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Sims v. A-Alert Exterminating Services, Inc.

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

March 11, 2014

RODERICK SIMS, Plaintiff,
v.
A-ALERT EXTERMINATING SERVICES, INC., et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge.

This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Roderick Sims (Sims) alleges that in August 2012, he applied for a position with Defendant A-Alert Exterminating Services, Inc. (AAE), which is a pest extermination company. Sims contends that in August 2012, he received a call from AAE asking him to come in and interview for a position. Sims claims that on August 30, 2012, he went to AAE for an interview where he was interviewed by Defendant Kevin Connelly (Connelly), who is allegedly part of management at AAE. The next day Sims was allegedly extended a job offer. Sims contends, however, that upon realizing Sims' age and race at his interview, Connelly decided to pay Sims a salary lower than he had previously promised. Sims also contends that in the afternoon on September 4, 2012, he was listening to Connelly "expound upon the history of extermination while sitting at the head of the table, " and that "[w]ithout any warning or explanation, [Connelly] reached and grabbed [Sims'] right arm and violently pulled [Sims] across the table." (Compl. Par. 21-22). Sims contends that he was "shocked and scared at [that] point, " but was "able to compose[] [himself] and smile[]...." (Compl. Par. 22-23). Sims also contends that after his interview on August 30, 2012, Connelly began making statements to Sims indicating that Sims would be earning less than allegedly promised to Sims before his interview. After working at AAE for approximately a week, AAE allegedly terminated Sims' employment. Sims includes in his complaint a claim alleging race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Count I), a claim alleging race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count II), breach of contract claims (Count III), a claim alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (Count IV), assault and battery claims (Count V), and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claims (Count VI). Defendants moved to dismiss the claims in Counts III, V, and VI, and on November 13, 2013, the court granted the motion to dismiss. Defendants now move for summary judgment on the remaining claims in Counts I, II, and IV.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). A "genuine issue" of material fact in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "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); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

I. Failure to Respond to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts

On August 8, 2013, the court stated that dispositive motions were to be filed by December 9, 2013, and that responses to dispositive motions were to be filed by January 10, 2014. On December 9, 2014, Defendants filed the instant summary judgment motion, a statement of material facts, and a notice to a pro se litigant consistent with Local Rule 56.2. On November 13, 2013, the court granted Sims' request for additional time to respond to Defendants' motion for summary judgment and gave Sims until January 21, 2014, to respond to Defendants' motion. The deadline for responding to Defendants' motion has passed, and Sims has filed no opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment or to Defendants' statement of material facts even after the court gave Sims an extension. Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, all facts contained in Defendants' statement of material facts are deemed to be undisputed. LR 56.1; see also Judson Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec, 529 F.3d 371, 382 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008)(stating that "a district court has broad discretion to require strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1"). The court also notes that Sims has previously failed to comply with court rules in this case, specifically failing to appear on a Court's noticed status hearing.

II. Race Discrimination Claims

Defendants move for summary judgment on the Title VII and Section 1981 race discrimination claims. A plaintiff seeking to defeat a defendant's motion for summary judgment on a Title VII discrimination claim can proceed under the direct or indirect method of proof. Morgan v. SVT, LCC, 724 F.3d 990, 995 (7th Cir. 2013). Under the direct method of proof, a plaintiff must present direct evidence of unlawful discrimination or show a "convincing mosaic of circumstantial evidence... that point[s] directly to a discriminatory reason for the employer's action." Dass v. Chicago Bd. of Educ., 675 F.3d 1060, 1071 (7th Cir. 2012)(internal quotations omitted)(quoting Davis v. Con-Way Transp. Cent. Express, Inc., 368 F.3d 776, 783 (7th Cir. 2004)). Under the indirect method of proof, a plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case. Morgan, 724 F.3d at 995. If the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, "the burden shifts to the employer to offer a non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action." Id. If the employer offers such a reason, "the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to present evidence that, if believed by the trier of fact, would show that the real explanation for the action is discrimination." Id. Sims has not pointed to sufficient direct or circumstantial evidence to proceed under the direct method of proof, and thus, Sims may only proceed under the indirect method of proof.

A. Prima Facie Case

Defendants argue that Sims cannot establish a prima facie case. To establish a prima facie case for a general race discrimination claim, a plaintiff must show: (1) that he "is a member of a protected class, " (2) that he met his "employer's legitimate job expectations, " (3) that he "suffered an adverse employment action, " and (4) that "similarly situated employees outside of the protected class received more favorable treatment." Morgan, 724 ...


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