The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN GRADY, Senior District Judge
Before the court is the motion of defendant Allstate Insurance
Company for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the
motion is granted.
Plaintiff Virgie Porter, proceeding pro se, alleges that
defendant Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate") discriminated
against her, based on her gender, in the provision of homeowners'
insurance. The complaint does not cite the federal statute under
which Porter is bringing this action. In our previous memorandum
opinion granting Porter's motion to proceed in forma
pauperis, we held that the complaint states a claim for
violation of Title VIII of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits
gender discrimination, inter alia, "in the provision of
services or facilities in connection" with the sale or rental of
housing as well as activities that "make unavailable or deny"
housing. 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a), (b). As Allstate concedes, the Seventh Circuit has
interpreted § 3604 as applying to discriminatory denials of
insurance and discriminatory pricing, see NAACP v. American
Family Mut. Ins. Co., 978 F.2d 287, 301 (7th Cir. 1992).
Plaintiff bases her claim on the fact that her insurance
premiums were higher than those of a male Allstate policyholder,
Abb Locke.*fn1 She seeks $5 million. Allstate now moves for
A. Summary Judgment Standards
Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). In considering such a motion, the court construes the
evidence and all inferences that reasonably can be drawn
therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
See Pitasi v. Gartner Group, Inc., 184 F.3d 709, 714 (7th
Cir. 1999). "Summary judgment should be denied if the dispute is `genuine': `if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict
for the nonmoving party.'" Talanda v. KFC Nat'l Mgmt. Co.,
140 F.3d 1090, 1095 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The court will enter
summary judgment against a party who does not "come forward with
evidence that would reasonably permit the finder of fact to find
in [its] favor on a material question." McGrath v. Gillis,
44 F.3d 567, 569 (7th Cir. 1995).
Once the moving party has supported its motion for summary
judgment, the "adverse party may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, but the
adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided
in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). Any fact
asserted in the movant's affidavit will be accepted by the court
as true unless the adverse party submits its own affidavits or
other evidence contradicting the assertion. See Curtis v.
Bembenek, 48 F.3d 281, 287 (7th Cir. 1995). If the adverse party
does not respond with evidence complying with Rule 56, "summary
judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the adverse
party." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
A pro se plaintiff is entitled to have her pleadings
construed liberally. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). Such plaintiffs are also entitled to a certain amount of
latitude with respect to the technical rigors of summary judgment. See
Kincaid v. Vail, 969 F.2d 594, 598 (7th Cir. 1992). However,
where a pro se plaintiff has not pointed to anything beyond
conclusory statements in the pleadings which would indicate the
existence of a triable issue of fact, she has failed to meet her
burden under Rule 56. See Timms v. Frank, 953 F.2d 281, 285
(7th Cir. 1992) (holding that all pro se litigants are
entitled to notice of the requirements of Rule 56 because failure
to point to evidence beyond the complaint will result in summary
judgment being entered against them).
Here, along with its motion for summary judgment, Allstate
served plaintiff with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing
Motion for Summary Judgment," pursuant to Local Rule 56.2, that
informed plaintiff of the requirements of Rule 56.
B. Housing Discrimination
The elements of a discrimination claim under the Fair Housing
Act closely follow the elements of employment discrimination.
See Kormoczy v. Secretary, U.S. Dep't of Housing and Urban
Dev. ex rel. Briggs, 53 F.3d 821, 823 (7th Cir. 1995). Thus,
plaintiff may choose one of two distinct evidentiary paths to
prove that Allstate had a discriminatory intent: (1) directly,
through direct or circumstantial evidence; or (2) indirectly,
through the inferential burden-shifting method known as the
McDonnell Douglas test. See id. at 823-24; Village of
Bellwood v. Dwivedi, 895 F.2d 1521, 1531 (7th Cir. 1990). Because plaintiff offers no direct or
circumstantial evidence of gender discrimination, we proceed to
the second method of proof.
Under the McDonnell Douglas approach, a plaintiff first has
the burden of proving a prima facie case of discrimination.
See Brummett v. Sinclair Broad. Group, Inc., 414 F.3d 686,
692 (7th Cir. 2005). For purposes of this motion, we will assume
that plaintiff has done so, although it is highly
doubtful.*fn2 (The only evidence plaintiff submits is her
affidavit, in which she states in relevant part merely that her
homeowners' insurance premium in 2002 was $1,027.00, while Mr.
Locke's was $558.00, and that Mr. Locke had greater coverage.) If
a prima facie case is established, the burden of proof shifts
to the defendant to articulate a legitimate, ...