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Naty Trujillo v. Borg-Warner Transmission Systems

November 7, 2011


Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge James F. Holderman than Assigned Judge



For the reasons set forth in the Statement section of this order, "Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment" [25] is granted and judgment is entered in favor of defendant Borg-Warner Transmission Systems, Inc. on plaintiff Naty Trujillo's ADEA claim. This case is dismissed in its entirety. Civil case terminated.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.


In her Complaint, filed April 14, 2011, plaintiff Naty Trujillo ("Trujillo") alleged one count of unlawful discrimination on the basis of age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634, against her former employer, Borg-Warner Transmission Systems, Inc. ("Borg-Warner"). (Dkt. No. 1 ("Compl.") 1.) On August 30, 2011, Borg-Warner filed its motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 25 ("Motion").)

To assist the court in its summary judgment determination, Local Rule 56.1 requires the moving party to file "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue" and which support the moving party's assertion that it is entitled to summary judgment. N.D. Ill. Local R. 56.1(a)(3); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 682 (7th Cir. 2003). Borg-Warner filed its Rule 56.1 statement of material facts on August 30, 2011. (Dkt. No. 28 ("SMF").) According to the briefing schedule set by the court on August 11, 2011, Trujillo was to file her response by September 20, 2011. (Dkt. No. 23.) However, Trujillo's attorney never filed a response to Borg-Warner's motion or to its statement of material facts. Borg-Warner filed "Defendant's Reply Brief in Support of its Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 Motion for Summary Judgment" on October 4, 2011. (Dkt. No. 30 ("Reply").)

Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C), "All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party." N.D. Ill. Local R. 56.1(b)(3)(C). Because Trujillo never responded to Borg-Warner's Rule 56.1 statement, all material facts set forth in that statement are deemed admitted as set forth below.

Trujillo was employed by Borg-Warner from September 7, 1976 until August 14, 2008. (Compl. ¶ 4.) On June 17, 2008, Trujillo filed a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") claiming age and disability discrimination. (SMF ¶ 5.) Trujillo voluntarily dismissed her discrimination charge seven months later, on January 30, 2009. (SMF ¶¶ 5-8.) On February 5, 2009, the IDHR issued an Order of Closure approving Trujillo's withdrawal of her age and disability discrimination charge and closing that charge. (SMF ¶ 7; see also Dkt. No. 27-1, Ray. Dec. Ex. 3 ("Order of Closure").) The Order of Closure was sent to Trujillo that same day. (SMF ¶ 8.) The IDHR's Order of Closure stated that, "this action also terminates the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) processing of this charge." (SMF ¶ 7.)

On January 29, 2009, Trujillo filed a separate charge with the IDHR alleging that she was discharged from Borg-Warner on August 14, 2008 in retaliation for filing her initial charge of discrimination. (SMF ¶ 9.) The IDHR investigated Trujillo's retaliation charge and issued a finding of lack of substantial evidence on December 9, 2009. (SMF ¶¶ 10-11.) The IDHR's investigation report for Trujillo's retaliation claim did not discuss any investigation of age discrimination. (SMF ¶ 11.) The EEOC issued a Right to Sue letter on the retaliation charge on January 14, 2011. (SMF ¶ 12.)

Borg-Warner argues that Trujillo's age discrimination claim is untimely as a matter of law, because Trujillo failed to file a complaint within 90 days upon receiving the Order of Closure from the IDHR on February 5, 2009. (Dkt. No. 26 ("Mem. in Support") at 4.) Borg-Warner further argues that Trujillo's age discrimination claim is outside the scope of her retaliation charge. (Id. at 5-7.)

In its reply brief, Borg-Warner argues that Trujillo "conceded the merits of defendant's motion" because she failed to respond to its motion for summary judgment. (Reply at 2.) Accordingly, Borg-Warner argues, the court should grant its motion. (Id.) Although Trujillo's failure to respond results in the admission of all of the facts from Borg-Warner's Rule 56.1 statement, see N.D. Ill. Local R. 56.1(b)(3)(C), it does not automatically entitle Borg-Warner to judgment as a matter of law. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that, if the party opposing summary judgment does not "set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial . . . summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against the party." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (emphasis added). Thus, "a non-movant's failure to respond to a summary judgment motion, or failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1, does not . . . automatically result in judgment for the movant." Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006) (citations omitted). Instead, the burden of persuasion still remains with the movant. Id. Further, the court still must draw all reasonable inferences from the uncontested facts in favor of the non-moving party. See Abdullah v. City of Madison, 423 F.3d 763, 773 (7th Cir. 2005).

To state a claim under the ADEA, a plaintiff must file a charge with the EEOC, at the latest, within 300 days after the alleged unlawful conduct occurred. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1). The ADEA further prohibits the plaintiff from filing a private action in the courts until at least 60 days after filing his or her charge with the EEOC. 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1). Here, Trujillo filed her initial age discrimination charge with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged misconduct, and her charge remained pending before the EEOC for 227 days.

If the EEOC notifies the complainant that it has dismissed her charge, the complainant then has 90 days after receipt of such notice in which to file a civil action. 29 U.S.C. ยง 626(e). However, in order to trigger this 90-day statutory period of limitation, the commission must give the complainant proper notice of her right to sue. DeTata v. Rollprint Packaging Products, ...

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