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Kalus v. Emtec, Inc.

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

May 18, 2015

KELLY KALUS, Plaintiff,
EMTEC, INC., and RICHARD REID, Defendants.


AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

On March 23, 2015, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment, denied Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment, and dismissed this lawsuit in its entirety. The Court presumes familiarity with its March 23, 2015, Memorandum, Opinion, and Order. Before the Court is Plaintiff's motion to reconsider brought pursuant to Rule 59(e). For the following reasons, the Court, in its discretion, denies Plaintiff's motion.


Rule 59(e) permits parties to file, within twenty-eight days of the entry of judgment, a motion to alter or amend the judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 59(e); see also Banks v. Chicago Bd. of Educ., 750 F.3d 663, 666 (7th Cir. 2014) (twenty-eight day time limit "unyielding" and cannot be extended). A "Rule 59 motion is not a forum to relitigate losing arguments; it may be granted only if the movant can demonstrate a manifest error of law or fact or present newly discovered evidence.'" NLRB v. Latino Exp., Inc., 776 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). Moreover, Rule 59(e) "does not provide a vehicle for a party to undo its own procedural failures" or "introduce new or advance arguments that could and should have been presented to the district court prior to the judgment." Cincinnati Life Ins. Co. v. Beyrer, 722 F.3d 939, 954 (7th Cir. 2013) (citations omitted). Under Rule 59(e), the movant must "clearly establish" grounds for relief. See id. at 953; Miller v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., 683 F.3d 805, 813 (7th Cir. 2012). District courts have broad discretion in determining Rule 59(e) motions. See Miller, 683 F.3d at 813.

"When a motion is filed more than 28 days after the entry of judgment, whether the movant calls it a Rule 59(e) motion or a Rule 60(b) motion, [courts] treat it as a Rule 60(b) motion." Banks, 750 F.3d at 666. "Rule 60(b) relief is an extraordinary remedy and is granted only in exceptional circumstances." Kathrein v. City of Evanston, Ill., 752 F.3d 680, 690 (7th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted). Rule 60(b) authorizes federal courts to relieve a party from a final judgment for a number of reasons, including mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect; newly discovered evidence; or any other reason justifying relief. See Anderson v. Catholic Bishop of Chicago, 759 F.3d 645, 653 (7th Cir. 2014); Shuffle Tech Int'l, LLC v. Wolff Gaming, Inc., 757 F.3d 708, 709 (7th Cir. 2014). A "party invoking Rule 60(b) must claim grounds for relief that could not have been used to obtain a reversal by means of a direct appeal, '" therefore, "errors of law and fact generally do not warrant relief under Rule 60(b)(1)." Banks, 750 F.3d at 667 (citation omitted). District courts have broad discretion in ruling on Rule 60(b) motions. See Nash v. Hepp, 740 F.3d 1075, 1078 (7th Cir. 2014); Johnson v. General Bd. of Pension & Health Benefits, 733 F.3d 722, 733 (7th Cir. 2013).


On June 17, 2013, Plaintiff Kelly Kalus filed a four-count First Amended Complaint against her former employer Defendant Emtec, Inc. and Defendant Richard Reid, Kalus' former direct supervisor, alleging gender discrimination and a hostile work environment claim in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Count I), violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (Count II), a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (Count III), and sex and handicap discrimination claims in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA"), 765 ILCS 5/1-101, et seq. (Count IV).[1]

On October 10, 2014, Defendants filed a summary judgment motion as to all of Plaintiff's claims, after which Plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to her FMLA claim. As discussed in the Court's detailed March 23, 2015, Memorandum, Opinion, and Order, Plaintiff's Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses were riddled with legal arguments, speculation, and extraneous information. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) ("statement of material facts did [] not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). Moreover, many of Plaintiff's Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A) responses to Defendants' statement of facts failed to cite to any evidence in the record to refute Defendants' statements. See Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) ("When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion."). Furthermore, Plaintiff relied on her declaration to support her facts, although some of the statements in her declaration contradicted her prior deposition testimony. See Pourghoraishi v. Flying J, Inc., 449 F.3d 751, 759 (7th Cir. 2006) (party cannot "create an issue of material fact by submitting an affidavit that contradicts an earlier deposition.").

In the Court's March 23, 2015, Memorandum, Opinion, and Order, the Court rejected Plaintiff's hostile work environment claim based on her gender because Plaintiff failed to present evidence raising a material fact for trial that her work environment was objectively offensive and that her gender was the cause of any alleged harassment. See Orton-Bell v. Indiana, 759 F.3d 768, 773 (7th Cir. 2014). Also, the Court rejected Plaintiff's claim that Defendants constructively discharged her because she did not set forth evidence showing a genuine dispute as to the material fact that her termination was immediate or imminent. See Chapin v. Fort-Rohr Motors, Inc., 621 F.3d 673, 679-80 (7th Cir. 2010). Finally, the Court concluded that Plaintiff had waived her retaliation claims brought under Title VII and the ADA, and that Plaintiff had failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact that Defendants took a materially adverse action against her as to her FMLA retaliation claim. See Carter v. Chicago State Univ., 778 F.3d 651, 657 (7th Cir. 2015).


I. Emtec's Oracle Practice Groups

Defendant Emtec, located in New Jersey with offices in Chicago, is an information-technology consulting company that specializes in packaged applications, cloud applications, application development, management consulting, and infrastructure services. In July 2011, Plaintiff began her employment with Emtec's predecessor, Emerging Solutions, as a National Practice Director, Oracle Human Capital Management ("HCM") practice. As the National Practice Director of the Oracle HCM practice, Plaintiff managed the HCM consultants, marketing, staffing, recruiting, and business development. Defendant Richard Reid, the Oracle National Practice Managing Director, offered Plaintiff the job and was Plaintiff's direct supervisor throughout the relevant time period. Shortly after Plaintiff began her employment, Emtec acquired Emerging Solutions in August 2011. After the acquisition, Plaintiff continued in her role as the National Practice Director managing Emtec's Oracle HCM practice.

Plaintiff's peers in the Oracle group, who also reported to Reid, included John Given, the National Practice Director for Oracle Financial, and Todd Siler, the National Practice Director for Oracle Technical. Specifically, Given managed the Oracle financial products, whereas Plaintiff oversaw the Oracle HCM products. As the Technical Lead, Siler supported both Plaintiff and Given by providing technical staff on projects. Plaintiff, Given, and Siler each led a team of consultants in their respective practice areas and supervised one or more practice managers, who in turn supervised a number of front-line consultants.

Approximately eight months after Plaintiff started in her position as National Practice Director of Emtec's Oracle HCM practice, specifically, on February 17, 2012, Reid told the three Oracle National Practice Directors-Plaintiff, Given, and Siler-that Emtec planned to expand its Oracle practice to work with Oracle's new "Fusion" software. At or around that time, Reid decided to incorporate Oracle Fusion into the existing Oracle practice groups led by Plaintiff, Given, and Siler, which increased their job responsibilities. Thereafter, Plaintiff went to Oracle's headquarters in California for training in March and April 2012. At some point in May 2012, however, Reid decided to make structural changes to the ...

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