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Yost v. Chicago Park District

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

February 19, 2014

EMERY YOST, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO PARK DISTRICT, Defendant

Page 804

For Emery J. Yost, Plaintiff: Michael Jeffrey Greco, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney at Law, Chicago, IL.

For Chicago Park District, a body politic, Defendant: Nelson A. Brown, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Rebecca L Reierson, Chicago Park District, Chicago, IL.

OPINION

Page 805

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, U.S. District Court Judge.

Plaintiff Emery Yost has worked for Defendant Chicago Park District (the " Park District" ) as a music instructor for nearly twenty-five years. In 2010, Yost interviewed for, but ultimately did not receive, promotions to two supervisory positions within the Park District. Yost claims that the Park District passed him over for the promotions in retaliation for filing a reverse race discrimination charge against the Park District. Before the Court is the Park District's motion for summary judgment on Yost's claim for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (R. 26.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the Park District's motion for summary judgment and dismisses Yost's claim with prejudice.

BACKGROUND

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 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 Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). The nonmoving party then must " 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 L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) further directs the nonmoving party to submit a separate statement of additional facts, if any, that require the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

Yost and the Park District both stated that they lacked sufficient information to respond to certain proposed statements of fact. ( See R. 40, Pl. L.R. 56.1(b)(3) Resp. ¶ ¶ 46, 64; R. 44, Def L.R. 56.1(b)(3) Resp. to Add'l Facts ¶ ¶ 2, 5.) This is not a proper ground to dispute a

Page 806

statement of fact. See Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) (requiring " in the case of any disagreement" with the moving party's statements of fact " specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relief upon" as a basis for the disagreement); Fredricksen v. United Parcel Serv. Co., No. 06 C 2285, 2008 WL 904881, at *2 n.3 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 31, 2008) (" Under the Local Rules of the Northern District of Illinois, a summary judgment response claiming insufficient information to admit or deny is improper and constitutes an admission." ); see also Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (" [A] mere disagreement with the movant's asserted facts is inadequate if made without reference to specific supporting material." ). The Court, therefore, deems any facts to which the parties stated that they lacked sufficient information to respond as admitted.

Additionally, Yost objected to several of the Park District's statements of undisputed facts because they presented subjective scoring or subjective considerations as fact. ( See, e.g., Def. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ ¶ 43, 53-56, 58, 60-61.) Yost's objections are without merit. The statements of fact at issue concern the ratings and comments interviewers gave to Yost and other candidates who applied for the open supervisor positions. Although the interviewers based their judgments on their subjective opinions of the candidates, the ratings and comments they provided on their Interview Rating Forms are verifiable facts. Yost does not dispute that the Park District's statements of fact accurately reflect the rating scores that the interviewers assigned to him and other candidates; he simply argues that the interviewers underrated his qualifications and overrated the top-scoring candidates' qualifications in determining those ratings. Yost's objections, therefore, are overruled.

II. Relevant Facts

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. The Park District is a local public entity that manages over 400 parks, playgrounds, and playlots throughout Chicago. (Def. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 1.)[1] The Park District employs approximately 1,600 full-time staff members and 1,250 part-time staff members to supervise its parks and playgrounds, maintain the facilities, and lead park patrons in various recreational activities. ( Id. ¶ 3-9.) Plaintiff Emery Yost has worked for the Park District since 1989. ( Id. ¶ 20.)

In May 2010, Yost filed employment discrimination charges against the Park District with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (" IDHR" ). ( Id. ¶ 31.) Yost alleged that the Park District did not promote him to playground supervisor at Cragin Park because of his race (white) and national origin (United States). ( Id. ) According to Yost, the Park District passed him over for various playground supervisor positions that it instead offered to less qualified non-white applicants. ( See R. 13, Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 4-5.)

Six months later, in November 2010, Yost applied for promotions to open supervisor positions at Smith Park and Bosley Playground Park (" Bosley Park" ). (Def.

Page 807

L.R. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ ¶ 33-34, 51-52.) Yost did not receive either promotion. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 43, 61.) According to the Park District, it promoted candidates more qualified than Yost to fill the vacant positions. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 41, 60; but see Pl. L.R. 56.1(b)(3) Resp. ¶ ¶ 41, 60; Pl. L.R. 56.1 Stmt. of Add'l Facts ¶ ¶ 6-7.) Yost, however, claims that the Park District failed to promote him in retaliation for the ...


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