United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CHICAGO TEACHERS UNION, LOCAL 1, AMERICAN FEDERAL OF TEACHERS, AFL-CIO, TERRI FELLS, LILLIAN EDMONDS, and JOSEPHINE HAMILTON PERRY, individually and on behalf of all similarly situated persons, Plaintiffs,
BOARD OF EDUCATION OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, a body politic and corporate, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. SHADUR SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
April 11 of this year, nearly 4-1/2 years after this action
was first brought, plaintiffs Chicago Teachers Union, Local
1, American Federal of Teachers, AFL-CIO, Terri Fells,
Lillian Edmonds and Josephine Hamilton Perry filed a
"Motion for Leave To File Second Amended Complaint and
To Clarify the Class Definition" (Dkt. No. 159). That
motion has met with vigorous opposition in a bulky submission
by defendant Board of Education of the City of Chicago
("Board") (Dkt. No. 161), and issue has now been
fully joined by Teachers Union's just-filed response to
Board's opposition (Dkt. No. 164). This opinion hastens
to rule on the parties' dispute so that the case can go
principal part though not entirely, the litigants'
quarrel stems from the definition of the putative class as
originally designated in the Complaint and certified by this
Court on May 22, 2015 (Dkt. No. 96). Here is how that class
All African American persons whose employment as a tenured
teacher or staff member, as defined by the Collective
Bargaining Agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and
the Board of Education of the City of Chicago, was terminated
by the Board of Education pursuant to its "layoff
policies" in 2011.
because the choice of terminology by Teachers Union's
counsel used the word "terminated" in what must be
recognized as an awkward sense, the proposed Second Amended
Complaint is sought by that counsel to "clarify"
the original definition to read:
All African American persons employed as a tenured teacher or
staff member, as defined by the collective bargaining
agreement between the Chicago Teachers Union and the Board of
Education of the City of Chicago, who received a layoff
notice from the Board of Education pursuant to its
"layoff policy" in 2011.
has emerged from the parties' dispute is a classic
illustration of what has caused a line from the movie
Cool Hand Luke to become embedded in American
have here is a failure to communicate.
certainly regrettable that counsel on both sides of the
"v." sign have not sought assistance from
knowledgeable patent lawyers, for if that had been the case a
Markman hearing would long since have been teed up
for decision, thereby avoiding the current situation in which
each side has generated a statistical analysis shaped by its
own view. Although this Court faults Teachers Union's
counsel for the understandable confusion created by their use
of the word "terminated" when it is looked at in
isolation,  this Court does not write on a clean slate
in this area. Instead it has gone back to the parties'
Joint Report of Rule 26(f) Conference (Dkt. No. 117), filed
last June at the instance of Magistrate Judge Susan Cox, to
whom the case had been referred for that purpose. At that
time the brief description provided by counsel for the
Teachers Union included this statement:
Plaintiffs allege that Defendant used discriminatory
processes and factors, including projected student enrollment
that disproportionately selected schools in the predominately
African American South and West sides of Chicago for layoffs.
In turn, Defendant laid off disproportionate numbers of
African American teachers and staff.
Board's counsel provided this brief description:
The class has alleged that layoffs by the Chicago Board of
Education at the conclusion of the 2010-2011 school year had
a disparate impact on African American members of the Chicago
Teachers Union ("CTU").
The Board of Education denies that it discriminated against
African American CTU members in the 2011 layoffs, and denies
any liability to the Plaintiff class.
consistently with those descriptions, the same joint report
listed this as a ...