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Torres v. Alltown Bus Services

April 28, 2008

NOEL TORRES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALLTOWN BUS SERVICES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Noel Torres ("Torres") filed an amended complaint against Alltown Bus Service, Inc. Torres alleges that Alltown Bus Services, Inc. violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act by discharging him on the basis of his age, race, color, national origin and disability. Torres also alleges that defendant illegally retaliated against him and that it subjected him to intentional infliction of emotional distress. Before the Court is defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part defendant's motion.

I. Background

Before the Court discusses the facts, it reiterates the importance of complying with Local Rule 56.1. Local Rule 56.1 outlines the requirements for the introduction of facts parties would like considered in connection with a motion for summary judgment. As the Court notes on its website (and has mentioned in multiple opinions), the Court enforces Local Rule 56.1 strictly. Facts that are argued but do not conform with the rule are not considered by the Court.*fn1 In addition, where one party supports a fact with admissible evidence and the other party denies the fact without citation to admissible evidence, the Court deems the fact admitted. See Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Services, Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-818 (7th Cir. 2004). This, however, does not absolve defendant of its initial burden of putting forth admissible evidence to support its facts. Asserted "facts" not supported by deposition testimony, documents, affidavits or other evidence admissible for summary judgment purposes are not considered by the Court.

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.

Defendant Alltown Bus Services, Inc. ("Alltown Bus" or "Alltown") provides bus services. During the relevant time period, Alltown Bus employed, among others, Joanne Ivory ("Ivory"). Ivory worked as Alltown's Safety Director.

Plaintiff Torres began working for Alltown Bus as a driver in September 2001. Ivory was one of the individuals who recruited Torres to Alltown Bus. They knew each other because both had previously been employed by a different bus company. Before Torres started working for Alltown, Ivory asked Torres if he had yet reached the age of 65. During his employment with Alltown, Ivory once asked Torres what his national origin was. Ivory never made any other comments about Torres's age, race or national origin.

On January 18, 2005, the bus Torres was driving made contact with a tree, and the bus was damaged. (Whether Torres crashed the bus into a tree or a tree branch came out and hit the bus is disputed, but the dispute is not relevant to this motion.)

Ivory, as Safety Director, investigated Torres's January 18 incident with the tree. Torres submitted a report that Ivory did not believe to be credible (for reasons not made clear in the record). Ivory's report of the incident read:

At approximately 5:20 pm on the above captioned date you came into the office and informed the Assistant Manager that while driving bus #647 you had been involved in a minor accident (while traveling N/B on Skokie Blvd., a car traveling in front of you made a sudden stop, you swerved to avoid the car and in doing so you hit a tree branch). Upon further investigation, it has been determined that the bus, #647, has extensive damage to the entire right side. Additionally, you have given untrue and conflicting statements to each manager that questioned you regarding this accident.

Company policy clearly states that all drivers are to report all accidents/incidents at the time of occurrence. Your failure to report this accident in a timely manner as well as provide a true account of said accident is a direct violation of company policy. Therefore, your employment with Alltown Bus Service, Inc. is hereby immediately terminated and you are not eligible to be re-hired.

On the afternoon or early evening of January 19, 2008, Ivory and Torres met to discuss the incident. At their meeting, Ivory told Torres that she was terminating his employment because she believed that he had given a false report.

Alltown Bus put forth undisputed evidence that Ivory was the sole decision-maker with respect to terminating Torres's employment. Alltown also put forth undisputed evidence that it had a policy that required bus drivers to provide true and immediate reports of any accidents. Ivory had told the bus drivers of this policy at safety meetings.

After his employment was terminated, Torres filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In his charge, Torres alleged that his employment was terminated unlawfully on the basis of his age, national origin and disability. He received a notice of right to sue. Ultimately, Torres filed this suit, claiming that his employment was terminated on the basis of his race, color and national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He also alleges that his employment was terminated on the basis of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") and on the basis of a disability in ...


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