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Moore v. Shaw

July 8, 2010

TRAVIS W. MOORE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRANK L. SHAW, ROGER E. WALKER, JR., BARBARA HURT, RICHARD BARD, LAURA NORTON, AND PAUL CAMPBELL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

Now before the Court is Defendants Frank L. Shaw's, Roger E. Walker, Jr.'s, Barbara Hurt's, Richard Bard's, Laura Norton's, and Paul Campbell's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion [#20] is GRANTED.

JURISDICTION

This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as the claims asserted in the Complaint present federal questions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983").

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Travis W. Moore ("Moore") has been employed by the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") since September 16, 1996. In 2004, Moore held the rank of correctional officer, and was assigned to the Hill Correctional Center ("Hill"), which was operated by IDOC. Both correctional officers and sergeants at Hill are part of the RC-6 bargaining unit for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ("AFSCME") union (hereinafter "Union"). The Union serves as the exclusive bargaining representative for its members, including Moore, pursuant to its collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") with the State of Illinois.

In December 2003, IDOC posted information regarding the vacancy of five correctional sergeant positions at Hill. IDOC's Employment Bid Record for the correctional sergeant positions shows that 29 people bid on the five vacancies.*fn1 See Dft's Motion for Summary Judgment ("MSJ"), Exh. 3. The filling of the five vacancies was governed by the CBA. A Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between AFSCME and IDOC set forth the instructions for how candidates for sergeant would be evaluated. Pursuant to the MOU, applicants for sergeant were evaluated in 7 categories, and the applicants would receive a copy of the interview and evaluation sheet at the time they bid for the position. The best possible score, averaging all three interviewers' scores, was 70. The MOU further provided: "A variation of 10 points between candidates' scores is an indication of relatively equal ability. If the difference in points between candidates is 10 or less, the most senior candidate will be selected." Dft's MSJ, Exh. 6, p. 00393. Therefore, if the less senior candidate's score was more than 10 points higher than a more senior candidate's score, the less senior candidate would be awarded the position.

The MOU set forth the seven categories of evaluation: educational achievement, use of time, disciplinary action, written reports, supervisor's evaluation, experience, and interview (by three interviewers). The highest scoring applicant for the five vacant sergeant positions received a 70, Moore and another applicant each received the next highest score of 63, a fourth applicant received a 60, and the fifth highest score was 59. The evaluators drew the line at 60, then redrew it at 59, taking the most senior person in the second pool in order to fill the fifth vacancy. On February 23, 2004, Moore was one of the five applicants chosen to fill the vacancies, and he was promoted to sergeant at Hill in March 2004. Moore proceeded to work in his new position as correctional sergeant for more than 6 months.

Before Moore learned of his promotion, on or about January 27, 2004, the local Union 1274 filed a contract grievance in which it challenged Hill Correctional Center management's scoring of the candidates for the 5 vacant sergeant positions. The grievance contended that procedures in the MOU were not followed, specifically that candidates were scored incorrectly, and that the line redrawing to measure relative equality among candidates was not properly done. Moore had previously learned, during an executive board meeting, that the Union was going to file grievances regarding the sergeant promotions because it believed there was cheating and the process was not done fairly. Pursuant to the CBA, the grievance process consisted of four levels. At the first level, the grievance is submitted by the Union to an immediate supervisor. AFSCME-State of Illinois CBA, pp.5-6. If there is no resolution, the Union submits its grievance at the second level, to the warden of the correctional center. Id. at 6-7. When no resolution is reached there, its grievance is presented at the third level, to the Agency Head. Id. at7. At the fourth level, the Union may appeal the grievance to a pre-arbitration staff meeting, which means that the Illinois Department of Central Management Services ("CMS") labor relations division becomes involved to attempt resolution. Id. at 7-8. Finally, when the grievance process remains unresolved at the fourth level, the Union submits the grievance to binding arbitration. Id. at 8-9. The CBA provides that "The decision and award of the arbitrator shall be final and binding on the Employer, the Union, and the employee or employees involved." Id. at 9.

Local Union 1274's grievance remained unresolved through all four levels, and so it was submitted to binding arbitration. On June 1, 2, and 9, 2005, the arbitrator held a hearing on the Union's grievance, during which the Union and IDOC management presented testimony and evidence. Steve Sturm, an attorney employed in labor relations at CMS, represented IDOC and CMS. Sturm, Patricia Torri, IDOC's northern region labor relations administrator, and Justin Smock, IDOC's assistant chief of labor relations, prepared for the arbitration by assisting Hill Correctional Center, gathering documentation, and selecting and prepping witnesses.

On August 15, 2005, the arbitrator issued his decision. He determined that the scorers at Hill did not have a consistent standard to use in scoring for the experience category. The arbitrator further determined that the MOU required documentation for any claim of outside experience or internal training, and that what the facility can accept as documentation for claims of experience was up to the facility to decide, within reason. As a result, the arbitrator proceeded to review the Hill sergeant promotion candidates' individual interview packets on the criterion of "Experience." The arbitrator noted that Moore received 2 points for documented outside experience, and 3 points for undocumented Departmental Training. He determined that given the lack of any documentation for the Departmental Training, awarding points for that violated the MOU, and so the arbitrator reduced Moore's score for experience by 3 points. The arbitrator adjusted the scores to account for the errors he discussed, and ranked the top candidates in score order. The arbitrator also determined that IDOC failed to appropriately redraw the line, pursuant to the MOU, in order to select from a group of relatively equal candidates. Once he properly redrew the line to select from a group of relatively equal candidates, Moore was no longer one of the five applicants to be promoted. The arbitrator ultimately made the Award that the sergeant's promotion originally offered to Moore should instead go to Officer Hall, as he was senior to Moore. The arbitrator further stated that Hall's promotion was to be retroactive to the date on which Moore was promoted, and that the newly promoted officer was entitled to back pay and credit for service as a Correctional Sergeant for that date. Dft's MSJ, Exh. 6, p. 45.

Moore did not know where the arbitration hearing was held or when it was held, he was not called as a witness at the hearing, and no representative of either IDOC or CMS contacted him concerning anything associated with his promotion. Torri, in preparing IDOC's case for the arbitration hearing, was aware that the Union made claims of improper point awards to the successful candidates, but she did not look into that issue and knew of no one else involved in the preparations who did. During her deposition, Torri stated that a person could not have testified during the arbitration unless one side or the other called the person to do so, and she did not know what information the arbitrator had in front of him regarding Moore's experience.

Moore received a copy of the arbitration decision shortly after it was made. Torri met with Hill Correctional Center's warden, Defendant Frank L. Shaw ("Warden Shaw"), to discuss the arbitrator's award, and directed him on how to implement the award. Thereafter, Warden Shaw attempted to retain Moore in a sergeant position, and had discussions with the Union about retaining Moore as a sergeant. The Union indicated to Warden Shaw that the arbitration award was very specific, that Moore was not to be a sergeant because someone else was entitled to the position, and that the Union was unwilling to make a change or allow Moore to retain the sergeant position. On September 9, 2005, Moore was given written notice of his demotion from sergeant to Correctional Officer. Moore did discuss his demotion with Warden Shaw before it became effective, and Shaw indicated that he would see if Moore could remain a sergeant. Warden Shaw subsequently informed Moore that he could not be retained as sergeant. Moore also approached the Union to file a grievance on his behalf in regard to the demotion, but the Union refused to do so because his demotion had already been decided in the arbitration. Moore's demotion was effective on September 26, 2005. After that, there was some further attempt made to file a grievance regarding Moore's demotion, but it was not pursued.

On September 26, 2007, Moore filed his Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 against Warden Shaw, Roger E. Walker, Jr. ("Walker"), IDOC's Director, Barbara Hurt, IDOC's Deputy Director, Richard Bard, IDOC's Chief of Labor Relations, Laura Norton, IDOC's Chief of Personnel, and Paul Campbell ("Campbell"), Director of CMS. Moore named each of the defendants in their individual and official capacities, alleging that his demotion occurred in violation of his rights under the Due Process Clause of the ...


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