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Hoosier v. Greenwood Hospitality Management LLC

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

March 26, 2014

KAREN HOOSIER, Plaintiff,
v.
GREENWOOD HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT LLC d/b/a HILTON OAK LAWN, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Karen Hoosier, Plaintiff: Andre E. Townsel, LEAD ATTORNEY, Townsel Law Firm, Schaumburg, IL.

For Greenwood Hospitality Management LLC, doing business as Hilton Oak Lawn, Defendant: Craig Robert Annunziata, LEAD ATTORNEY, Brian Keith Jackson, Fisher & Phillips LLP, Chicago, IL.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Jeffrey T. Gilbert, United States Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Karen Hoosier (" Hoosier" ) filed this lawsuit against her employer defendant Greenwood Hospitality Management LLC (" Greenwood" ) alleging that her supervisor discriminated against her based on her race and her age, subjected her to a hostile work environment and retaliated against her for complaining about the harassment. Hoosier alleges race discrimination, harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. , 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (" Section 1981" ) and the Illinois Human Rights Act (" IHRA" ), 775 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq. , and age discrimination, harassment and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (" ADEA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Greenwood filed a motion for summary judgment at the conclusion of discovery seeking judgment as a matter of law on all claims in Hoosier's amended complaint. Greenwood also filed a motion to strike the declarations Hoosier submitted in support of her opposition to the motion for summary judgment.

For the reasons discussed below, the Court grants defendant Greenwood Hospitality Management LLC's Motion for Summary Judgment [55] and its Motion to Strike Each of Plaintiff's Declarations in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [76].

I. LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record shows that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Lexington Ins. Co. v. Rugg & Knopp, Inc., 165 F.3d 1087, 1090 (7th Cir. 1999); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable and justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). " The nonmoving party must offer something more than a 'scintilla' of evidence to overcome summary judgment . . . and must do more than 'simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'" Roger Whitmore's Auto. Servs. v. Lake County, 424 F.3d 659, 667 (7th Cir.

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2005) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)).

" Rule 56 demands something more specific than the bald assertion of the general truth of a particular matter, rather it requires affidavits that cite specific concrete facts establishing the existence of the truth of the matter asserted." Hadley v. County of Du Page, 715 F.2d 1238, 1243 (7th Cir. 1983). Conclusory allegations will not defeat a motion for summary judgment. Thomas v. Christ Hosp. and Medical Center, 328 F.3d 890, 893-94 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888-89, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990)). Unsupported speculation also will not defeat a summary judgment motion; and an affidavit that includes general opinions and beliefs does not create a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to defeat summary judgment. Cleveland v. Porca Co., 38 F.3d 289, 295 (7th Cir. 1994).

In considering whether summary judgment is appropriate, the Court relies on the statements of facts submitted by the parties. To that end, the parties must comply with Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 56.1 of the Local Rules of the District Court of the Northern District of Illinois.

A. Hoosier's Failure to Comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C)

Local Rule 56.1 requires a party moving for summary judgment to submit a statement of material facts with " specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts . . . ." LR 56.1(a). The nonmoving party opposing the motion for summary judgment then must file a response to this statement, as well as its own statement of additional facts. See LR 56.1(b)(3). The moving party then has an opportunity to admit, or deny the non-moving party's statement of additional facts. See Local Rule 56.1(a) (" If additional material facts are submitted by the opposing party pursuant to section (b), the moving party may submit a concise reply in the form prescribed in that section for a response. All material facts set forth in the statement filed pursuant to section (b)(3)(C) will be deemed admitted unless controverted by the statement of the moving party." ). A party's obligation to support its facts with evidence is mandatory, and the Seventh Circuit repeatedly has held that a district court is within its discretion to enforce strict compliance with the requirements of Local Rule 56.1. See Patterson v. Indiana Newspapers, Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 359 (7th Cir. 2009); Bordelon v. Chi. Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000).

Hoosier has complied only partially with Local Rule 56.1. She filed a memorandum of law in opposition to Greenwood's motion for summary judgment as required by Local Rule 56.1(b)(2) and responded to Greenwood's Local Rule 56.1 statement of facts as required by Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). Hoosier, however, did not file a separate statement of additional facts as required by Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C). Although her memorandum of law in opposition to Greenwood's motion for summary judgment as well as her responses to Greenwood's Local Rule 56.1 statement of facts are replete with discussion of and citations and references to additional evidence, including her own declaration and five declarations from other witnesses, those additional facts and declarations are not properly before this Court because Hoosier failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C).

The discussion of facts in a responsive memorandum is insufficient to put the issue before the court.

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See Midwest Imports, Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1313 (7th Cir. 1995); Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 584 (N.D.Ill. 2000). Facts are to be set forth in properly submitted Rule 56.1 statements, and it is not the role of the court to parse the parties' exhibits to construct the facts. Judges are not " like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in briefs." United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991). " Nor are they archaeologists searching for treasure." Jeralds ex rel. Jeralds v. Astrue, 754 F.Supp.2d 984, 985 (N.D.Ill. 2010) (citing DeSilva v. DiLeonardi, 181 F.3d 865, 867 (7th Cir. 1999)). It simply is not the court's job to sift through the record to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a party's claim. Davis v. Carter, 452 F.3d 686, 692 (7th Cir. 2006). Rather, it is " [a]n advocate's job . . . to make it easy for the court to rule in his client's favor . . . ." Dal Pozzo v. Basic Machinery Co., Inc., 463 F.3d 609, 613 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Hamm v. Nestle USA, Inc., 2013 WL 4401328, at * 2 (N.D.Ill. Aug. 15, 2013).

In Hoosier's response to Greenwood's statement of facts, she admitted some of Greenwood's facts and denied others with citation in some instances to a declaration that she submitted in conjunction with her memorandum of law in opposition to Greenwood's motion for summary judgment. The alleged facts set forth in Hoosier's declaration and the declarations of other witnesses that Hoosier cites in her memorandum of law, however, were not included in any statement of additional facts as required by Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C). Instead, Hoosier simply discusses, references and cites the facts set forth in those declarations in her memorandum of law in opposition to Greenwood's motion for summary judgment. Those facts, however, without submission of and proper citation to a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement cannot be considered by this Court. It is impossible for the Court to determine whether and, if so, to what extent those facts are disputed by Greenwood and what evidence Greenwood would cite in responding to the additional facts relied upon by Hoosier in those declarations. Local Rule 56.1 exists for a reason. Had Hoosier submitted a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement, Greenwood would have been able to reply to it, and the matters Hoosier wants the Court to consider would be presented in a way that the Court could do so in an organized, efficient manner.

The Court's Local Rules are clear and unequivocal. For whatever reason, Hoosier chose not to follow them. By not complying with Local Rule 56.1, Hoosier has injected into the case declarations that purport to contain facts and other statements that have not been subject to scrutiny by Greenwood, nor properly presented to this Court for its review and, therefore, will not be considered by the Court.

B. Greenwood's Motion to Strike

Greenwood filed a motion to strike each of the declarations Hoosier filed in support of her opposition to its motion for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed above, those declarations are not properly before the Court and will not be considered because Hoosier did not comply with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C). Therefore, the motion to strike is granted. To the extent that Hoosier properly complied with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in responding to Greenwood's statement of facts, the Court ...


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