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Pratt v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections

December 11, 2007

JAMES PRATT, CARLA MURRAY, AND ERIC GRIFFIN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND TERRY MCCANN, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) as to the claims made by Plaintiff Eric Griffin (Griffin)(Doc. 31)*fn1 . Griffin has responded to the motion (Doc. 37) and IDOC has replied to that response (Doc. 48). Griffin alleges that IDOC, his former employer, is liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., for racial discrimination and for retaliation.*fn2 IDOC contends that two of Griffin's claims are time barred and that Griffin cannot establish a case for racial discrimination or for retaliation. For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is proper where "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 judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The Court construes all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all justifiable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

The moving party has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. If it meets this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth facts that demonstrate the existence of a genuine issue of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). The nonmoving party must do more than cast "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000). Rather, the nonmoving party must demonstrate to the Court that the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in his favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Insolia v. Phillip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2000). Mere assertions of a factual dispute unsupported by probative evidence will not prevent summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-250.

II. Facts

Taken in the light most favorable to Griffin, the evidence establishes the following facts.

A. IDOC's Racial Discrimination Policy

Griffin, an African American , worked as a corrections officer (CO) at Shawnee Correctional Center (Shawnee), a medium security State facility operated and maintained by IDOC in Massac County, Illinois. At all relevant times, IDOC had a written policy regarding racial discrimination and retaliation, Administrative Directive (A.D.) 03.01.307. As of March 1, 2000, that policy prohibited discrimination or harassment based on a person's race or color. It defined harassment as: verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual . . . because of race. . ., and that has the purpose or effect of:

1. Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment;

2. Unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or

3. Otherwise adversely affecting an individual's employment opportunities.

A.D. 03.01.037 § II.E. The policy applied to the treatment of both employees and prisoners of the facility. The policy forbid engaging in or condoning racial discrimination or harassment, and obligated supervisors to "address[] any observed or reported incident of discrimination or harassment as a serious form of employee misconduct." Id. at § II.G.3. It also required an employee who witnessed or was aware of discriminatory or harassing behavior to report it in an incident report. Id. at § II.H.3. Wardens at Shawnee were required to work within the policy's ...


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