The opinion of the court was delivered by: REBECCA PALLMEYER, District Judge
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION
In September 2003, the City of Chicago rejected Plaintiff Nona
Farrar's application for a home occupation business license.
Plaintiff, an African-American woman, believes the denial was
motivated by her race, her prior lawsuits against the City, and
her various other "First Amendment activity." Proceeding pro
se, Farrar now brings suit against the City of Chicago; Michael
Hoskins, an Investigator for the City's Department of Zoning;
Michael Grochowiak, the Director of Code Enforcement in the
City's Department of Zoning; and Mayor Richard Daley.
Specifically, Plaintiff brings: (1) a § 1983 claim based on
violation of her equal protection rights (Count 1); (2) a First
Amendment retaliation claim (Count II); (3) a § 1983 claim based
on violation of her due process rights (Count III); (4) a state
law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count
IV); (5) a claim of unlawful interference with prospective
economic advantage (Count V); (5) a claim against Defendants
Grochowiak and Hoskins for "willful and wanton conduct" (Count
VI); (6) a claim of Monell liability against Defendant Richard
Daley and the City of Chicago for violation of her First and
Fourteenth Amendment rights (Count VII); and (7) a facial
challenge to the Zoning Ordinance under §§ 1983, 1982, and 1981 (Count VIII).*fn1 Defendants
move for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below,
Defendants' joint motion for summary judgment is granted as to
Plaintiff's federal claims. All remaining state law claims are
dismissed without prejudice to litigation of those claims in
In late summer 2003, Plaintiff learned through an internet
posting that the Chicago Transit Authority was accepting bids for
a mass mailing contract (the "CTA contract"). (Plaintiff's
Deposition, Defendants' Ex. D, at 77.) The CTA contract involved
the monthly distribution of new employment kits, which included
lunch sacks, maps, pens, cardholders, and welcome letters.
(Defendants' Joint Local Rule 56.1(a) Statement, hereinafter,
"Defs.' 56.1(a)," ¶¶ 32 37; CTA Contract Documents, Defendants'
Ex. L.) It also required the winning bidder to store the
materials, consisting of hundreds of boxes weighing thousands of
pounds. (Defs.' 56.1(a) ¶ 37.) In order to enhance her chances of
being awarded the contract, Plaintiff attempted to establish her
business as a certified minority business enterprise (MBE).
(Defs.' 56.1(a) ¶ 33.) Because she intended to run the mass
mailing operation from her home, she required a home occupation
business license from the City. (Id.)
On September 3, 2003, Plaintiff applied for a home occupation
business license. (Defendants' Joint Local Rule 56.1(a)
Statement, hereinafter, "Defs.' 56.1(a)," ¶¶ 8, 12.) Plaintiff
submitted her application in person, initially to a woman named
Grace in the Department of Revenue. (Plaintiff's Deposition, at
106.) Her application stated that she lived in a 1200 square foot
unit within a multiple-dwelling building, and that 500 square
feet of her unit would be used for her proposed home occupation
business. (Id. ¶ 9.) After examining her application, the
Department of Revenue employee informed Plaintiff that she would
have to speak with a person in the Department of Zoning before her license could be issued.
Plaintiff proceeded to the Department of Zoning, where she
spoke with Defendant Grochowiak. (Id. at 111.) Grochowiak
informed Plaintiff that her license application was being denied
because her proposed home business violated the storage
restrictions placed on home occupancy businesses under the City's
zoning code. (Id. at 114.) Specifically, the Chicago Municipal
Code section that addresses home occupations states:
[T]he total square footage of any home occupation
shall not permanently occupy more than . . . 15
percent of the floor area of any unit in a multiple
dwelling building; provided, however, that in no
instance may one or more home occupations in any
single dwelling unit permanently occupy more than 300
square feet of any dwelling unit . . .
City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance, Ch. 4-380-060(g). Plaintiff's
proposed home-based business violated both of these requirements:
she expected to use 500 feet of her dwelling for the business, an
area totaling far more than 15 percent of her total 1200 square
feet. Plaintiff advised Grochowiak that she intended to rent
space in an offsite storage facility in which to store the
materials related to her home business. (Plaintiff's Deposition,
at 115.) Grochowiak explained that home-based businesses are
prohibited, under the Zoning Ordinance, from storing anything
offsite. (Id. at 114.) Specifically, the Zoning Ordinance
provides that "the home occupation and all related activities,
including storage, shall be conducted completely within the
dwelling and shall not be operated from an accessory structure or
garage." City of Chicago Zoning Ordinance Ch. 4-380-060(f).
A dispute ensued between Plaintiff and Grochowiak. (Plaintiff's
Deposition, at 115-17.) Eventually, Plaintiff asked to speak to
somebody else, at which point Grochowiak left and Defendant
Hoskins appeared. (Hoskins's Deposition, Defendants' Ex. B, at
90.) Hoskins spoke with Plaintiff, reiterating the reasons
already laid out by Grochowiak for the denial of her license.
(Id. at 99-100.) Plaintiff then asked Hoskins whether she could
change her application to seek approval for the operation of a data entry business rather than
the mailing project.*fn2 (Defs.' 56.1(a) ¶ 14; Hoskins's
Deposition, at 93.) Hoskins claims he repeatedly asked Plaintiff
who her clients would be for this new data entry business and she
refused to answer. (Hoskins's Deposition, at 91.) Plaintiff, on
the other hand, maintains that she told Hoskins that she would be
doing data entry work for the city and state governments.
(Plaintiff's Response to Defs.' 56.1(a) ¶ 15.) In any event,
Hoskins informed Plaintiff that her application for a license to
conduct a home-based data entry business was also denied. (Defs.'
56.1(a) ¶ 15; Plaintiff's Response to Defs.' 56.1(a) ¶ 15.)
Following this second denial, Hoskins gave Plaintiff an appeals
packet and told her that she could appeal the denial of her
license application to the Zoning Board of Appeals. (Defs.'
56.1(a) ¶ 16; Plaintiff's Deposition, at 127.) Ultimately,
Plaintiff chose not to appeal the denials because she did not
believe that the appeals process would have been completed in
time for her to submit a bid for the CTA contract. (Plaintiff's
Deposition, at 127-28, 130.) Instead, she filed this lawsuit the
following day, September 4, 2003.
Prior to this incident, Plaintiff had been involved in a number
of disputes with the City of Chicago. A self-styled community
activist, Plaintiff maintains that she has been "very outspoken"
about police misconduct and has sued the City of Chicago on a
number of occasions. (Compl. at 1.) In the course of her
community activism, Plaintiff claims to have assisted victims of
police abuses by referring them to the United States Attorney,
participated in rallies, spoken at meetings regarding police
brutality, and been arrested seven times.*fn3 (Defs.'
56.1(a) ¶ 27.) In short, Plaintiff "consider[s] [her]self someone
who speaks out against various civil and human rights abuses." (Plaintiff's Deposition, at 31.)
In 2002 or 2003,*fn4 Plaintiff attempted to launch a
company called Larger Vision Inc., as a branch of "the
[I]nnocence [P]roject to investigate claims of wrongful
convictions involving Chicago police and other officers." (Id.
at 29.) The company's articles of incorporation, which were filed
with the Illinois Secretary of State on June 13, 2003, identify
the company's purpose as "[t]o research and investigate claims of
innocence and other injustices that are civil rights violations
and to coordinate special events to fund the project."
(Plaintiff's Ex. 19.) Plaintiff also obtained a business license
from the City of Chicago for Larger Vision. The business license
application, submitted on September 13, 2003, describes the
company's business activity as "administrative office for special
event planner for different events, civil, human rights
causes."*fn5 (Plaintiff's Deposition, at 44-48; Defendants'
Ex. I.) Ultimately, Plaintiff abandoned the Innocence Project
idea after she had spoken with a number of attorneys about
participating in the project, but before the company was up and
running.*fn6 (Plaintiff's Deposition, at 52-53.) Instead,
Plaintiff "decided it would be better for me to do maybe special
events to help organizations out that I felt were worthy of
financial support." (Id. at 53.)
In her complaint, Plaintiff also refers to a number of lawsuits
she has previously filed against the City. Specifically,
Plaintiff alleges that she "has sued Corporation Council [sic]
lawyers for destruction of evidence . . ., sue [sic] the city and police and
won, spoken out about police abuses [and] fire abuses, assisted
victims of the abuses and filed complaints against the police and
firemen." (Compl. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff has offered no evidence of
these prior lawsuits, and when asked about them during her
deposition, remembered only that she had sued Chicago Police
Officer James Davis in 1995. (Plaintiff's Deposition, at 27.)
Court records show that Plaintiff filed suit against Office Davis
in September 1997. The case settled in 2000 after Plaintiff
retained counsel. Nona Farrar v. James Davis, No. 97 C 6433
(N.D. Ill. Aug. 3, 2000) (dismissing all claims pursuant to
settlement agreement). As for the remaining lawsuits, Plaintiff
stated that "I would think that your [defense counsel's] office
would have those records because I generally filed suit against
the City of Chicago." (Plaintiff's Deposition, at 27.) An
examination of this court's records shows that Plaintiff has
filed suit in this court against the City of Chicago or City of
County officials on at least five other occasions prior to the
current lawsuit. Farrar v. City of Chicago, No. 82 C 6771
(complaint filed Nov. 3, 1997 against the City of Chicago);
Farrar v. Glantz., No. 00 C 275 (complaint filed Jan. 14, 2000
against Clerk of the Cook County Circuit Court); Farrar v.
Nelson, No. 00 C 1675 (complaint filed Mar. 17, 2000 against
Chicago Police and Fire Department employees); Farrar v. City of
Chicago, No. 02 C 2914 (complaint filed April 23, 2002 against a
number of City employees, including members of the Police and
Fire Departments and Office of Emergency Communications); Farrar
v. Bracamondes, No. 03 C 5530 (complaint filed Aug. 8, 2003
against Chicago police officers alleging, inter alia First
Amendment retaliation, due process and equal protection
violations stemming from police failure to arrest Plaintiff's
sister after domestic dispute). In addition, since the present
events, Plaintiff has filed an additional suit against, inter
alia, the City of Chicago. Farrar v. Eldibany, No. 04 C 3371
(complaint filed May 12, 2004 against landlord and City building
inspectors for, inter alia, conspiring to ignore building code
violations at her apartment building).*fn7
Plaintiff now claims that the denial of her business license
was motivated by both her race and as retaliation for her past
disputes with the City of Chicago and protests over City
policies. Defendants have moved for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, demonstrate that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV.
P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). Summary judgment is only appropriate "if, on the record
as a whole, a rational trier of fact could not find for the
non-moving party." Rogers v. City of Chicago, 320 F.3d 748, 752
(7th Cir. 2003), quoting Commercial Underwriters Ins. Co. v.
Aires Envtl. Servs., Ltd., 259 F.3d 792, 795 (7th Cir. 2001).
Although in doing so, the court will construe all inferences in
favor of the non-moving party, the court is "not required to draw
every conceivable inference from the record." McDonald v.
Village of Winnetka, 371 F.3d 992, 1001 (7th Cir. 2004), quoting
Rogers, 320 F.3d at 752; Bell v. Duperrault, 367 F.3d 703,
707 (7th Cir. 2004). Thus, "[i]nferences that are supported only
by conjecture or speculation will not defeat a summary judgment
motion." Id. Plaintiff brings ...