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Michel v. Princeville Community Unit School District #326 Board of Education

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

September 28, 2016

BECKY MICHEL, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINCEVILLE COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #326 BOARD OF EDUCATION, Defendant.

          ORDER

          SARA DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Becky Michel's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment, ECF No. 32, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). This Court granted summary judgment for Defendant, Princeville Community Unit School District #326 Board of Education (“the Board”) on September 15, 2015, S.J. Order, ECF No. 30, dismissing all claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”). Michel seeks to have the Court reconsider its basis for that decision. For the following reasons, Michel's Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment is DENIED.

         Background

         Michel challenges only the Court's ruling under the indirect method of proof, arguing that the Court did not address her argument that she was treated in a disparate manner in the application of the Board's employment expectations. Pl.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Alt. J. 4, ECF No. 32-1.[1] Michel seeks relief on the basis that the Court patently misunderstood or misapprehended this argument. Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc., 906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990). Examination of the Summary Judgment Order shows that the Court addressed and carefully analyzed the relevant arguments in coming to its conclusion. The Court also found that Michel did not establish the existence of a similarly situated employee who had been treated more favorably on the basis of gender, S.J. Order 15, or age, id. at 22.

         Facts

         For purposes of this motion, some background on Plaintiff's relationship with Superintendent Jim Colyott, which was comprehensively detailed in the Summary Judgment Order, is necessary.

         i. Plaintiff's Formal Evaluations by Colyott

         Colyott became superintendent in July 2008. Michel received her first formal evaluation from Colyott in January 2009. She received a satisfactory performance rating for the 2008-2009 school year. Though the review was largely positive, Colyott criticized Michel's ability and/or willingness to complete assignments by the given deadline: “Becky must understand that when she is asked to complete a written or verbal professional task by the District Superintendent that it is not to be considered optional and must be made a priority.” Michel's next formal evaluation occurred in January 2010. She received an unsatisfactory performance rating. The report stated that “[t]here have been many instances during this evaluation year where [Plaintiff] has not complied with the verbal and/or written directives of the superintendent” and included a non-exhaustive list of such incidents.

         Michel also received an unsatisfactory performance rating for the 2010-2011 school year. In the comments section of the evaluation, Colyott wrote that “Michel's lack of improvement in her administrative performance since her last performance evaluation is disappointing, ” and admonished Plaintiff for her continued failure to follow directives in a timely manner: “[Plaintiff] must understand that the assignments and tasks of a school administrator are at times, difficult, challenging, and certainly time consuming. This does not negate the fact that the tasks must be done and usually in conjunction with a specific timeline.”

         ii. Recommendation of Dismissal

         The Summary Judgment Order detailed the incidents Colyott relied on in his recommendation to dismiss Michel, S.J. Order 6-9, a sampling of which include:

         (1) On July 8, 2008, Colyott instructed Michel to order shirts for both the PGS and PHS kitchen staffs. Only the PGS shirts were ordered. Michel admitted that the PHS shirts had not been ordered, but testified that the PHS shirts had been ordered and distributed within a week after discovering the error.

         (2) On September 22, 2008, Michel failed to update the PGS activity hotline, as Colyott had instructed. Michel also failed to update the PGS activity hotline on February 9, 2009 and again on February 17, 2009. At her deposition, Michel testified that “[she] did not check the hotline every Monday to make sure Mrs. Baer [updated] it, ” stating that she “had far more pressing issues to take care of.” Michel also testified that she “failed to maintain [the activity hotline] at least three times.”

         (3) In October 2008, Michael failed to provide Colyott with her principal's goals by the given deadline. Colyott had requested that Michel meet with him to discuss the goals no later than October 15, 2008. ...


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