The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge
Monday, 01 August, 2011 10:13:17 AM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
This case is before the court for ruling on the Motion for Summary Judgment (#31) filed by Defendants, Allcare Dental Management, LLC, and Allcare Dental & Dentures of Illinois - Bates DDS, P.C. d/b/a/ Allcare Dental & Dentures (collectively referred to as "Allcare"). This court has carefully reviewed the arguments of the parties and the documents filed by the parties. Following this careful and thorough review, Allcare's Motion for Summary Judgment (#31) is GRANTED.
In April 2007, Plaintiff, Thomas V. Karagiannis, began working for Allcare as the co-managing clinical director of its Bradley, Illinois office. Plaintiff was 47 years old when he was hired and had approximately 19 years of experience in dentistry, which was a factor in his selection by Allcare. Around the same time, Allcare also hired Dr. Patrick Conaghan to be the other co-managing clinical director for the Bradley office. Dr. Conaghan was 44 years old and his level of experience was similar to that of Plaintiff. Both Plaintiff and Dr. Conaghan were eligible to receive bonus monies based upon the performance of the Bradley office.
At some point, Dr. Conaghan became concerned that Plaintiff presented a malpractice risk to Allcare because of his treatment practices. This concern developed based upon Dr. Conaghan's observations of Plaintiff while treating patients as well as his review of patient charts. Dr. Conaghan frequently observed the work of Plaintiff when he became involved with a shared patient who was also worked on by Plaintiff. Dr. Conaghan observed that many of Plaintiff's diagnoses were incorrect and his impressions and bite registrations were poor. Dr. Conaghan also observed Plaintiff dislocate a patient's jaw and perforate the root of another patient. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Conaghan questioned him in front of patients regarding his restorative work on a few occasions. In his discussions with Plaintiff, Dr. Conaghan did not mention Plaintiff's age. Plaintiff claims Dr. Conaghan harassed him. Plaintiff testified at his deposition, however, that Dr. Conaghan did not harass him about his age but, instead, the harassment was motivated by Dr. Conaghan's desire to collect Plaintiff's share of the bonus pool.
Dr. Conaghan expressed his concerns about Plaintiff's negligent care and treatment of patients to Allcare's management. Dr. Tara Zrinyi, Allcare's Regional Managing Clinical Director, conducted an on-site investigation of Plaintiff's patient records. Based upon Dr. Zrinyi's findings, Allcare believed Plaintiff's treatment of patients exposed it to potential malpractice claims. Allcare decided to terminate Plaintiff's employment. It is undisputed that, on August 23, 2007, Plaintiff was presented with Dr. Zrinyi's findings and, based solely on those findings, was offered the choice of voluntary resignation or termination. Plaintiff chose to resign on August 23, 2007. Plaintiff was 48 years old. A few weeks after the termination of Plaintiff's employment, Allcare hired Dr. Patricia Tarallo, a 44-year-old dentist with over 15 years' experience, to replace him.
On March 17, 2008, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Plaintiff alleged that he was discriminated against because of his age, 48, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended (ADEA). On January 14, 2010, the EEOC sent Plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue. On April 12, 2010, Plaintiff filed his Complaint (#1) in this court. Plaintiff alleged that the termination of his employment violated the ADEA because he was terminated because of his age.
On May 31, 2011, Allcare filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (#31) and attached supporting exhibits. Allcare argued that it is entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff cannot set forth a prima facie case of age discrimination nor can he show that Allcare's reason for termination was pretextual.
On July 8, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Response to Motion for Summary Judgment (#34). Plaintiff argued that summary judgment is inappropriate because there "are facts Plaintiff directly disputes." Plaintiff stated that he disputed various facts listed in Allcare's statement of undisputed facts. For example, Plaintiff denied that Dr. Conaghan observed poor treatment of patients by Plaintiff and denied that Allcare decided to terminate Plaintiff's employment based upon Dr. Zinryi's findings which Allcare believed exposed it to potential malpractice claims. Plaintiff did not cite to any evidentiary support for his denials.
On July 22, 2011, Allcare filed its Reply (#35). Allcare pointed out that Local Rule 7.1 of the Local Rules of the Central District of Illinois provides that the party responding to a motion for summary judgment must provide "evidentiary documentation referenced by specific page" for each individual statement of fact which is disputed. See Local R. 7.1(D)(2)(b)(2). The Rule further provides that a "failure to respond to any numbered fact will be deemed an admission of the fact." Local R. 7.1(D)(2)(b)(6). Allcare argued that all of the facts included in its statement of undisputed facts must be deemed ...