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Johnson v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.

October 1, 2010

PAMELA JOHNSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BRISTOL-MYERS SQUIBB COMPANY, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On March 24, 2010, Plaintiff Pamela Johnson filed the present three-count First Amended Complaint alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., as well as a common law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") against her employer Defendant Bristol-Myers Squibb Company ("Bristol-Myers"). Before the Court is Bristol-Myers' Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the Court grants Bristol-Myers' summary judgment motion as to Counts II and III of the First Amended Complaint, but denies Bristol-Myers' motion as to Johnson's sexual harassment claim as alleged in Count I.

BACKGROUND

On March 19, 2007, Bristol-Myers hired Johnson as a Territory Business Manager ("TBM") in the Company's Cardiovascular/Metabolics ("CV/Met") Division -- a position Johnson has held at all times from March 19, 2007 until the present. (R. 38-1, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 4; R. 40-1, Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 77.) As a CV/Met TBM, Johnson's job responsibilities include educating physicians on the benefits and safety of particular drugs, as well as making presentations and calls to physicians. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 5.) Johnson, who works out of her home, has had a sales territory that includes the western and southwest suburbs of Chicago. (Id.)

Beginning in January 2009, Gregory Baddick was Johnson's supervisor.*fn1 (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 77.) Baddick remained Johnson's supervisor until Bristol-Myers terminated his employment in February 2010. (Id.) Prior to becoming her supervisor, Baddick had touched Johnson's breasts, told her she had amazing breasts, and asked her if she wanted to "make out" so he could teach her how to relax and open a whole new world for her.*fn2 (Id. ¶ 84; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 47.) Further, in January 2008, Johnson maintains that Baddick sent her text messages propositioning her for sex. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 84; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 48.) The parties dispute whether Johnson complained about Baddick's conduct to District Business Manager Mark Barrett sometime in late 2007 or early 2008. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 85.) The parties also dispute whether Johnson complained to Barrett throughout 2009 that Baddick had propositioned her for sex and that Baddick continued to make sexual advances towards her throughout that time period. (Id. ¶ 86.)

Meanwhile, on January 13, 2009, shortly after Baddick became Johnson's supervisor, Baddick told Johnson during a field ride that he wanted to kiss her and then he placed Johnson's hand on his crotch. (Id. ¶ 88; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 49.) Prior to another field ride on January 18, 2009, Baddick sent Johnson text messages saying that he wanted to kiss her. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 88; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 50.) Sometime in early 2009, Johnson complained to her formal company mentor Etienne Scherrer, a Global Director in Oncology, that Baddick was behaving inappropriately. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 89, 90.) Scherrer advised Johnson to document her complaints about Baddick and told her to confront Baddick directly. (Id. ¶ 90.)

On August 26, 2009, Baddick and Johnson were driving to an appointment when Baddick directed Johnson to pull over the car, after which he started kissing her, took her hand and placed it on his penis, and then started rubbing his penis until he ejaculated. (Id. ¶ 92; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 51.) During that same day, Baddick stated that he knew how he would punish Johnson after which he threatened to take away her point position -- a position that gave her the job responsibility of developing a team to launch a new product. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 92.) Also on that same day, Baddick threatened to force Johnson to give him oral sex if she did not properly perform one of her job responsibilities. (Id.) Thereafter, on September 14, 2009, Johnson met with Scherrer and informed him that something awful had happened to her after which Scherrer told her to keep documenting the incidents. (Id. ¶ 93.) On September 16, 2009, Scherrer forwarded to Johnson a Bristol-Myers' corporate directive concerning sexual harassment that required Johnson to confront her perpetrator, compile documents, and then bring her issue to a supervisor or Human Resources. (Id. ¶ 94.) Johnson read the corporate directive and attempted to follow it. (Id.) The document Scherrer sent Johnson, however, was for Bristol-Myers' Canadian employees only. (Id.)

Meanwhile, after a company function on September 24, 2009, Baddick followed Johnson back to her car. (Id. ¶ 95; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 52.) Baddick entered Johnson's car after which Johnson attempted to push him out. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 95.) Baddick then sexually assaulted Johnson by forcing her to have unprotected sex with him. (Id.) After being sexually assaulted, Johnson continued to gather documentation and worked with her therapist in anticipation of reporting Baddick. (Id. ¶ 96.) Johnson also went to a gynecologist to determine if she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease or was pregnant as a result of the unprotected sex. (Id. ¶ 97.)

In January 2010, Johnson told Barrett that something horrible had happened to her at the September 24, 2009 dinner and that she did not want to do another field day with Baddick. (Id. ¶ 98; Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 57.) Also in January 2010, Baddick tried to kiss Johnson and touched her breast. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 54.) After Barrett contact Human Resources about Johnson's sexual harassment complaints in January 2010, Bristol-Myers conducted an investigation, and on February 8, 2010, Bristol-Myers terminated Baddick's employment. (Id. ¶¶ 58, 72.)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when "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)(2). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91

L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After "a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party 'must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (requiring adverse party to "set out specific facts").

ANALYSIS

I. Sexual Harassment/Hostile Work Environment ...


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