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Vinkler v. County of Dupage

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

August 14, 2014

KERRY VINKLER, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF DUPAGE, ILLINOIS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kerry Vinkler filed an Amended Complaint against her former employer, Defendant County of DuPage, Illinois ("DuPage"), alleging DuPage violated her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. ยง 2601, et seq. DuPage filed a motion for summary judgment that was denied on June 17, 2014. On June 23, 2014, DuPage filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration [35]. For the reasons set forth below, that Motion is denied.

BACKGROUND[1]

Vinkler was DuPage County's Director of Animal Care and Control for over seven years before being absent for nearly two weeks due to illness in early October 2012. When Vinkler returned to work on October 17, 2012, she was fired. After an arbitrator ruled that DuPage had just cause to fire Vinkler, she filed this Complaint, alleging violations of the FMLA.

DuPage moved to strike a number of Vinkler's responses in her Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) Response to DuPage's Rule 56 Statement of Material Facts ("SOF"). This motion was granted with respect to five of Vinkler's responses. DuPage now moves for reconsideration, arguing that striking two of Vinkler's responses resulted in admitted statements that require granting summary judgment.

LEGAL STANDARD

Because denial of a motion for summary judgment is not itself a final judgment, it may be reconsidered under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b), which provides that any order "which adjudicates fewer than all the claims... is subject to revision at any time before the entry of judgment adjudicating all the claims and the rights and liabilities of all the parties." Even pursuant to Rule 54(b), motions to reconsider oppose a "presumption against reopening matters already decided[, ] reflect[ing] interests in consistency, finality, and the conservation of judicial resources, among others." Minch v. City of Chi., 486 F.3d 294, 301 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Analytical Engineering, Inc.v. Baldwin Filters, Inc., 425 F.3d 443, 454 (7th Cir. 2005)).

Motions to reconsider should be rare and are appropriate only when "the Court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the Court by the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of apprehension." Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990) (quotations and citations omitted). Such motions should be granted only to correct "manifest error, " which is "not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party. It is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.'" Oto v. Metro. Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2000) (quoting Sedrak v. Callahan, 987 F.Supp. 1063, 1069 (N.D. Ill. 1997)).

ANALYSIS

DuPage's Motion is based on two of its statements of material fact. DuPage's SOF 36 states:

On October 17, 2012, Margaret Ewing made the decision to discharge Plaintiff's employment as Director of DuPage County Animal Care and Control based on her belief that the statements made by the Animal Care and Control staff were credible combined with Plaintiff's inability to refute the allegations made by her staff.

Vinkler's response to SOF 36 states:

Plaintiff disagrees with [SOF 36]. Defendant states that final decision making authority to terminate plaintiff rested with the DuPage County Board and that Elizabeth Welch, Thomas Cuculich and Margaret Ewing ...

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