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Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois, Inc. v. Northwestern University

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 19, 2013

LUBAVITCH-CHABAD OF ILLINOIS, INC.; LUBAVITCH-CHABAD OF EVANSTON, INC. d/b/a THE TANNENBAUM CHABAD HOUSE; and RABBI DOV HILLEL KLEIN, Plaintiffs,
v.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, TIMOTHY STEVENS, and PATRICIA TELLES-IRVIN, Defendants

Page 807

For Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois, Inc, Lubavitch-Chabad of Evanston, Inc., doing business as Tannenbaum Chabad House, The, Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, Plaintiffs: R. Tamara de Silva, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of R. Tamara de Silva, Chicago, IL; Jonathan D. Lubin, Attorney at Law, Chicago, IL.

For Northwestern University, Timothy Stevens, Patricia Telles-Irvin, Defendants: Patricia Michelle Petrowski, LEAD ATTORNEY, Frederic J. Artwick, Kathleen Louise Carlson, Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Page 808

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, United States District Court Judge.

Plaintiffs, Lubavitch-Chabad of Illinois, Inc. (" Lubavitch" ); Lubavitch-Chabad of Evanston, Inc. d/b/a The Tannenbaum Chabad House (" the Tannenbaum House" ); and Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein (" Rabbi Klein" ) filed suit on September 21, 2012, alleging Defendants Northwestern University (" Northwestern" ), Reverend Timothy Stevens, and Patricia Telles-Irvin violated Plaintiffs' rights under 42 U.S.C. § § 1981, 2000a and 2000d. Defendants move for summary judgment on all of Plaintiffs' claims. The Motion has been fully briefed. For the reasons provided below, this Motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires a party moving for summary judgment to provide " a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue . . . ." Local Rule 56.1(b)(3) requires the nonmoving party to admit or deny each factual statement proffered by the moving party and concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. See Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005). A litigant's failure to dispute the facts set forth in an opponent's statement in the manner dictated by Local Rule 56.1 results in those facts' being deemed admitted for purposes of summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) further permits the nonmovant to submit additional statements of material facts that " require the denial of summary judgment . . . ."

To the extent that a response to a statement of material fact provides only extraneous or argumentative information, this response will not constitute a proper denial of the fact, and the fact is admitted. See Graziano v. Village of Oak Park, 401 F.Supp.2d 918, 937 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Similarly, to the extent that a statement of fact contains a legal conclusion or otherwise

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unsupported statement, including a fact which relies upon inadmissible hearsay, such a fact is disregarded. Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997).

The Parties

The following facts [1] are taken from the parties' statements of undisputed material facts submitted in accordance with Local Rule 56.1. Lubavitch is an Illinois corporation. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 1.) The Tannenbaum House operates at 2014 Orrington Street in Evanston, Illinois. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 2.) Rabbi Klein is a resident of Evanston, Illinois, and has been the director and Rabbi of the Tannenbaum House since August 1985. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 3.) Northwestern is a private university with campuses in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois; it receives funding from the federal government. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 4; Pls' SOF ¶ 40.) Reverend Stevens has been Northwestern's Chaplain since 1986. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 6.) Telles-Irvin has been the Vice President of Student Affairs at Northwestern since July 1, 2011; her predecessor was Bill Banis. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 5; Pls.' SOF ¶ 1.) Jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 1331, 1343(a), and 1367. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 7.)

Religious Affiliation Policy

Northwestern recognizes religious groups and religious centers. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 8.) All religious groups and religious centers and their respective representatives that wish to have access to Northwestern facilities or services must be recognized by Northwestern's Chaplain's office, as set forth in the policy entitled " Student Religious Organizations and Advisers at Northwestern University" (the " Religious Affiliation Policy" ). ( Id. ) Official recognition is also referred to as affiliation. ( Id. ) Under the Religious Affiliation Policy:

Recognition is a privilege accorded by the University. The University Chaplain may limit, suspend or withdraw recognition, or access to the University services or facilities, of any religious group, campus adviser, staff member or outside representative whenever, in his judgment, the polity [sic] set forth above has not been followed or whenever, in his judgment, it would be in the best interest of the University community. A decision of the Chaplain may be appealed to the Vice President of Student Affairs.

(Defs.' SOF ¶ 9.)

Currently, there are thirty-seven religious groups and five religious centers officially recognized by Northwestern. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 10.) The religious centers are: (1) the University Christian Ministry, (2) the University Lutheran Church at Northwestern, (3) the Sheil Catholic Center, (4) the Canterbury Episcopal Center at Northwestern, and (5) the Louis and Saeree Fiedler Hillel Center (" Fiedler Hillel Center" ). ( Id. ) The Tannenbaum House was affiliated with Northwestern since, at least, 1985 until September 11, 2012. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 11.)

Incidents Relating to the Tannenbaum House and Rabbi Klein

In or about October 2001, Northwestern administrators became aware of students under the age of 21 who returned to their residence halls and vomited due to alcohol consumption after attending a Simchat Torah party at the Tannenbaum House. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 13.) One student was transported to the hospital due to excessive alcohol consumption after having attended a party at the Tannenbaum House. ( Id. )

Page 810

Reverend Stevens, the Chaplain, learned that one of those students was reported to have consumed six or seven shots of alcohol. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 14.) Following the underage drinking incidents, Reverend Stevens met with Rabbi Klein and discussed the need for proper controls with respect to the service of alcohol. (Defs.' SOF ¶ ¶ 15-16.)

On April 1, 2005, Rabbi Klein held a dinner to celebrate his son's Bar Mitzvah at the Allison Dining Hall, located on the Northwestern campus. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 17.) Alcohol was served at this dinner, and some Northwestern students attended the dinner, along with Rabbi Klein's son and his friends, who were under the age of 21. ( Id. ) When Rabbi Klein completed a form to reserve a room in the Allison Dining Hall, he indicated that no alcohol would be served at the event. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 18.) Reverend Stevens later learned that hard liquor, including whiskey and vodka, was served at the dinner. (Defs.' SOF ¶ 19; Pls.' SOF ¶ 9.) Following the dinner, Reverend Stevens again met with Rabbi Klein to discuss the issue of alcohol at events on ...


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