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Jackson v. Daubert Chemical Co. Inc.

April 20, 2006

ARTHUR S. JACKSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DAUBERT CHEMICAL CO. INC., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant Daubert Chemical Co., Inc.'s ("DCC") motion for summary judgment and motion to strike, and on Plaintiff Arthur S. Jackson's ("Jackson") motion to strike and to bar an expert witness. For the reasons stated below, we grant DCC's motion for summary judgment in part and deny the motion in part as moot. We also deny as moot DCC's motion to strike and deny Jackson's motion to strike and to bar an expert witness.

BACKGROUND

Jackson alleges that he is an African-American man and that in 1993, he began working for DCC as a drum filler. Jackson alleges that during his employment at DCC, he observed negative conduct at the workplace relating to African-American people. For instance, Jackson claims that Greg Kozicki, a DCC employee, wore a t-shirt with Klu Klux Klan figures on it at work. Jackson also states that he heard Ron Sobrowski, a supervisor at DCC, tell Charles Griffin ("Griffin"), an African-American employee, that Griffin should not go to Indiana and implied that this was because of Griffin's race. Jackson also claims that Patrick Sherrick ("Sherrick"), another employee at DCC, stated that he wished he was a police officer so that he could "arrest Black people." (Compl. Par. 10(c)).

According to Jackson, Griffin filed a discrimination charge against DCC with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and Jackson was told to meet with a DCC lawyer to discuss the allegations of racial harassment made by Griffin. Jackson alleges that he told the lawyer about the racist conduct that he had seen at work. Jackson states that in 2004, he testified in a deposition for the Griffin case.

Jackson alleges that after he was deposed in the Griffin case, Jackson's supervisor Mike Farns ("Farns") began to monitor Jackson's work and breaks more closely than he had before Jackson's involvement in the Griffin case. Jackson further alleges that graffiti was discovered in the DCC locker room, which DCC contends stated "It's over for you a__hole." (SF Par. 111). DCC asserts that it employed a handwriting expert to determine which employee was responsible for the graffiti. Jackson claims that Farns and his other supervisor Brian Bell ("Bell") eventually suspended Jackson for writing the graffiti and DCC refused to provide him with any information or evidence supporting the decision to suspend him. According to Jackson, he was required to submit to a series of examinations by a psychologist in order to return to work after his suspension. Jackson contends that he attended three sessions with the psychologist, as was required. Jackson also alleges that on January 24, 2005, he returned to work and that after he had worked nearly his entire shift, he was told he could not continue to work until he signed an agreement, acknowledging that he was obligated to follow the DCC Workplace Violence Policy ("Agreement"). Jackson states that although he had previously signed such an agreement, he signed the new Agreement after consulting with counsel and the Human Resources Department at DCC.

Jackson brought the instant action and includes in his complaint a claim alleging retaliation in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981") (Count I), and a claim alleging retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Count II). DCC has moved for summary judgment on both claims.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In seeking a grant of summary judgment, the moving party must identify "those portions of 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings, but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences that favor the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

I. Section 1981 Retaliation Claim (Count I)

DCC argues that a plaintiff cannot present a Section 1981 claim based upon retaliation for opposing racial discrimination. A Section 1981 claim, unlike a Title VII claim, "encompasses only racial discrimination on account of the plaintiff's race and does not include a prohibition against retaliation for opposing racial discrimination." Hart v. Transit Mgmt. of Racine, Inc., 426 F.3d 863, 866 (7th Cir. 2005). Regardless of the propriety of Jackson's Section 1981 claim, Jackson indicates in his answer to DCC's motion for summary judgment that "Plaintiff will not pursue his § 1981 claim." (Ans. 15). Therefore, we grant Jackson's motion to voluntarily dismiss his Section 1981 claim (Count I) and deny DCC's motion for summary judgment on the Section 1981 retaliation claim as moot.

II. Title VII Retaliation Claim (Count II)

DCC moves for summary judgment on the Title VII retaliation claim (Count II). In order for a plaintiff to defeat a motion for summary judgment on a Title VII retaliation claim, the plaintiff can proceed under either the direct method of proof or the indirect method of proof. Haywood v. Lucent Techs., Inc., 323 F.3d 524, 531 (7th Cir. 2003); Rudin v. Lincoln Land Cmy. Coll., 420 F.3d 712, 719-21 (7th Cir. 2005). Under the direct method of proof, a ...


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