The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Dr. Noushin Izadifar has brought suit against Drs. Stephen
Slogoff and Anthony Barbato and her former employer, Loyola
University of Chicago ("Loyola"),*fn1 asserting various
claims stemming from her termination by Loyola in July 2002.
Those claims include discrimination in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act ("Title VII," 42 U.S.C. § 2000e), defamation
and tortious interference with contract. Loyola has moved for
partial summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56
as to the Title VII claim, and Loyola and Drs. Slogoff and Barbato have moved for summary judgment as to the defamation and
tortious interference with contract claims.
After receiving the movants' briefs and Dr. Izadifar's
response, this Court orally denied Loyola's motion as to the
Title VII claim on April 28, 2005, but it ordered a reply as to
the other claims. That submission is now in hand, and all parties
have also tendered statements of material fact as called for by
this District Court's LR 56.1.*fn2
Even when the record is viewed in Dr. Izadifar's favor as
required by Rule 56, she has not come forward with enough facts
either established or disputed of a material (that is, outcome
determinative) nature for a reasonable jury to conclude that
she ought to prevail on either her defamation or
tortious-interference-with-contract claims. Hence all three
defendants' motions as to those claims are granted.
Every Rule 56 movant bears the burden of establishing the
absence of any genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose courts
consider the evidentiary record in the light most favorable to
nonmovants and draw all reasonable inferences in their favor
(Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir.
2002)). But to avoid summary judgment a nonmovant "must produce
more than a scintilla of evidence to support his position" that a
genuine issue of material fact exists (Pugh v. City of Attica,
259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001)) and "must set forth specific
facts that demonstrate a genuine issue of triable fact" (id.).
Ultimately summary judgment is warranted only if a reasonable
jury could not return a verdict for the nonmovant (Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). What follows is
a summary of the relevant facts, viewed of course in the light
most favorable to nonmovant Dr. Izadifar but within the
limitations created by the extent of her compliance (or
noncompliance) with the strictures of LR 56.1.
Dr. Izadifar was hired as a member of Loyola's faculty in the
Department of Radiation Oncology at the Stritch School of
Medicine on April 1, 2000, entering into a one-year employment
contract that was renewed on June 7, 2002 (L. St. ¶¶ 8, 9; L. Ex.
E). By virtue of her Loyola faculty position, Dr. Izadifar also
entered into a "Provider Employment Agreement" with the
Foundation under which Dr. Izadifar agreed to provide clinical patient care services at the Loyola University Medical Center
("Medical Center") (L. St. ¶ 13; L. Ex. F). On May 28, 2002 that
agreement was also renewed (id.).
Dr. Izadifar provided gynecologic radiation oncology treatment
at Hines V.A. Hospital ("Hines") once a week, using High Dosage
Rate ("HDR") machinery located at Hines (L. St. ¶ 17). Loyola
apparently had an agreement with Hines calling for Loyola
physicians to staff Hines' Radiation Oncology Department, while
Hines provided equipment, nursing personnel and support staff (L.
St. ¶ 15; L. Ex. B at 85-86).*fn3 It was a dispute between
Dr. Izadifar and Hines nurse Trevino that set off the chain of
events leading to Dr. Izadifar's termination from the Loyola
faculty on July 17, 2002.*fn4
On April 17 Hines began using a new HDR machine (L. Ex. B at
90). Dr. Izadifar performed three procedures that day, with
Trevino assisting (D. Ex. B at 95). Those procedures were
apparently completed without incident. But on April 22 Dr.
Izadifar received a call from Dr. Najeeb Mohideen, a physician in Loyola's Department of Radiation Oncology, who told her that
Trevino had submitted a complaint regarding the safety of Dr.
Izadifar's procedures (id. at 97). Trevino had expressed that
the HDR equipment was not being properly decontaminated between
procedures (id. at 97-98). Dr. Izadifar disagreed with
Trevino's complaint and believed her actions to be inappropriate
(id. at 99-102). Dr. Izadifar had previously clashed with
Trevino, considering her to be "insubordinate and problematic"
(id. at 103).
On April 24 Dr. Izadifar went to Hines to perform her regularly
scheduled HDR procedures (L. Ex. B at 119). Once again a dispute
arose between Trevino and Dr. Izadifar, this time after Dr.
Izadifar was told that Trevino had assisted a patient's sister in
filing a complaint against Dr. Izadifar (id. at 126). Dr.
Izadifar asked that Trevino be removed from her remaining
procedures (id. at 127-28). After hearing of that request, and
in Dr. Izadifar's presence, Trevino began to tear apart documents
that belonged in a patient's chart (id. at 130). In response
Dr. Izadifar unsuccessfully attempted to take the documents from
Trevino's hands (L. St. ¶ 20), prompting Trevino to scream "Don't
touch me" repeatedly (L. Ex. B at 134). Trevino then took the
documents and gave them to another Hines employee, who returned
them to Dr. Izadifar (id. at 135). Dr. Izadifar completed
another procedure, assisted by a different nurse, and left Hines without further incident (id.)
On April 26 Dr. Izadifar wrote a memorandum to Dr. Bahman
Emami, chairman of Loyola's Department of Radiation Oncology, who
had not been at Hines on April 24 (L. St. ¶ 26; L. Ex. L). Dr.
Izadifar described the April 17 and 24 incidents, admitting that
she attempted to take documents out of Trevino's hands, but
denying that she touched any part of Trevino's body (id.). In
an April 29 memorandum to Dr. Elaine Adams, Chief of Medical
Services at Hines, Dr. Emami called for disciplinary action
against Trevino, stating that "her malicious intention continues
to undermine the activities of physicians at Loyola" (L. St. ¶
50; L. Ex. O).
After the April 24 incident Dr. Adams met with Dr. Barbara
Temeck, Hines' Chief of Staff (I. Resp. ¶ 23). They agreed that
Dr. Adams would investigate the situation, and on April 26 Dr.
Adams requested a meeting with Dr. Izadifar (L. St. ¶ 27; I. St.
¶ 135). When the two of them met on April 29, Dr. Izadifar again
admitted that she had attempted to ...