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Melissa A. Banks v. Catch A Star Learning Center

February 8, 2011

MELISSA A. BANKS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CATCH A STAR LEARNING CENTER, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe Billy Mcdade United States Senior District Judge

Tuesday, 10:39:01 AM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION and ORDER

Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant, Catch a Star Learning Center, Inc. (Doc. 22). The Motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, alleges that Defendant, her former employer, treated her unfavorably in her employment and that her employment was terminated on account of her race and in retaliation for her opposition to discrimination. The Charge of Discrimination that Plaintiff filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights states that she was a child care teacher whose employment was terminated in May, 2008. In a document attached to the Complaint and entitled "Facts & Information," Plaintiff further asserts that, at some unspecified time, she was removed from her regular classroom, the "Shooting Stars" room, and became a "floater" who was placed in other classrooms and who was expected to do janitorial work. Plaintiff further states that the reason given for her termination was because she failed to turn in her "schedule." Neither the Complaint nor the "Facts & Information" document attached to the Complaint are in the form of an affidavit, although both are signed by Plaintiff.

The undisputed facts reveal that Plaintiff is African-American and that she was employed by Defendant from January 6, 2005 to May 9, 2008 as a part-time teacher in the "Shooting Stars" room and as a "floater" who worked in various other rooms. In particular, from June to August, 2007, Plaintiff worked as a floater and from August, 2007 to January, 2008, Plaintiff worked in the Shooting Stars room. (Kimberly Hare Affidavit ¶ 7). Defendant offers no guarantee that any teacher will be assigned to any particular classroom. (Hare Aff. ¶ 9). At the time of her employ, Plaintiff was a student at Western Illinois University. In January, 2008, due to her class schedule, Plaintiff was unavailable to work on Mondays and Defendant reassigned her as a floater. (Hare Aff. ¶ 6). At the same time, Defendant reassigned three other part-time teachers, who are white, as floaters due to changes in their class schedules. (Hare Aff. ¶ 8).

In March, 2008, Kimberly Hare, who is the Director of Catch A Star Learning Center, placed "availability sheets" in the break-room to be completed by part-time teachers, such as Plaintiff. Hare states that the documentation is necessary and mandated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services regulations. (Hare Aff. ¶ 10). Hare did not receive a completed form from Plaintiff and informed her of the deficiency on April 28, 2008. (Hare Aff. ¶14). All other part-time teachers, who wanted to be scheduled for work, filled out the form. (Hare Aff. ¶ 13). Hare states that Plaintiff never turned in an availability form and that, by May 9, 2008, she had "filled the schedule with other teachers who had turned in their availability sheets." (Hare, Aff. ¶ 16).

When Defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment, Plaintiff was informed, by Notice, that a case dispositive Motion had been filed and reference was made to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. Plaintiff has not submitted any evidence to support her claims.

STANDARD

Summary judgment should be granted where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The moving party has the responsibility of informing the Court as to portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by demonstrating "that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.

Once the movant has met its burden, to survive summary judgment the "non-movant must show through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact remains on issues on which [s]he bears the burden of proof at trial." Warsco v. Preferred Tech. Group, 258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001); See also Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-24. "The non-movant may not rest upon mere allegations in the pleadings or upon conclusory statements in affidavits; it must go beyond the pleadings and support its contentions with proper documentary evidence." Chemsource, Inc. v. Hub Group, Inc., 106 F.3d 1358, 1361 (7th Cir. 1997).

This Court must nonetheless "view the record and all inferences drawn from it in the light most favorable to the [non-moving party]." Holland v. Jefferson Nat. Life Ins. Co., 883 F.2d 1307, 1312 (7th Cir. 1989). In doing so, this Court is not "required to draw every conceivable inference from the record -- only those inferences that are reasonable." Bank Leumi Le-Isreal, B.M. v. Lee, 928 F.2d 232, 236 (7th Cir. 1991). Therefore, if the record before the court "could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party," then no genuine issue of material fact exists and, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. McClendon v. Indiana Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789, 796 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). However, in ruling on ...


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