Argued, February 12, 2014
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 C 7101 -- Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge.
For Patricia Banks, Plaintiff - Appellant: Matthew T. Layman, Chicago, IL.
For CHICAGO BOARD OF EDUCATION, a Municipal Corporation, FLORENCE GONZALES, an individual, Defendants - Appellees: Patricia J. Kendall, Chicago Board of Education, Chicago, IL.
Before POSNER, FLAUM, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
Hamilton, Circuit Judge
Patricia Banks sued her former employer, the Chicago Board of Education, and her former supervisor, Florence Gonzales, alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and related violations of federal and state law. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants on all of Banks's claims. Twenty-nine days after the district court entered judgment, Banks filed what she called a motion to alter the entry of summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e), which the district court denied six days later. Banks then filed a notice of appeal. She argues that the district court erred by granting summary judgment for the defendants and denying her post-judgment motion.
A Rule 59(e) motion must be filed no later than 28 days after the entry of the judgment. Because Banks missed that deadline by one day, her motion was not effective as a Rule 59(e) motion that could have tolled the time to file a notice of appeal from the judgment. Accordingly, we must treat her post-judgment motion as a Rule 60(b) motion that did not toll the time to appeal the summary judgment. Banks's notice of appeal was timely only as to the district court's denial of her post-judgment motion. The district court did not abuse its discretion by denying that motion, so we affirm.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Because we decide this case on a procedural ground, we only sketch the underlying dispute. Plaintiff Patricia Banks worked as a teacher at George Washington High School in Chicago beginning in 1988. She is African-American. Florence Gonzales became principal at George Washington in January 2008.
The factual record is long and many of the details are disputed, but it is clear that Gonzales and Banks soon came into conflict. At an April 2008 staff meeting, Banks asserted that Gonzales's administration had shown animosity toward African-American students and teachers. Banks claims that Gonzales targeted her because of her race and in retaliation for speaking out at the staff meeting and filing complaints with the EEOC and the Board's Equal Opportunity Compliance Office. Gonzalez disciplined Banks repeatedly. She issued cautionary notices for insubordination, leaving her class unattended, refusing to complete required paperwork, and failing to submit lesson plans. Gonzales also suspended Banks on three occasions: for striking a staff member; for being chronically tardy and telling a staff member to " go to hell" in front of students; and for placing advertisements for her private massage therapy business in the school ...