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WASHINGTON v. INTERNATIONAL SURVEY RESEARCH

May 16, 2005.

JOSEPH WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERNATIONAL SURVEY RESEARCH, LLC, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On February 24, 2004, Plaintiff Joseph Washington filed a Complaint against his former employer, Defendant International Survey Research, LLC ("ISR"), alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Before the Court is ISR's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the Court grants ISR's motion.

BACKGROUND

  I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rules

  ISR contends that Washington violated various provisions of Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1. The Court thus turns to the rules governing the parties' summary judgment filings before addressing the merits of the case. Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) requires the nonmoving party to admit or deny every factual statement proffered by the moving party and to concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. The purpose of Rule 56.1 statements is to identify the relevant evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. Solaia Tech. LLC v. Arvinmeritor, Inc., 361 F.Supp.2d 797, 826-27 (N.D. Ill. 2005).

  The types of evidentiary material available to support Rule 56.1 statements are numerous, but the most common materials include affidavits, deposition transcripts, and business documents. Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 584 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e), supporting and opposing affidavits must show that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters at hand, and the affidavit must contain facts that would be admissible at trial. Markel v. Board of Regents of the Univ. of Wisconsin, 276 F.3d 906, 912 (7th Cir. 2002). Furthermore, an affidavit or declaration that is not sworn or certified under penalty of perjury cannot be considered as evidence because it fails to meet Federal Rule of Civil Procedure's requirements. See id.; Woods v. City of Chicago, 234 F.3d 979, 998 (7th Cir. 2000) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 1746).

  Statements and responses that do not properly cite to the record are subject to the Court's discretion as to their admission. See Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997). Statements that are not contested are deemed admitted. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). The Court also reminds Plaintiff that when citing to the record in his legal memoranda, he is required to cite to the numbered paragraphs of his Local Rule 56.1 statement and not to the underlying parts of the record. See Malec, 191 F.R.D. at 586. Finally, the Court reminds both parties that their Rule 56.1 statements do not abrogate their obligation to give their version of the facts in the supporting memoranda. Id. at 585. With these principles in mind, the Court turns to the material facts of this case.

  II. Relevant Facts A. Introduction

  ISR, a Delaware corporation located in Chicago, Illinois, is in the business of conducting employee surveys. (R. 31-1, Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶¶ 3, 4.) Initially, Washington, an African-American male, worked for ISR from November 1994 until February 1996. (Id. ¶ 17.) In 1996, Washington resigned from ISR to take another job. (Id. ¶ 18.) On April 13, 1998, ISR rehired Washington as an Information Technology ("IT") Technical Support Specialist. (Id. ¶ 19.)

  B. Washington's Job Performance

  Upon returning to ISR, Washington's job responsibilities included personal computer ("PC") support, PC laptop configuration, ordering supplies for the IT department, basic network administrative duties, and end user support. (Id. ¶ 21.) In 2001, Washington's supervisor was John Mills, the Global IT Manager for ISR. (Id. ¶ 22.) While working for Mills, Washington's job responsibilities, included assisting with PCs, purchasing IT equipment, wide area network administration ("WAN"), and maintaining ISR's network. (Id. ¶ 23.)

  While Mills was supervising Washington, the NIMDA virus attacked ISR's computer systems, creating false files and taking up all available server space until the computers stopped functioning. (Id. ¶ 27; R. 39-1 Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1 Statement ¶ 2.) Mills put Washington on probation for his actions during the NIMDA virus infection. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 10.) On October 1, 2001, ISR issued Washington a letter documenting his probation related to his performance during the NIMDA virus outbreak. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 30, Washington Dep., Ex. 9.) The letter explained that during the NIMDA virus problem, Washington failed to take an active leadership role and left too many responsibilities to others who did not have the necessary training and experience. (Id.) The letter further explained that Washington had failed to accomplish specific tasks that ISR had addressed in his recent performance reviews. (Id.) Also, the letter outlined the issues that Washington needed to address to improve his job performance. (Id.)

  In December 2001, Roger Wozniak, the Global IT & Survey Processing Manager, became Washington's supervisor. (Id. ¶ 25.) In June 2002, Wozniak gave Washington his 2002 performance review. (Id. ¶ 36.) In the overall rating category, Washington received a rating of "Exceed expectations on all priority objectives and several remaining objectives." (Pl.'s Stmt., Ex. 10.) Under the development plan, Wozniak recommended that Washington should work with end users more directly, start to have a peer relationship with Matthew White, another IT Technical Support Specialist, and participate in desktop support issues. (Id.)

  In October 2002, Wozniak gave Washington a verbal warning that he was not happy with Washington's work as it related to ISR's network. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 40.) Washington testified that in December 2002, Wozniak reprimanded him about his performance concerning a ...


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