The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARLANDER KEYS, Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Currently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment. Plaintiffs sued Defendant pursuant to Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq.,
claiming that Defendant terminated Plaintiffs because of their
race. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is
Plaintiffs Tanya Moss-Buchanan and Michael Buchanan were
employed by the City of Chicago. Ms. Moss-Buchanan worked as a
Project Coordinator in the City's Department of Revenue ("DOR")
from 1987 to July 31, 2002. Mr. Buchanan worked as an
Administrative Manager in that same department from 1977 to July
31, 2002. The fact that Plaintiffs' termination dates are
identical is no coincidence; Plaintiffs were terminated pursuant
to a City ordered reduction in workforce, which was implemented
in July 2002. The DOR laid off twelve workers, including five union employees. The union employees were laid off under a
collective bargaining agreement, which dictated that the last
hired were the first fired. Plaintiffs were among the remaining
seven non-union employees terminated in the reduction in
The parties agree that four of the seven non-union employees
terminated in July 2002 were African American, and that only
fifty percent of the DOC work force at that time were African
American. The parties also agree that Ms. Moss-Buchanan's work
performance was not a factor in her termination. While Defendant
claims that its discretionary termination decisions were informed
by the employees' salaries and their middle management positions,
Plaintiffs claim that the decisions were influenced by racial
On September 23, 2002, Plaintiffs filed charges of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(the "EEOC"), claiming that they were discriminated against
because of their race.*fn1 The EEOC issued Mr. Buchanan a
Right to Sue letter on September 25, 2002. At his deposition, Mr.
Buchanan admitted that he had no reason to doubt that he received
this letter on either September 28, 2002 or September 29, 2002. The EEOC issued Ms. Moss-Buchanan's Right to Sue letter on
November 12, 2002; the record contains no further evidence with
regard to when Ms. Moss-Buchanan actually received her right to
Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit pro se, on February 11, 2003
91 days after the EEOC issued Ms. Moss-Buchanan's Right to Sue
letter and approximately 104 days after Mr. Buchanan likely
received his Right to Sue letter.
The case was assigned to Judge Elaine E. Bucklo. Although
Plaintiffs filed their lawsuit pro se, their attorney filed his
appearance on August 1, 2003. The parties consented to proceed
before this Court on October 24, 2003.
Summary judgment will be granted where the pleadings and
supporting documents show that there is no genuine issue of
material fact, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Fed R. Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Whether a fact is material to the dispute
is established by the governing substantive law. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1985). A genuine issue
as to one of these material facts exists if the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
In a summary judgment proceeding, the Court will disregard all facts not properly supported by the record. Brasic v.
Heinemann's, Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997). The Court
does not make "credibility determinations nor choose between
competing inferences" at the summary judgment stage. Sarsha v.
Sears, Roebuck & Co., 3 F.3d 1035, 1041 (7th Cir. 1993).
However, in determining whether a genuine issue of material fact
exists, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in the
non-moving party's favor. Shank v. William R. Hague, Inc.,
192 F.3d 675, 681 (7th Cir. 1999).
The moving party initially bears the burden of showing that the
record contains no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex,
477 U.S. at 323. The moving party need not negate its opponent's
claim. Id. at 322. Instead, with respect to issues on which the
non-moving party bears the burden of proof at trial, "the burden
on the moving party may be discharged by `showing' that is,
pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of
evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325.
If the moving party meets its burden, then the non-moving party
must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial; the non-moving party "may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading. . . ."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 257. Additionally, "mere conclusory"
allegations are inadequate. Nowak v. St. Rita High Sch., 142 F.3d 999, 1002 (7th Cir. 1998). The non-moving party
must present more than a "metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts" to survive summary judgment. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co,
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 596 (1986). The non-moving
party will not survive ...