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Clemmer v. Office of the Chief Judge of Circuit Court of Cook County

May 9, 2007

REGINA CLEMMER, PLAINTIFF
v.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUDGE OF CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY AND STATE OF ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marvin E. Aspen, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendants, the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County and the State of Illinois, move for summary judgment with respect to both counts of plaintiff Regina Clemmer's complaint. Clemmer alleges that the defendants, through the actions of a Cook County Circuit Court judge and Clemmer's supervisors, engaged in sex discrimination and retaliation against her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. We grant the defendants' motion on Count I, Clemmer's sex discrimination claim, and grant in part the motion on Count II, Clemmer's retaliation claim. We deny the motion with respect to Count II as it pertains to the specific issue of Clemmer's alleged increased assignments to "TBA" status after she filed discrimination claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

I. Factual Background

a. Job Overview

Clemmer has worked as an official court reporter for the Circuit Court of Cook County, South Municipal Division, since 1995. (Defs' Stmt. of Facts (SOF) at ¶ 4.) Although the identity of her official employer has changed several times since she started working for the Circuit Court, she has at all times been paid by the State of Illinois, and she is currently employed by the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County. (Id.) Clemmer's regular work hours are from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, although she and the other court reporters have in practice been able to leave early (for the same base pay) after completing work at one of the branch courthouses outside of Chicago or at the discretion of their supervisors. (Id. at ¶¶ 8-10 and 24-26.) Clemmer is paid a base salary, but the parties both acknowledge that she is also paid by private attorneys and state and local government agencies for at least some of the transcripts she produces. (Id. at ¶ 10; Pl's Resp. to ¶ 10; Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss at 2.)

b. Harassment and Hostile Work Environment Allegations

Clemmer alleges that, beginning in September 2001, she was subject to unwanted Advances from Judge Anthony Iosco, a judge assigned to the Circuit Court's domestic violence division from January 2001 to June 2003. (Pl's SOF at ¶¶ 80-82.) Clemmer was assigned to work as a court reporter in Judge Iosco's courtroom "approximately five to six times each month" in 2001 and 2002. (Id. at ¶ 79.) Clemmer alleges that Judge Iosco took the following actions and made the following comments:

* In July 2001, he said to Clemmer as she was leaving for the day, "be good when you go home tonight" (id. at ¶ 80);

* On or about September 28, 2001, he brushed against Clemmer's backside with his body as they were waiting in a hallway, even though the hallway was wide enough for two people to pass by one another without making contact (id. at ¶ 81);

* On a later date, he approached Clemmer as she was parking her car and said, "I do not usually drive, but now I know where to drive. I know where you park." (Id. at ¶ 83)

* From September 2001 to January 2002, he referred to Clemmer as "beautiful" or looking good" approximately 20-25 times (id. at ¶ 84);

* During the same time span, he addressed Clemmer as "honey" or "dear" approximately 10-20 times (id. at ¶ 85);

* On an unspecified date, he commented that Clemmer's earrings "sure look beautiful on you" (id. at ¶ 86);

* On or about November 19, 2001, after Clemmer arrived late to work due to bad traffic, Judge Iosco asked Clemmer if she was "frazzled" and told her "you sure look great to be frazzled." (Id. at ¶ 87)

* In August 2002, Judge Iosco when Clemmer was working on a different floor of the courthouse than Judge Iosco, he once stood outside the room in which she was working and stared at her. (Id. at ¶ 92.)

Clemmer states that she was subject to other harassing conduct, but she does not specify the conduct or the dates on which that conduct occurred.*fn1 She states that the alleged harassment triggered a stress-related medical condition, and that on at least one instance, she was forced to call in ...


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