice must come forward with a
legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the employment action.
Id. at 760. At this stage, Hospice need not prove that it was
actually motivated by the proffered reason. Rather, Hospice "need
only produce admissible evidence which would allow the trier of
fact rationally to conclude that the employment decision had not
been motivated by discriminatory animus." Id., quoting Texas
Dep't of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 257,
67 L. Ed. 2d 207, 101 S. Ct. 1089 (1981). Once Hospice has met this
burden of production, Adusumilli must prove by a preponderance of
the evidence that the reason offered by Hospice is merely a
pretext for discrimination. Contreras, 237 F.3d at 760. "This
court [then] looks to determine if a factual dispute exists as to
whether the employer's reasons for its decision are honest and
genuinely motivated." Plair, 105 F.3d at 348, citing Sirvidas
v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 60 F.3d 375, 378 (7th Cir.
1995). Although intermediate evidentiary burdens shift back and
forth under this framework, the ultimate burden of persuading the
trier of fact that Hospice intentionally discriminated against
Adusumilli remains at all times with Adusumilli. Sirvidas,
60 F.3d at 378.
Adusumilli is unable to make a prima facie showing of
discrimination. Adusumilli satisfies the first and third factors
of the McDonnell Douglas method because she is of Indian origin
and she suffered an adverse employment action because of her
termination. Adusumilli, however, cannot show that she was
meeting Hospice'ss legitimate expectations at the time of her
termination. Although Adusumilli maintains that she has performed
her job better than other employees and demonstrated excellence by accomplishing duties routinely
performed by higher grade employees, she has offered no evidence
in support of this assertion. "An employee's self-serving
statements about his ability . . . are insufficient to contradict
an employer's negative assessment of that ability." Gustovich
v. AT&T Communications, Inc., 872 F.2d 845, 8448 (7th Cir.
1992). Instead, the undisputed evidence shows that Adusumilli
blamed others for her own mistakes, prepared a name tag for a
donor's deceased wife, misaddressed letters to donors even after
instruction, was criticized for her phone skills, and failed to
connect with her co-workers. Further, Adusumilli has offered no
evidence that anyone outside of her protected class was treated
more favorably in circumstances similar to hers. As stated above,
the plaintiff has the burden to make the prima facie showing.
Because Adusumilli has failed to do so, it is unnecessary to
reach the issue of pretext. Therefore, the court will grant
summary judgment in favor of Hospice on Adusumilli's claims of
discrimination under Title VII.
In addition, Adusumilli has not made any allegations or
produced any evidence involving her age or how she was
discriminated against because of her age. It appears that
Adusumilli dropped this claim altogether because, with the
exception of her complaint, it is not discussed anywhere in any
of her filings before this court. As a consequence, the court
grants summary judgment in favor of Hospice as to Adusumilli's
claim under the ADEA. III. RETALIATION
Hospice also argues that it is entitled to summary judgment as
to Adusumilli's claim of retaliation because Adusumilli cannot
establish that Hospice retaliated against her. Post-termination
retaliation is cognizable under Title VII and follows the
McDonnell Douglas framework for analysis. Ruedlinger v.
Jarrett, 106 F.3d 212, 214 (7th Cir. 1997). To establish a
prima facie case of retaliation, Adusumilli must show that (1)
she engaged in statutorily protected activity; (2) she suffered
an adverse employment action; and (3) there is a causal link
between the protected activity and the adverse action. Parkins,
163 F.3d at 1038-39, citing Debs v. Northeastern Ill. Univ.,
153 F.3d 390, 397 (7th Cir. 1998). If she establishes these
elements, Hospice has the burden to produce a legitimate,
nondiscriminatory reason for its actions. Once this reason is
produced, Adusumilli must prove that the reason is pretextual.
Parkins, 163 F.3d at 1039.
Adusumilli satisfies the first element of the prima facie
case of retaliation in that filing a charge of discrimination
with the EEOC constitutes protected activity. Adusumilli,
however, fails to satisfy the second element of a prima facie
case because she cannot show that she suffered an adverse
employment action. Adusumilli claims that Hospice retaliated
against her for filing the charge with the EEOC by refusing to
provide employment references for her. Although Adusumilli never
received a copy of Hospice's employment reference policy, she
does not dispute that such a policy exists or that it is
enforced. The undisputed evidence shows that on two occasions,
Adusumilli's supervisor, Petrek, received requests for employment
references for Adusumilli. Petrek referred both requests to
Hospice's Human Resources Department. On both occasions, the
Human Resources Department provided information concerning
Adusumilli's position and dates of employment. Adusumilli has no
knowledge and has offered no evidence that any other requests for employment references were made to Hospice or that Hospice
refused to provide employment references for her.
Adusumilli, instead, argues that Hospice's policy concerning
employment references and its refusal to allow her supervisor to
give her employment reference constitute discrimination. An
employer may be held liable under Title VII, if it provides a
negative employment reference in retaliation against a former
employee for engaging in a protected activity. See
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a); Robinson v. Shell Oil Co., 519 U.S. 337, 339-40,
136 L. Ed. 2d 808, 117 S. Ct. 843 (1997) (emphasis added). It is
undisputed that the employment references provided by Hospice
consisted only of Adusumilli's position and dates of employment.
Such neutral references by themselves do not constitute
retaliation, nor does Hospice's refusal to allow its supervisors
to provide more detailed employment references constitute
discrimination. Adusumilli has not produced any evidence that
Hospice failed to follow its employment reference policy for
other former employees or that it included a negative evaluation
of Adusumilli on the two occasions when her employment references
were requested. Adusumilli cannot show that she suffered an
adverse employment action. Thus, the court grants summary
judgment in favor of Hospice as to Adusumilli's claim of
IV. Adusumilli's Failure to Comply with the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure and Local Rules of the Northern District of
Because the court grants Hospice's motion for summary judgment
on the merits of Adusumilli's claims, it is unnecessary for the
court to grant summary judgment in favor of Hospice as a result
of Adusumilli's failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure or Local Rule 56.1. V. Hospice's Motion for Sanctions
Hospice requests that the court sanction Adusumilli in such a
way as to put an end to her senseless and repetitive filings.
Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure hold parties,
even parties proceeding pro se, to a specific standard for
filing claims in federal court. Rule 11 states that "[b]y
presenting to the court . . . a pleading, . . . an unrepresented
person is certifying to the best of the person's knowledge,
information, and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable
under the circumstances, . . . (2) the claims, defenses, and
other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or
by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or
reversal of existing law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 11(b) (emphasis added).
"A prevailing defendant may be entitled to attorney's fees if
the plaintiff's action was `frivolous, unreasonable, or without
foundation. . . ." Vitug v. Multistate Tax Comm'n,
883 F. Supp. 215, 218-19 (N.D. Ill. 1995), citing Christianburg Garment
Co. v. EEOC, 434 U.S. 412, 421 (1978); Unity Ventures v.
County of Lake, 894 F.2d 250, 253 (7th Cir. 1990))." In
addition to sanctions, the court also may restrict a litigant's
access to the courts. See, e.g., Lysiak v. C.I.R.,
816 F.2d 311, 313 (7th Cir. 1987) (enjoining pro se litigant from
filing additional pleadings until previous monetary sanctions
were paid). In fact, the Seventh Circuit fined Adusumilli $1500
and limited her access to the courts for filing frivolous appeals
in lawsuits in which she alleged that her co-workers ogled and
accidently touched her. See Adusumilli v. Discover Fin.
Servs., 62 Fed. Appx. at 725 ("We warn Adusumilli that if she
fails to pay the sanction by the due date, the court will enter
an order directing the clerks of all federal courts in this
circuit to return unfiled any papers submitted either directly or
indirectly by or on behalf of the appellant unless she pays in
full the sanction that has been imposed against her."). Other district courts and the Seventh Circuit have warned
Adusumilli repeatedly that allegations similar to those that she
alleged in the present lawsuit do not constitute actionable
claims. See, e.g., Adusumilli v. Discover Fin. Servs., Inc.,
62 Fed. Appx. 721 at 724; Adusumilli v. Discover Fin. Servs.,
Inc., 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6580 at *9 ("Numerous courts,
including the Seventh Circuit, and two other district courts
aside from this one, have told Adusumilli that ogling is not
actionable.") (citations omitted). This court similarly warned
Adusumilli twice to seriously consider the consequences of
proceeding with the lawsuit. See May 24, 2004 Minute Order,
#20; Oct. 6, 2004 Minute Order, #26. The court further advised
Adusumilli that it would not hesitate to declare this action
frivolous and to sanction Adusumilli in the form of a substantial
judgment to compensate Hospice for its costs if the allegations
in her complaint were the only instances of alleged
discrimination. Id. Adusumilli, however, chose to continue
pursuing this frivolous action by responding to Hospice's motion
for summary judgment and raising new and even more frivolous
allegations that she was "inappropriately" served a piece of
pizza and a piece of cake and that her pronunciation of a word
By continuing to file and pursue frivolous lawsuits, Adusumilli
has unnecessarily cost the courts and the defendant both time and
money. It is apparent to this court that Adusumilli will continue
to file frivolous lawsuits unless she is stopped. Adusumilli even
admitted as much in her deposition:
A. I brought a lawsuit because I was terminated. I
lost my job. That's very important for my life.
Q. So this is about losing the job and not about the
harassment that you know is not illegal, correct? A. Well, but still I listed all the incidents per
that was the guidelines, all those incidents are
Judges still have to decide. Even I file five
lawsuits I might file 20 lawsuits, still I might
go. I might do the same thing.
Q. You will file them until the judges tell you you
can't file them anymore, correct?
(Def. Mot. for Sanctions, Ex. C, Pl. Dep. at PP. 189-190).
In response to Hospice's motion for sanctions, Adusumilli
raised a number of irrelevant arguments, including that she has
the right to hold a job and that she received a right-to-sue
letter from the EEOC. Adusumilli, however, admitted that she had
no contract with Hospice, but she fails to understand that she
was an at-will employee of Hospice. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶¶ 9, 10; Pl.
Resp. L.R. 56.1 ¶¶ 9, 10). See Duldulao v. St. Mary of
Nazareth Hosp. Ctr., 505 N.E.2d 314 at 317, 115 Ill. 2d 482,
106 Ill. Dec. 8 (Ill. 1987) ("[A]n employment relationship without a
fixed duration is terminable at will by either party."). In
addition, her receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC does
not make her claims any less frivolous. See, e.g., Moore v. L.
Fish Furniture Co., No. 92 C 7855, 1992 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18778
at * (N.D. Ill. Dec. 29, 1992) ("Even if plaintiff had filed a
charge with the EEOC, and received a right-to-sue letter, his
complaint would still be frivolous because he has failed to
allege that at least one other employee, not in a protected
class, was treated more favorably than he."). Adusumilli also
continued in her trend of blaming the judiciary for her problems:
"Judges who dismissed my cases are very unfair and irrational and
I still dream that these judges one fine morning will come the
court and open my dismissed cases and grant me relief. . . . My
complaints are genuine and I am very honest and sincere employee and there is no
need for this court to control my behavior because I am right."
(Pl. Response to Def. Mot. for Sanctions at PP. 2-3).
Adusumilli has refused to heed the warnings of the courts in
the Northern District and the Seventh Circuit and is yet
unrestrained from filing baseless lawsuits just because she is
discharged from a place of employment. In light of this court's
finding that the present action was entirely frivolous and
unreasonable, and its specific warning to Adusumilli that it
would entertain a motion for sanctions if this suit turned out to
be baseless, the court will award Hospice's attorneys a
reasonable fees and costs in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P.
54(d)(1) and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(k).
For the reasons stated above, Hospice's motion for summary
judgment is granted. The Clerk is directed to enter judgment in
favor of the defendant. Hospice's motion for sanctions is
granted. Hospice is given until January 7, 2004 to submit a bill
of costs and declaration of fees containing the information
required by L.R. 54.3(d)(1)-(3), although it is excused from any
effort to negotiate the matter of fees with Adusumilli.