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Broberg v. Illinois State Police

February 4, 2008

LORINDA BROBERG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ILLINOIS STATE POLICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the court on the motion of Defendant Illinois State Police ("ISP") for summary judgment on the complaint of Plaintiff Lorinda Broberg. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

Broberg is a former employee of ISP. She joined the force in March 1997 and worked in various capacities as a trooper, instructor, and investigator until January 2003, when she became a Vehicle Inspection Officer. Though her primary duties were in that position, she also retained her responsibilities as a trooper.

Beginning in June 2000, various incidents involving Broberg took place that ISP now contends show a pattern of increasingly bizarre behavior. They included an altercation between Broberg and a fellow officer, an inspection of the emergency brakes on ISP training vehicles after Broberg expressed concern whether they were functioning properly, references to items such as a frog and a colleague's intuition that coincided with aspects of Broberg's personal life, and Broberg's belief that some of her co-workers were playing a riddle game with her.

In 2002, ISP's Division of Internal Investigations investigated a complaint filed by a man named Chuck O'Connor whom Broberg had dated two years before for approximately 6 months. During the investigation, Broberg was accused of various displays of irrational conduct, all of which she denies.

In March 2003, the O'Connor complaint was to be discussed at a meeting of the Disciplinary Review Board. Two days before the meeting was to be held, Broberg reported that a fellow officer had made a sexually harassing comment to her the week before. She also contended that another officer had told a gas station attendant about the contents of an email message she had sent to O'Connor. The two officers she named were admonished by her supervising officer, Captain Emad Eassa.

In June, Captain Eassa decided to issue a written reprimand to Broberg in response to the allegations made by O'Connor. The ISP regional office approved of Eassa's decision to issue the reprimand.

On September 1, 2003, Broberg had conversations with two telecommunicators who were on duty for ISP. According to ISP, Broberg made reference to being threatened by a gang member and a fireman, made comments that her lieutenant had been sent to get rid of her, and stated in different ways that she would use her weapon as she had been trained to do. According to Broberg, she spoke only with regard to an upcoming munitions training that she would be required to undergo.

The next day, Broberg was removed from duty and was required to undergo a psychological examination to determine her fitness for duty. The following month, she was examined by Dr. Cherry Weber, a clinical psychologist not associated with or employed by ISP. After interviewing Broberg and examining various documents provided to her by ISP, Weber concluded that Broberg suffered from a major depressive disorder and paranoid personality disorder. She recommended that Broberg be found unfit for duty with ISP.

In November 2003, the ISP Medical Review Board met to discuss Broberg's case and decided to follow Weber's recommendation. In January 2004, Broberg underwent an examination by Dr. Toby Motycka, another clinical psychologist. After examining Broberg, Motycka disagreed with Weber's diagnosis and opined that Broberg was in fact fit for duty as a state trooper. After receiving Motycka's report, ISP required Broberg to meet again with Weber to determine whether her condition had improved since her October 2003 evaluation. Contemporaneously, Broberg filed a charge with the EEOC alleging discrimination on the basis of sex and disability.

After meeting with Broberg the second time, Weber did not change her conclusion. ISP concluded that Broberg was unfit for duty and placed her on a nonoccupational disability leave for an indefinite period of time.

Broberg has not returned to duty with ISP since September 2, 2003. Though she remains on nonoccupational disability leave as an employee of ISP, she now works as an officer with a police department in Florida.

On July 20, 2006, Broberg filed a three-count complaint against ISP. Count I alleges that ISP unlawfully discriminated against her on the basis of a perceived disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Rehabilitation Act. Count II asserts violations of Title VII in the form of sex discrimination. Count III contends that ISP unlawfully retaliated against Broberg for her filing of charges in 2003 and 2004. ...


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