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Trumbull v. Sci Illinois Services

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

September 10, 2013



AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

On May 30, 2012, Plaintiff Nancy Trumbull ("Trumbull") filed a Second Amended Complaint against her former employer, SCI Illinois Services, Inc., d/b/a Rosehill Cemetery ("SCI"), alleging race and sex discrimination claims and a retaliation claim pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Before the Court is SCI's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the Court grants SCI's summary judgment motion and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.


I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Local Rule 56.1 "is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

Here, Trumbull has set forth additional facts in many of her Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) Responses, and pursuant to the Local Rules, the Court will not consider these additional facts, but instead must rely on Trumbull's Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) Statement of Additional Facts when making factual determinations. See id. at 643; Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 809 (7th Cir. 2005). Similarly, many of Trumbull's Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) Responses contain factual and legal arguments that the Court will not address. See Cady, 467 F.3d at 1060; see, e.g., BP Amoco Chem. Co. v. Flint Hills Res., LLC, 615 F.Supp.2d 765, 769 (N.D. Ill. 2009). Also, in many of her Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) responses, Trumbull denies facts, but fails to cite to the record in support of her denial, and thus the Court disregards the responses that do not properly cite to the record. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006); Cichon, 401 F.3d at 809-10.

As the Seventh Circuit teaches, "[f]or litigants appearing in the Northern District of Illinois, the Rule 56.1 statement is a critical, and required, component of a litigant's response to a motion for summary judgment. The purpose of the local rule is to make the summary judgment process less burdensome on district courts, by requiring the parties to nail down the relevant facts and the way they propose to support them." Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 2012). Also, "[e]mployment discrimination cases are extremely fact-intensive, and neither appellate courts nor district courts are obliged in our adversary system to scour the record looking for factual disputes...." Yancick v. Hanna Steel Corp., 653 F.3d 532, 543-44 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of this case.

II. Relevant Facts

A. Introduction

In September 2007, SCI hired Trumbull, who is female and African-American, to work at Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois, as a Family Service Counselor. (R. 62, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 1, 5.) As a Family Service Counselor, Trumbull's job duties included working with families who came to Rosehill Cemetery looking for information about burials. ( Id. ¶ 10.) Trumbull was also responsible for selling funeral and funeral-related products to Rosehill Cemetery customers. ( Id. ) As a Family Service Counselor, Trumbull was at the cemetery six or seven days a week. ( Id. )

In June 2008, Trumbull requested a transfer to the position of Community Service Counselor. ( Id. ¶ 11.) She requested the transfer because she believed Rosehill Cemetery understaffed the Family Service area and that Rosehill did not have an effective call receiving system. ( Id. ) Also, Trumbull believed a transfer would improve her "strained working relationship" with Sales Manager Bob LaVoncher. ( Id. ) SCI approved the transfer and Trumbull became a Community Service Counselor at Rosehill Cemetery on July 1, 2008. ( Id. ) As a Community Service Counselor, Trumbull was no longer required to be at the cemetery every day. ( Id. ¶ 12.) Her duties also differed as a Community Service Counselor because she focused on community outreach and pre-need sales as opposed to sales that took place onsite at Rosehill Cemetery. ( Id. )

B. SCI's Policies and Procedures

At the beginning of her employment with SCI, Trumbull signed an employment agreement, and, under that agreement, Trumbull's employment was conditioned on her complying with SCI's policies and procedures. ( Id. ¶ 13.) In addition, SCI provided Trumbull with a Family Services Guidebook and she completed training related to the guidebook in November 2007. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Relevant to the present motion, the Family Services Guidebook defines "at need" cemetery sales as "[f]uneral or cemetery arrangements made at the time of death. At need sales can include interment rights (land spaces, mausoleum or lawn crypts, niches or urn spaces), and merchandise such as bronze or granite markers, granite bases, vaults, monuments and vases." ( Id. ) On the other hand, SCI also offered "pre-need" contracts for sales of goods and services that were made in advance of death. ( Id. ¶¶ 15, 18; R. 85, Pl.s' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶ 19.)

When she worked as a Family Service Counselor, SCI authorized Trumbull to sell both "at-need" and "pre-need" cemetery products and services. (Def.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 19.) As a Community Service Counselor, however, Trumbull could only write pre-need contracts. ( Id. ) SCI compensated Trumbull entirely on commissions as a Community Service Counselor and because Community Service Counselors cannot make at-need sales, Trumbull did not receive any at-need commissions after she transferred positions. ( Id. ¶ 20.)

C. August 2008 Pre-Need Contract

On August 9, 2008, Rosehill Cemetery counselor Thomas Bornstein executed an at-need cemetery contract purchased by Rosehill Cemetery client Toni Henle. ( Id. ¶ 21.) Specifically, Henle purchased an urn, installation, interment, and recording fees for the purpose of burying the cremated remains of her relative, Charles A. Hall, who had died on January 6, 2005. ( Id. ) This August 9, 2008 contract was later voided and Trumbull executed a pre-need contract covering the same services and merchandise ...

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