United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
GEORGE D. HIRMIZ, Plaintiff,
TRAVELODGE HOTEL CORP., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ST. EVE, District Court Judge
Plaintiff George D. Hirmiz alleges that his former employer,
Defendant Travelodge Hotel Corporation, violated the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42
U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and retaliated against
him by terminating his employment in violation of Illinois
common law. Before the Court is Defendant's motion for
summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)
and Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1. For the
following reasons, the Court grants Defendant's motion
and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, Defendant 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. Ohio Nat'l Life
Assur. Corp. v. Davis, 803 F.3d 904, 906 (7th Cir.
purpose of Rule 56.1 is to have the litigants present to the
district court a clear, concise list of material facts that
are central to the summary judgment determination. It is the
litigants' duty to clearly identify material facts in
dispute and provide the admissible evidence that tends to
prove or disprove the proffered fact.” Curtis v.
Costco Wholesale Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 219 (7th Cir.
2015); see also Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895,
899 (7th Cir. 2011). Local Rule 56.1(a) “requires the
party moving for summary judgment to file and serve a
‘statement of material facts as to which the moving
party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the
moving party to a judgment as a matter of law.'”
Curtis, 807 F.3d at 218 (citation omitted).
“The non-moving party must file a response to the
moving party's statement, and, in the case of any
disagreement, cite ‘specific references to the
affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting
materials relied upon.'” Petty v. Chicago,
754 F.3d 415, 420 (7th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted); see
also L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(A). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C)
“requires specifically that a litigant seeking to
oppose a motion for summary judgment file a response that
contains a separate ‘statement ... of any additional
facts that require the denial of summary
judgment.'” Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease,
Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 2012) (citation
courts construe pro se pleadings liberally, see Thomas v.
Williams, 822 F.3d 378, 385 (7th Cir. 2016), a
plaintiff's pro se status does not excuse him from
complying with the federal and local procedural rules.
See Collins v. Illinois, 554 F.3d 693, 697 (7th Cir.
2009) (“even pro se litigants must follow procedural
rules”). 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). Because Plaintiff has failed to properly
respond to Defendant's Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts, the Court accepts Defendant's facts as
true. See Zoretic v. Darge, __F.3d__, 2016 WL
4177213, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2016); Apex Digital,
Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th
operates New Harrison Hotel Corp., d/b/a Travelodge Hotel
Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. (R. 56, Def.'s Stmt. Facts
¶ 1.) On May 8, 2007, Defendant hired Plaintiff as a
night auditor/front desk agent. (Id. ¶ 2.)
During the relevant time period, Plaintiff's supervisors
were the hotel's front desk manager, Darren Andrews, and
the general manager, Hermize Youkhamna. (Id.
¶¶ 3, 4.) On February 24, 2015, Defendant
terminated Plaintiff's employment for sleeping on the
job, abandoning his post, failing to report details of an
incident where a guest was hurt during a fight, failing to
contact police and paramedics at the time of the incident,
failing to use the proper incident reporting procedure, and
insubordination. (Id. ¶ 23.)
to its employment handbook, Defendant has a four-step
progressive discipline policy that starts with a verbal
warning, leads to a written warning, followed by suspension
or demotion, and concludes with termination. (Id.
¶ 5.) On August 26, 2010, Defendant verbally warned
Plaintiff about the improper processing of unverified credit
card charges. (Id. ¶ 6.) Thereafter, on October
23, 2012, Defendant warned Plaintiff in writing about three
separate instances where he mishandled reservations.
(Id. ¶ 7.) On May 16, 2014, Defendant wrote-up
Plaintiff for violating Defendant's anti-discrimination
policy because Plaintiff mistreated an African-American hotel
visitor and used inappropriate racial epithets. (Id.
¶ 11.) Also, on May 16, 2014, Defendant placed Plaintiff
on probation for one year and advised him that any further
infractions could result in Defendant terminating his
employment. (Id. ¶ 13.)
February 10, 2015, Plaintiff left his post at the hotel front
desk and appeared to have been sleeping in the lobby.
(Id. ¶ 15.) While Plaintiff was away from his
post, a fight broke out among a group of men in the lobby.
(Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff returned to his post when
the same group of men resumed fighting. (Id. ¶
19.) As a result of the fight, a victim was hospitalized due
to his injuries. (Id. ¶ 21.) Thereafter,
Defendant conducted an investigation into the February 10,
2015 incident, including a review of the video recording of
the lobby. (Id. ¶ 22.) On February 24, 2015,
Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment.
(Id. ¶ 23.)
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact
exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248,
106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In determining
summary judgment motions, “facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is
a ‘genuine' dispute as to those facts.”
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769,
167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment
has the burden of establishing that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986). After “a properly supported motion for
summary judgment is made, the adverse party ‘must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.'” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255