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Tariq Malik v. Falcon Holdings

December 29, 2011

TARIQ MALIK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FALCON HOLDINGS, LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Defendant Falcon Holdings, LLC (hereinafter, "Falcon") moves for summary judgment in this employment discrimination case brought by former employee Tariq Malik (hereinafter, "Malik"). The sole issue on which Defendant claims it is entitled to summary judgment is its contention that Malik has not presented any evidence of damages, which is essential to his claim for age discrimination. For the reasons stated, the Court denies the motion.

I. BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements, deposition testimony, and exhibits, with disputes noted as they occur. Because the specifics of Malik's discrimination claims are largely irrelevant to the present motion, the Court will only briefly summarize them.

Malik brought this suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., against Falcon, a Delaware corporation doing business in the Northern District of Illinois. He first began working for Falcon in December 1999. His employment was terminated in 2001, but he subsequently rejoined the company in March 2005. In October 2009, at age 52, Malik was fired. He contends that the company's CEO Aslam Khan ("Khan"), frequently denigrated him during meetings, and told other executives that Malik was "too old." He also contends that when company president Khaled Habash ("Habash") fired him, Habash told him he was too old for the job. Falcon denies these allegations. After his firing, Malik tried to work for a start up venture that failed, and unsuccessfully sought other employment.

Malik's Complaint alleges that he suffered emotional and physical distress, mental and physical anguish, and loss of reputation, humiliation, and embarrassment as a result of his firing. (Malik now agrees, however, that he is not entitled to damages for emotional distress under the ADEA.) The Complaint also alleges that Malik suffered lost earnings and benefits, and an impairment of his ability to work in the future.

Apparently, although the parties agreed to make initial disclosures under Rule 26(a) by September 31, 2010, neither did so. In an interrogatory, Falcon asked Malik to "describe in detail and categorize all damages or injuries you claim to have sustained as a result of any discriminatory action or conduct by Falcon, Khan, or any other employee or agent of Falcon as described in the Complaint." ("Interrogatory No. 14") In response, Malik replied, "Malik has suffered loss of income and emotional distress, mental anguish, humiliation and loss of self-esteem as a result of discriminatory conduct alleged in My Complaint."

In another interrogatory, Falcon inquired as to whether Malik had received any medical or psychiatric treatment as a result of the alleged discrimination ("Interrogatory No. 15"). Malik responded that he had not.

During his deposition, Falcon's counsel asked Malik whether he had given complete and full answers to these interrogatories, as well as others. He said he had.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate where the record shows that there is no genuine dispute as to an issue of material fact. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). A fact is material if it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and a dispute is genuine where 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 (1986).

In ruling on summary judgment, the Court does not weigh the evidence or determine the truth of the matter, but determines whether a genuine issue of material fact exists that warrants trial. Id. at 249. In addressing a motion for summary judgment, the court must review the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Vanasco v. National-Louis Univ., 137 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 1998). A genuine issue of fact, however, is not shown by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986).

The moving party bears the burden of establishing the basis for its motion, together with evidence demonstrating the absence of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on mere allegations, but must present specific facts showing that a genuine issue exists for trial. Big O Tire Dealers, Inc. v. Big O Warehouse, 741 F.2d 160, 163 (7th Cir. 1984). To support their positions that a genuine issue of material fact does or does not exist, the parties may cite to materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits ...


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