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Williams v. Southern Illinois Riverboat/Casino Cruises

April 14, 2008


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


This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Anton Eberhart ("Eberhart"), an agent of the Illinois Gaming Board ("IGB") (Doc. 57). Plaintiff Kenneth Williams ("Williams") has responded to the motion (Doc. 71), and Eberhart has replied to that response (Doc. 76). Eberhart has also filed a supplemental reply (Doc. 81), which Williams has moved to strike or, in the alternative, to be allowed to respond to (Doc. 89). Eberhart has responded to the motion to strike (Doc. 94).

I. Motion to Strike (Doc. 89)

Eberhart's supplemental response points to Holmes v. Village of Hoffman Estates, 511 F.3d 673 (7th Cir. 2007), a case decided after his reply brief was submitted, and briefly explains how that case supports a proposition he had already put forth in earlier briefing. Williams asks the Court to strike it as it results in more than six pages of briefing in reply to his response. In this district, reply briefs may only be five pages long unless the Court gives permission for a longer brief. See Local Rule 7.1(d). Williams then attempts to sneak into his motion a response to Eberhart's second reply brief despite this district's flat prohibition on sur-reply briefs. See Local Rule 7.1(c).

The Court is well able to consider newly decided relevant cases without further specific briefing from the parties. Thus, it does not need Eberhart's second reply brief to properly decide this case. Accordingly, it will grant Williams's motion to strike (Doc. 89). It will also, however, disregard the substantive argument portions of Williams's motion because they are tantamount to a prohibited sur-reply brief.

II. Standard for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant 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 reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.This standard is applied with special scrutiny in cases that turn on issues of intent and credibility. Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000). Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden of proof, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).

In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Michas, 209 F.3d at 692. Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if "a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; accord Michas, 209 F.3d at 692.

III. Facts

Viewing all the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences in Williams's favor, the Court finds the admissible evidence establishes the following relevant facts.

On August 27, 2005, Williams and his wife patronized the casino in Metropolis, Illinois, owned by defendant Southern Illinois Riverboat/Casino Cruises, Inc. ("Harrah's"). On that day, Eberhart was working in the casino as an IGB agent. In that capacity, he had the authority to make arrests for crimes related to gaming and to assist the Metropolis Police Department ("MPD") in making other arrests.

Around 8:00 p.m. that night, Harrah's security personnel called Eberhart on a radio and asked him to come to the front entrance of the casino. When he arrived outside the front entrance, he spoke briefly with Harrah's security supervisor defendant Jerry Rednour ("Rednour"), who pointed Williams out to him. Williams was in the parking lot, was agitated and was speaking in a loud voice to passers-by. A number of Harrah's security personnel were also present. Rednour informed Eberhart that the casino manager had asked Williams to leave the casino and that, in leaving, Williams had become belligerent and had yelled at other casino patrons and had yelled expletives. Williams has submitted affidavit statements that he had not actually behaved this way, and the Court must take those statements as true for the purposes of this motion.

In the parking lot, Williams raised his voice to tell entering casino patrons that he had been kicked out of the casino for no reason at all, but he did not curse or threaten anyone.

Eberhart attempted to approach Williams to speak with him, but Williams was not interested in talking and instead walked away, although he found Eberhart more sympathetic than Harrah's security personnel. Eberhart spoke again with Harrah's security personnel. He then approached Williams a second time and asked him to relate what had happened from his perspective, but Williams remained unwilling to engage in conversation with Eberhart. Eventually, believing that Eberhart genuinely cared about him and was concerned about him, Williams told Eberhart in a very respectful way that Harrah's casino personnel had told him to leave the casino, that he ...

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