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Stinnett v. City of Chicago

October 5, 2009


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


AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge

On February 1, 2008, Plaintiff Gregory Stinnett filed the present one-count Complaint against Defendant City of Chicago alleging a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, based on his race. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Before the Court is the City's Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants the City's motion and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.


I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

When determining summary judgment motions, the Court derives the background facts from the parties' Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 statements. Specifically, Local Rule 56.1 assists the Court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file 'a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D. Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). In addition, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

The purpose of Rule 56.1 statements is to identify the relevant evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006). Moreover, the requirements for responses under Local Rule 56.1 are "not satisfied by evasive denials that do not fairly meet the substance of the material facts asserted." Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 528. In addition, the Court may disregard statements and responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005); see also Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 604 (7th Cir. 2006) ("district courts are entitled to expect strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1"). With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of the case.*fn1

II. Relevant Facts

A. Introduction

Stinnett is an African-American Ambulance Commander in the Chicago Fire Department ("CFD") (R. 83-1, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 3.) On March 7, 2007, Stinnett filed a charge of race discrimination against the CFD with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. ¶ 5.) After receiving his Notice of Right to Sue letter dated November 20, 2007, Stinnett filed the instant Complaint on February 1, 2008. (Id.) In his one-count Complaint, Stinnett alleges that the CFD failed to promote him to the position of Field Officer based on his race. (Id. ¶ 6.)

B. Stinnett's Work History and Structure of the Chicago Fire Department

Within the CFD is the Bureau of Operations, which consists of Emergency Medical Services ("EMS") and Fire Suppression and Rescue. (Id. ¶ 7.) The primary functions of EMS are medical treatment and patient transportation. (Id.) The career service ranks in EMS -- from lowest to highest -- are Fire Paramedic, Paramedic in Charge, Ambulance Commander, and Field Officer. (Id. ¶ 8.) Under the service rank for Field Officer, there are positions for Paramedic Field Officer ("Field Officer") and Paramedic Field Officer Per Contract ("Field Officer Per Contract"). (Id. ¶ 9.) The Field Officer Per Contract position originated in a 1992 labor agreement between Chicago Fire Fighters' Union and the City. (Id.) Pursuant to the 1992 labor agreement, CFD members holding the exempt rank of District Commander could accept the newly created career service Field Officer Per Contract position while maintaining their District Commander pay grade. (Id.)

When the CFD hired Stinnett in 1983, he was a Fire Paramedic on the EMS side of the Bureau of Operations. (Id. ¶ 10.) In 1989, the CFD promoted Stinnett to the position of Paramedic Officer. (Id.) After his promotion to Paramedic Officer, CFD changed the title of Stinnett's position to Paramedic in Charge. (Id.) In 1995, the CFD promoted Stinnett to Ambulance Commander based on Stinnett's seniority. (Id. ¶ 11.) As an Ambulance Commander, Stinnett's job responsibilities include supervising the ambulance ...

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