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Townsend v. Alexian Brothers Medical Center

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

July 7, 2014



AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

On July 9, 2013, pro se Plaintiff Horace Townsend filed a First Amended Complaint against Defendants Alexian Brothers Medical Center ("ABMC") and Anne Marie Herlehy for failing to promote him to the position of Surgical Technologist and for retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Before the Court are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff's summary judgment motion [51] and grants Defendants' summary judgment motion [54]. The Court denies Defendants' motion to strike [60] and Plaintiff's motion to strike [69] as moot because the Court considered the parties' challenges to the facts and evidence within the context of Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1, as discussed in detail below.[1] The Court dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.


I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Because Townsend is a pro se litigant, Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and 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 a 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 Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to 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 N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

Although courts must construe pro se pleadings liberally, see Ambrose v. Roeckeman, 749 F.3d 615, 618 (7th Cir. 2014), a plaintiff's pro se status does not absolve him from complying with the federal and local procedural rules. See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008); Greer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001). As the Supreme Court instructs, "we have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel." McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113, 113 S.Ct. 1980, 124 L.Ed.2d 21 (1993).

Here, Townsend did not file a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Facts in support of his summary judgment motion nor a Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) Statement of Additional Facts responding to Defendants' summary judgment motion. Further, Townsend did not respond to Defendants' Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Facts. Instead, Townsend attaches numerous documents to his filings and makes arguments in his legal memoranda about the facts and evidence. Under the circumstances, the Court adopts Defendants' unopposed material facts set forth in their Rule 56.1 Statement of Facts as true to the extent that they are supported by the record. See Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013); see also Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 883-84 (7th Cir. 2012) ("district courts are entitled to expect strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1"). In short, the Court is not required to scour the record looking for factual disputes nor is the Court required to piece together Townsend's arguments for him. See Diadenko v. Folino, 741 F.3d 751, 757 (7th Cir. 2013).

II. Relevant Facts

A. The Parties

ABMC is a not-for-profit, religious-based acute care hospital located in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. (R. 56, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) Herlehy is presently ABMC's Administrative Director for Perioperative, Endoscopy, and Ambulatory Services. ( Id. ¶ 2.) From December 2009 to April 2012, Herlehy held the position of Administrative Director for the Perioperative and Cardiovascular Services Department. ( Id. ) Among Herlehy's responsibilities in both her current and prior roles was and is overseeing all operating room Surgical Technologists. ( Id. ¶ 3.)

On January 4, 2011, ABMC hired Townsend, an African-American male, as a resource Patient Transporter. ( Id. ¶ 4.) As a resource employee, Townsend worked on an "as needed" basis, and thus did not work set hours. ( Id. ) Not long after ABMC hired Townsend, he moved into a regular part-time and then a full-time position. ( Id. ¶ 11.) At the time ABMC hired Townsend, he had graduated from high school and had completed a Surgical Technologist diploma program at Everest College in Merrillville, Indiana. ( Id. ¶ 5.) Prior to receiving his Everest College diploma, Townsend had completed a clinical rotation alternating between Trinity Advocate Hospital and St. Margaret Hospital as a Surgical Technologist from December 2009 to May 2010. ( Id. ¶ 6.)

B. Open Positions for Surgical Technologists

Surgical Technologists assist in ABMC's operating rooms by ensuring cleanliness of the rooms and availability of required instruments, stocking the operating rooms with supplies and equipment, and assisting in the preparation of surgical equipment for surgeries. ( Id. ¶ 15.) Also, Surgical Technologists scrub for surgeries as directed by the operating room registered nurse during which time the Surgical Technologist is responsible for handing appropriate surgical tools to the doctor during procedures. ( Id. ¶ 16.) ...

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