United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. LEE, United States District Judge
Christel Van Dyke is the maternal grandmother and former
foster parent of K.C. In 2013, when K.C. was three years old,
employees from Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI)
and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
(DCFS) came to Plaintiff's home, and K.C. was removed.
Plaintiff alleges that, after K.C.'s removal, LSSI
employees decreased the amount of time that Plaintiff was
allowed to visit and speak with K.C.
upon these events, Plaintiff has sued Defendants Linda Fultz
and Melissa Johnson, two LSSI employees, and Defendant Dawn
Barnes, a DCFS employee. Plaintiff brings claims under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the Fourth and First
Amendments, alleging that Defendants unreasonably searched
her house upon K.C.'s removal and retaliated against her
for exercising her right to free speech. Defendants have
moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated herein,
Defendant Fultz and Johnson's motion for summary judgment
 is denied. Defendant Barnes's motion for summary
judgment  is granted.
for summary judgment in the Northern District of Illinois are
governed by Local Rule 56.1. “The obligation set forth
in Local Rule 56.1 ‘is not a mere formality.'
Rather, ‘[i]t follows from the obligation imposed by
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) on the party opposing summary judgment to
identify specific facts that establish a genuine issue for
trial.'” Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d
895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Waldridge v. Am.
Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 924 (7th Cir. 1994)). The
Seventh Circuit has “routinely held that a district
court may strictly enforce compliance with its local rules
regarding summary judgment motions.” Yancick v.
Hanna Steel Corp., 653 F.3d 532, 537 (7th Cir. 2011)
(quoting Schmidt v. Eagle Waste & Recycling,
Inc., 599 F.3d 626, 630 (7th Cir. 2010)).
Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires a party moving for summary judgment
to file “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.” LR 56.1(a)(3). Local Rule 56.1(a) further
specifies that this statement of facts “shall consist
of short numbered paragraphs, including within each paragraph
specific references to affidavits, parts of the record, and
other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts
set forth in that paragraph.” LR 56.1(a). In addition,
Local Rule 56.1(a) explicitly warns that “[f]ailure to
submit such a statement constitutes grounds for denial of the
turn, Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) requires the nonmovant to file
“a concise response to the movant's statement that
shall contain . . . a response to each numbered paragraph in
the moving party's statement, including, in the case of
any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits,
parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied
upon.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(B). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C)
further requires the nonmovant to file a response that
contains a separate “statement . . . of any additional
facts that require the denial of summary judgment.” LR
56.1(b)(3)(C). The nonmovant's failure to comply with
these requirements carries significant consequences. In
particular, “[a]ll material facts set forth in the
statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be
admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing
party.” LR 56.1(b)(3); see also Smith v. Lamz,
321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“We have
consistently held that a failure to respond by the nonmovant
as mandated by the local rules results in an
moving for summary judgment, Fultz and Johnson have failed to
file a statement of material facts as required by Local Rule
56.1(a)(3). Although they acknowledge that they have not
complied with Local Rule 56.1(a)(3), they argue that their
noncompliance is not fatal to their motion, on the ground
that their supporting brief includes a “Facts section .
. . supported by the record and attached exhibits.”
Fultz & Johnson's Reply at 1, ECF No. 164.
Court is unpersuaded that Fultz and Johnson's inclusion
of a “Facts section” in their brief warrants
lenient enforcement of Local Rule 56.1(a). First, not all of
the factual statements in Fultz and Johnson's brief are
supported with citations to the record. See Fultz
& Johnson's Mot. Summ. J. at 2-7, ECF No. 145.
“Factual allegations not properly supported by citation
to the record are nullities.” Malec v.
Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 583 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Moreover,
by failing to file a statement of facts, Fultz and Johnson
have precluded Plaintiff from filing a response as required
by Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). The Court therefore cannot
determine, based on the record before it, which material
facts are disputed between the parties. For these reasons,
strict enforcement of Local Rule 56.1(a) is appropriate in
the present case. Fultz and Johnson's motion for summary
judgment is accordingly denied for failure to file a
statement of facts under Local Rule 56.1(a).
filings relating to Barnes's motion for summary judgment
also involve a Local Rule 56.1 violation, although of a
different nature than Fultz and Johnson's. In support of
her motion, Barnes filed a statement of facts as required by
Local Rule 56.1(a)(3). Plaintiff, however, failed to file a
response to Barnes's statement of facts as required by
Local Rule 56.1(b)(3). Because Plaintiff has failed to comply
with Local Rule 56.1(b)(3), all facts in Barnes's Local
Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement are deemed admitted for purposes of
Barnes's motion for summary judgment. See LR
56.1(b)(3); Smith, 321 F.3d at 683.
is the former foster mother and maternal grandmother of a
minor named K.C. Barnes's LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 1,
ECF No. 148. At the time of the events in question, Defendant
Barnes worked as a child protection investigator for DCFS.
Id. ¶ 2. Defendant Fultz worked as a case
worker for LSSI. Id. ¶ 3.
took protective custody of K.C. in November 2011, after K.C.
became the subject of juvenile court proceedings in the
Circuit Court of Winnebago County, Illinois. Id.
¶ 7. K.C. was two years old at the time. Id.
DCFS contracted with LSSI to provide child welfare services
to K.C. Id. ¶ 8. Accordingly, LSSI placed K.C.
in foster care with Plaintiff in December 2011. Id.
2012, while K.C. was still under Plaintiff's care, the
Circuit Court of Winnebago County adjudicated K.C. a
neglected minor. Id. ¶ 11. The DCFS
Guardianship Administrator was thus appointed as K.C.'s
legal guardian and custodian. Id. In addition, the
DCFS Guardianship Administrator was given the discretion to
place K.C. in the care of his mother, a responsible relative,
or a foster parent. Id.
alleges that, during the time K.C. was under her foster care,
he reported to her that his biological father, R.C., was
sexually abusing him during his visitation hours. 4th Am.
Compl. ¶ 13, ECF No. 115. Plaintiff further alleges that
she reported this sexual abuse to Defendants, the DCFS child
abuse hotline, and the police, and that she also petitioned