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MILO v. CONTOUR SAWS

October 21, 2005.

MANUEL B. MILO, Plaintiff,
v.
CONTOUR SAWS, INC., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GEORGE MAROVICH, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Manuel B. Milo ("Milo") filed a complaint of employment discrimination against defendant Contour Saws, Inc. ("Contour Saws"). Milo alleged that Contour Saws discriminated against him on the basis of his age, color, national origin and race in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Milo also alleged that Contour Saws subjected him to unlawful retaliation.

Defendant moves for summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.

  I. Background

  Before the Court discusses the disputed and undisputed facts, it reiterates the importance of complying with Local Rule 56.1. Local Rule 56.1 outlines the requirements for the introduction of facts parties would like considered in connection with a motion for summary judgment. As the Court notes on its website (and has mentioned in multiple opinions), the Court enforces Local Rule 56.1 strictly. See Thomas v. CitiMortgage, Inc., Case No. 03 C 6177, 2005 WL 1712266 at *1 n. 1 (N.D. Ill. Jul. 20, 2005); Perez v. City of Batavia, Case No. 98 C 8226, 2004 WL 2967153 at *10 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 23, 2004); see also Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-818 (7th Cir. 2004). Facts that are submitted but do not conform with the rule are not considered by the Court. For example, facts not included in a party's statement of material facts or in a party's statement of additional facts are not considered by the Court because to do so would rob the other party of the opportunity to show such facts are disputed. Thus, facts either party included in its/his brief(s) but not in its/his Rule 56.1 statement of facts are not considered by the Court because the other party had no opportunity to controvert the facts. Defendant argues that this means the Court cannot consider any facts the plaintiff mentions in his response to defendant's statement of facts. That is not quite right. In his response, plaintiff is obligated to put forth evidence to controvert any facts defendant supports in its statement of facts. The Court will consider the evidence plaintiff puts forth in determining whether there is a material issue of fact. Additional facts, however, are considered only if the non-moving party sets them out (and properly supports them) in a Rule 56.1 statement of additional facts.

  Defendant also complains that plaintiff has denied many of defendant's facts without putting forth admissible evidence and, thus, that all of defendant's facts should be deemed admitted. Defendant is correct that where one party supports a fact with admissible evidence and the other party denies the fact without citation to admissible evidence, the Court deems the fact admitted. See Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-818 (7th Cir. 2004). This, however, does not absolve defendant of its initial burden of putting forth admissible evidence to support its facts. Asserted "facts" not supported by deposition testimony, documents, affidavits or other evidence admissible for summary judgment purposes are not considered by the Court.*fn1 The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

  The company and Milo's employment

  Contour Saws is a subsidiary of DoALL Company, which manufactures sawing elements, sawing machines and cutting fluids, among other things. Contour Saws develops and manufactures DoALL industrial saw blades. It operates a manufacturing facility in Des Plaines, Illinois, where it employed about 100 individuals as of the year 2000. Each of those employees worked in one of five departments: Slitting/Edging, Bi-metal, Milling/Grinding, the Saw Plant or Carbide.

  The Carbide Department has been run, since 1996, by John Przybylski ("Przybylski"), the Vice President of Manufacturing. During the relevant time period, Tom Koszewski ("Koszewski") was the Foreman of the Carbide Department. Milo worked in the Carbide Department during most of his employment with Contour Saws.

  Contour Saws first hired Milo in 1990 as a high speed heat treat operator. In that position (and in all of his positions at Contour Saws), Milo worked the second shift, i.e., 4:45 p.m. to 2:45 a.m. Within one year, Contour Saws promoted Milo to a Carbide Department position, in which Milo operated a machine that brazed carbide cutting tips to the teeth of saw blades.

  Contour Saws promoted Milo again in 1997. At that time, his foreman recommended him for the position of second-shift lead man for the Carbide Department. Contour Saws selected Milo because he knew how to operate the machines and was able to train other employees. As lead man, Milo was responsible not only for operating his own brazing machine but also for directing the work of three second-shift Carbide employees, including Andrzej Rog ("Rog"), a brazer/setter; Eugeniusz Nowak, a grinder; and Vitthal Patel ("Patel"), a grinder. As lead man, Milo possessed the keys to Koszewski's office.

  Milo's discrimination complaints

  During his employment with Contour Saws, Milo (a 48-year-old Filipino man) witnessed what he considered to be discrimination and complained about it on a few occasions. At some point, Przybylski told Milo that because Milo is Filipino, he is quality-oriented and that because Przybylski is Polish, he takes pride in his work. In the spring of 2000, Milo complained to Koszewski that employees were calling other employees racist/offensive names, such as "wetbacks," "Pollocks," "Flips," and "Nigger."

  Also in the spring of 2000, Milo twice witnessed the disciplining of second-shift employee Vitthal Patel. At the first disciplinary meeting, at which Koszewski and Milo were present, Przybylski gave Patel a verbal warning. About a month later, the company set up a meeting to give Patel a written warning, because his performance again needed improvement. Before the meeting started, Koszewski and Milo waited for Przybylski and Patel. Koszewski told Milo that Przybylski had said that he hates Hindus, "Indian guys" and Patel because he is too old and too slow to move. (Przybylski, for his part, denies making the statement.) Milo asked Koszewski whether the company was disciplining Patel for his work or because Przybylski hated Indians and/or thought Patel was too old.

  Milo also complained to Human Resources Director Kenneth Stock ("Stock") about the distribution of overtime. Milo asserts that Alex Mejia, a Mexican carbide technician, received more overtime that he. Milo, however, routinely turned down overtime work, which typically required working on Friday (a day the employees usually did not work).

  Another incident that displeased Milo occurred in August 2000. Koszewski concluded that someone had been sleeping in his office and that things were missing. Accordingly, he decided that he no longer wanted anyone to have access to his office when he was not present. Koszewski required Milo to return the key to Koszewski's office.

  Events leading to the termination of Milo's employment with Contour Saws

  At some point, Contour Saws decided to phase out brazing. In the first quarter of 2000, DoALL's Sales Department informed Przybylski that the industry was changing to welded product. Contour maintains that it is more efficient to weld saws than to braze them because a typical brazer could braze three carbide tips per minute, while a typical welder could weld thirty carbide tips per minute. Contour Saws's shipments ...


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