IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
March 1, 2011
SPRINGFIELD DIVISION MICHAEL A. SANDERS, PLAINTIFF,
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CENTRAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge
Tuesday, 01 March, 2011 02:53:23 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
OPINION The Court now considers Plaintiff Michael A. Sanders' Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing. See (d/e 22). It also considers the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Petition For Mandamus and Emergency Hearing. For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff's Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing is STRICKEN and the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Petition For Mandamus and Emergency Hearing is DENIED AS MOOT.
On August 13, 2009, Plaintiff filed a Complaint (d/e 1) seeking relief under 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII") and 42 U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(A) of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). His counsel subsequently withdrew. See Minute Entry dated October 27, 2010.
Plaintiff, acting pro se, then filed his Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing ("Motion"). The memorandum which accompanied the Motion asked the Court to reinstate Plaintiff's employment; award him back pay; award him lost pay; order a non-defendant to refrain from perjury; order compliance with a memorandum of understanding; contact the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("IARDC") regarding a non-defendant attorney's conduct; and contact law enforcement regarding a bomb threat. See Memorandum in Support of Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing (d/e 23) at 16-17. Rather than responding to Plaintiff's Motion, the Defendant filed Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Petition For Mandamus and Emergency Hearing.
In the federal courts, parties' pleadings, motions, and supporting memoranda are measured by their content, not their title. Cf. Bartholet v. Reishauer A.G., 953 F.2d 1073, 1078 (7th Cir.1992); Shannon v. Shannon, 965 F.2d 542, 552-52 (7th Cir. 1992). Simply put, the substance of a party's submission takes precedence over its form, "no matter what title [a party] plasters on the cover." Guyton v. United States, 453 F.3d 425, 427 (7th Cir. 2006).
Despite invoking mandamus*fn1 , Plaintiff's Motion seeks relief which can only be granted if he prevails on his Title VII and ADA claims. Moreover, because his Motion relies on facts not contained in the Complaint, the Motion is actually a summary judgment motion.
Summary judgment is only permissible if a party satisfies Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B) (reciting need to show supporting facts or absence of factual disputes as grounds for summary judgment). In this case, discovery has barely commenced. Disclosures and interrogatories are incomplete. No depositions have yet been taken. Plaintiff merely has his own version of events and, contrary to Rule 56(c)(1), the alleged facts are not supported by citations to record evidence. Moreover, Plaintiff's version of events is contested by Defendant via Defendant's Answer. See d/e 6.
While the Court could deny Plaintiff's Motion for any of the reasons stated above, his failure to comply with Rule 56(c) is the event which precedes all the others. The Court will, therefore, strike Plaintiff's Motion for violating Rule 56(c). Because the motion will be stricken, there can be no basis to conduct the emergency hearing which Plaintiff requests.*fn2
Additionally, much of the relief Plaintiff seeks in the Motion is not capable of judicial relief. For instance, Plaintiff's request that the Court ask the IARDC to investigate an attorney and ask law enforcement to investigate a bomb threat are not matters for the Court. The Court has no special authority to do either of these things. Plaintiff can contact the IARDC and law enforcement himself. Similarly, the Court has no authority to order a prospective witness to refrain from perjury.*fn3
Because striking the Plaintiff's Motion allows the Defendant the relief it seeks via Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Petition For Mandamus and Emergency Hearing, the Defendant's motion is rendered moot. However, the Defendant is advised that future motions filed by this or any other plaintiff require a response. By omitting a response and filing a motion to dismiss instead, a defendant leaves a plaintiff's motion uncontested and opens the door for a plaintiff to respond to defendant's own motion. While that course caused no difficulty here since Plaintiff's Motion is being stricken, the Defendant could have suffered considerable disadvantage as explained above.
Finally, the Court bars either party from seeking summary judgment until discovery closes. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(b) (allowing courts to set filing dates for summary judgment motions). The Court does this to prevent spurious and premature summary judgment motions.
THEREFORE, Plaintiff Michael A. Sanders' Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing (d/e 22) is STRICKEN. In light of this, the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Motion for Writ of Mandamus and Request For an Emergency Hearing (d/e 25) is DENIED AS MOOT. Furthermore, the parties are barred from seeking summary judgment until discovery closes.
ENTERED this __1st__ day of March, 2011