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Gratzl v. Office of the Chief Judges of the 12th

July 22, 2008

JEANNE GRATZL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUDGES OF THE 12TH, 18TH, 19TH AND 22ND JUDICIAL CIRCUITS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

In her two-count Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Jeanne Gratzl alleges violations of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12111, et seq., against her former employer, the Office of the Chief Judges of the 12th, 18th, 19th, and 22nd Judicial Circuit Courts of Illinois ("Office of the Chief Judges"). Before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant's motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Introduction

In July 2001, Defendant, who employs court reporters for DuPage County Courthouse, hired Jeanne Gratzl as a Court Reporting Specialist. (R. 50-1, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 2, 3.) Since December 2005, Ann Jorgensen has been the Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial Circuit. (Id. ¶ 3.) Gratzl has had a problem with incontinence since her uterus and cervix prolapsed during a pregnancy in 1989. (Id. ¶ 5.) Following this pregnancy, Gratzl had a partial hysterectomy and anterior and posterior repair. (Id. ¶ 6.) To avoid accidents, Gratzl must get to a washroom within moments of feeling the urge to urinate. (R. 59-1, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 2.) Prior to working for the Office of the Chief Judges, Gratzl taught court reporting at McCormick College in Elmhurst, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 3.) As a teacher, Gratzl was able to leave the classroom whenever it was necessary to do so. (Id.) After the Elmhurst campus of McCormick College closed, Gratzl began working at the DuPage County Courthouse. (Id.; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 2.)

II. Court Reporters at the DuPage County Courthouse

At the DuPage County Courthouse, court reporters work in the felony criminal courtrooms, juvenile and mental health courtrooms, as well as for the grand jury. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 12.) Court reporters electronically record the activities in the remaining courtrooms. (Id.) More specifically, while in a control room, court reporters watch and listen to monitors showing the activities in the courtrooms that have electronic recording. (Id. ¶ 13.) Each of these court reporters monitors four courtrooms at a time to ensure that the electronic scanners are properly functioning during various court proceedings. (Id.) After Gratzl completed her training period, she was assigned to the control room full time. (Id. ¶ 16.) Gratzl testified that she applied for the control room position because it would accommodate her incontinence problem. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 5.)

III. Reorganization of Court Reporters

On approximately December 30, 2005, the Coordinator of Court Reporting Services for the State of Illinois issued a memorandum stating that effective January 1, 2006, the job title "Court Reporting Specialist" would be eliminated statewide, and all court reporters would be consolidated under the title "Official Court Reporter." (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 24.) After the elimination of the title "Court Reporting Specialist," the local courts determined what duties to assign court reporters. (Id. ¶ 25.) The regulations governing the operation of the Court Reporting Services provide:

Implementation of a rotational schedule by the Chief Judge is recommended.

Court reporting services employees should be pooled and rotated at a regular interval as determined by the Chief Judge. The purpose of rotation is to evenly distribute work loads among courts with heavier or lighter cases or transcript volume. A rotation schedule should act to equalize transcript work loads. Such rotation shall occur on a circuit-wide or county-wide basis as determined by the Chief Judge. (Id. ¶ 27.) After consulting these regulations, Chief Judge Jorgensen decided to implement a full rotation in which all court reporters would work in both the courtrooms and the control room. (Id. ¶ 28.)

IV. Gratzl's Meeting with Chief Judge Jorgensen

After the reorganization of court reporters at the DuPage County Courthouse, Gratzl attended a meeting with Chief Judge Jorgensen, Court Administrator Gary Dodge, and Court Reporter Supervisor Ernie Scola on March 22, 2006. (Id. ¶ 29.) At that meeting, Chief Judge Jorgensen told Gratzl that she would have to go into the full rotation with the other court reporters or else she would have to resign her position with the DuPage County Courts. (Id.; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 13.) After Chief Judge Jorgensen told Gratzl that she had to go into the full rotation, Gratzl informed Chief Judge Jorgensen that she could not do in-court reporting due to her incontinence. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 30; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 16.) This was the first time that Gratzl had conveyed to Chief Judge Jorgensen that she needed easy access to a washroom due to her incontinence. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 30; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 16.)

On March 24, 2006, Chief Judge Jorgensen sent Gratzl a letter memorializing their March 22, 2006 meeting giving Gratzl a deadline of April 14, 2006 to decide whether to participate in the full rotation or to resign her position as a court reporter. (Id. ¶ 35; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 17-18.) In the March 24, 2006 letter, Chief Judge Jorgensen noted "[b]ecause there is only one job title for court reporters it is a natural consequence that job responsibilities should be consistent." (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ...


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