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McClendon v. Illinois Department of Transportation

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

August 19, 2014

CHARLES McCLENDON, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al., Defendants

Page 1164

For Charles McClendon, Plaintiff: Charles B. Leuin, LEAD ATTORNEY, Caitlin Annatoyn , Ian D Burkow, Kyle L Flynn, Greenberg Traurig, LLP, Chicago, IL.

For Illinois Department of Transportation, James Stumpner, Carmen Iacullo, Defendants: Andrew Laurence Dryjanski, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, IL; Helena Lee Burton Wright, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the Attorney General, Chicago, IL; Allison Patricia Sues, Assistant Attorney General, Chicago, IL.

For Office of the Executive Inspector General, deponent: Thor Yukinobu Inouye, LEAD ATTORNEY, Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, IL.

Page 1165

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Elaine E. Bucklo, United States District Judge.

The Office of the Executive Inspector General for the Agencies of the Illinois Governor (" OEIG" ), a third party to this litigation, has moved to quash Charles McClendon's subpoena for documents relating to the OEIG investigation that resulted in his termination by the Illinois Department of Transportation (" IDOT" ) and any OEIG reports relating to misconduct by two IDOT supervisors who participated in the decision to fire him. I deny OEIG's motion to quash for the reasons stated below.

I.

McClendon worked for IDOT as an Engineering Technician V or " yard supervisor" in the Bureau of Maintenance for Region 1 from 2000 to 2010. At some point during his employment, OEIG received a complaint alleging that McClendon had worked a secondary job without IDOT's authorization and submitted fraudulent overtime hours. On June 15, 2010, OEIG found reasonable cause to believe that these allegations were true and sent its summary report to IDOT for a response.

On September 14, 2010, IDOT terminated McClendon's employment. Defendants Carmen Iacullo (" Iacullo" ) and James A. Stumpner (" Stumpner" ), both of whom held supervisory positions at IDOT, participated in the decision to fire McClendon.

McClendon alleges that IDOT discriminated against him because of his race (Count I) and retaliated against him for complaining about racial discrimination (Count II). McClendon has also sued Iacullo and Stumpner under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for racial discrimination (Count IV) and retaliation (Count III). McClendon also claims that Iacullo and Stumpner retaliated against him because of his political affiliation with the Republican Party and his attempts to organize a union (Count V).

IDOT contends that it fired McClendon for a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason--namely, OEIG's findings that he violated state ethics laws. McClendon believes that IDOT's stated reason for his termination is pretextual because Iacullo and Stumpner allegedly triggered OEIG's investigation for discriminatory reasons. See Staub v. Proctor Hosp., 562 U.S. 411, 131 S.Ct. 1186, 1194, 179 L.Ed.2d 144 (2011) (endorsing cat's paw theory of liability, which holds that " if a supervisor performs an act motivated by [discriminatory] animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the

Page 1166

ultimate employment action, then the employer is liable" (emphasis in original)).

In an effort to show that IDOT's reason for firing him was pretextual, McClendon has subpoenaed three categories of documents from OEIG:

1. Any and all records, interview reports, interview notes, investigation notes, investigation summaries, and investigation reports relied upon and/or regarding the investigation of [IDOT] employee, Charles McClendon, resulting in a final report dated June 15, 2010.
2. Any and all reports created by the [OEIG] relating to any actions by Carmen W. Iacullo during his employment at [IDOT].
3. Any and all reports created by the [OEIG] relating to any actions by James A. Stumpner during ...

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