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Eruteya v. City of Chicago

March 30, 2006

PATRICIA I. ERUTEYA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David H. Coar United States District Judge

HONORABLE DAVID H. COAR

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Patricia I. Eruteya ("Plaintiff") is suing her employer, the City of Chicago ("Defendant" or "the City"), for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d)(1). Before this court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment, to which Plaintiff did not respond. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Defendant's motion is granted as to the disparate treatment claim in Count I, and to Counts II, III, and IV in their entirety. Defendant's motion is denied as to the hostile work environment claim in Count I.

I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate 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). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if there is sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Schuster v. Lucent Technologies, Inc., 327 F.3d 569, 573 (7th Cir. 2003).

The movant bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant meets this burden, the non-movant must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. To successfully oppose the motion, the non-movant must designate these facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions; the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Under the Local Rules, the non-movant must file the opposing affidavits and other materials described above, a memorandum of law in opposition to the motion, and a concise statement responding to each of the movant's facts and alerting the Court to additional material facts. See Local Rule 56.1(b).

Where, as here, the non-movant fails to respond to the motion for summary judgment, the movant's version of the facts are deemed admitted. See Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B); Smith v. Lanz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) ("[A] failure to respond by the non-movant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission."). Summary judgment then will be entered in the movant's favor if, using the standard outlined above, such a ruling is appropriate. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) ("If the adverse party does not so respond, summary judgment, if appropriate, shall be entered against the adverse party").

II. FACTS

Because Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's motion for summary judgment, as indicated above, all of the following material facts are taken from Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement.

Plaintiff is employed in the position of Microbiologist IV in the City's Department of Water Management ("the Department"). She was hired in 1987, promoted once, and promoted again to her current position in 1998. She has been the only employee in her current position since 1998. Her duties include analyzing drinking water for bacteria, completing and checking monthly reports of water testing results, and training entry-level microbiologists. Defendant is a municipal corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Illinois.

Plaintiff claims that the City has operated under a policy and practice of relegating her to second class citizenship, discriminating against her, and harassing her because of her race (black) and national original (Nigerian). Plaintiff believes the Department's supervisors, Krystyna Markiewicz, Ellen Flanagan, Charles Bowling, Lorenzo Sanchez, and Commissioner Richard Rice are the former and current policymakers who created this policy. These and the specific allegations detailed below were initially raised in Plaintiff's five-count, Second Amended Complaint. It alleges national origin and race discrimination pursuant to Title VII; retaliation pursuant to Title VII; race discrimination, harassment and retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981; and violation of the Equal Pay Act. On March 9, 2005, this Court dismissed the Complaint's fifth count, which alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress under state law.

A. Toxic Chemical Dumping

Plaintiff claims that, as part of her treatment as a second class citizen, other employees are threatening her life by dumping chemicals and biological agents on her work area. While Plaintiff has not observed anyone placing chemicals at her work area, found physical evidence of such chemicals, or had her clothing or other items tested for chemicals, she claims that a person in the Chemistry Department (where all employees must work with toxic chemicals) named Saddique Ibudraac is mixing the offending chemicals. She knew such chemicals were present when she experienced burns and a burning sensation in September of 2001.

On January 8, 2002, Plaintiff sought treatment from Dr. Richard Gaskill ("Dr. Gaskill"). Though plaintiff complained during her initial visit that she was absorbing toxic chemicals, Dr. Gaskill did not find that she presented symptoms of toxic exposure. He ordered laboratory tests (including a creatine kinase, lead, and thyroid test) but was unable to conclude from the results that Plaintiff was exposed to toxic chemicals or had any elevated levels that would tend to be symptomatic of toxic exposure.

On January 27, 2002, Plaintiff complained to Dr. Gaskill about symptoms of a burning rash caused by chemical exposure at work. After examining Plaintiff the next day, Dr. Gaskill told her that he did not observe any rashes or symptoms of toxic exposure. Plaintiff does not believe the findings contained in the medical record of that examination.

B. Racial Comments and Gestures

Plaintiff claims that white, subordinate employees have made racial comments and gestures to taunt and frustrate Plaintiff. She claims that other blacks have experienced specific instances of discrimination as well. According to Plaintiff, for example, microbiologist Sharon Cisneros told Plaintiff that "some people want to belong, but they can never belong" and that blacks should not go beyond high school. On another occasion, Sharon Cisneros allegedly made a hand gesture to indicate that Plaintiff was crazy. Plaintiff claims that another microbiologist, Mark Cloherty, said to Plaintiff, "why ...


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