United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Hardy ("Hardy") sued the City of Chicago
("City") and former Chicago Police Superintendent
Gary McCarthy ("McCarthy"), the latter in his
official and individual capacity, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("Section 1983"), charging them with having
deprived him of a sergeant's position in the Chicago
Police Department ("Department") without due
process of law in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Asserting that he was unlawfully demoted from his position
without the procedures guaranteed by Department's
Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA"), Hardy
seeks damages, declaratory relief and reinstatement.
and City have filed separate motions for summary judgment
under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56(a). For the reasons
explained in this opinion, both motions are granted and
Hardy's case is dismissed.
of the consent judgment in the long-pending Shakman v.
Democratic Organization of Cook County litigation,
Department adopted a Hiring Plan that was negotiated and
agreed to with the plaintiffs and a federal monitor and was
then approved by this District Court (C. St. ¶
Under the version of the Hiring Plan provided to this Court
by the parties,  Department's Human Resources
Department oversees the selection and promotion decisions for
sworn titles (which includes sergeants) by Department and
acts as a liaison between Department and City's
Department of Human Resources ("Human Resources")
(C. St. ¶ 10). Human Resources functions as the
"gatekeeper to the City's processes governing
actions covered by [the] Hiring Plan and Other Employment
Actions" (C. St. ¶ 11; Hiring Plan at 8). In that
capacity, a Human Resources Recruiter:
shall suspend a requisition at any point in the hiring
process when he or she has reason to believe that a Hiring
Manager, Hiring Authority, or other City employee may have
committed a violation of [the] Hiring Plan . . . (Hiring Plan
course the Hiring Plan is subject to other applicable laws as
well as to the terms of Department's CBA. In particular
CBA at 12 states that "[n]o sergeant covered by this
Agreement shall be suspended, relieved from duty or
disciplined in any manner without just cause."
special relevance to this case, Hiring Plan at 13-14 states
that officers must meet certain requirements to be placed on
the merit eligibility list for promotion to sergeant,
including attaining a predetermined minimum score on a
qualifying exam. In addition, Hiring Plan at 22-24 details a
merit promotion process, which may be used to fill up to 30%
of the vacant positions for each round of promotions. Through
the merit promotion process any command staff below the rank
of Deputy Superintendent may nominate individuals for
promotion (id.). In turn the nominees' packets
are reviewed by a merit board, the merit board makes
non-binding recommendations to the Superintendent, and the
Superintendent then selects members for promotion at his
discretion (id. at 22-23). All nominees must appear
on the merit eligibility list, which confirms that they have
achieved the minimum score on the qualifying exam
(id. at 22). Interviews are not required for merit
promotions (id. at 22-24).
Hardy has been employed by Department as a sworn police
officer since 1991 (M. St. ¶ 1). During a period before
the incidents that gave rise to this case, Hardy was assigned
as a driver for Superintendent McCarthy (M. St. ¶ 2). At
some point the two discussed whether Hardy would be
interested in a promotion to sergeant (H. Resp. C. St. ¶
February 2013 Department posted a merit process announcement,
which opened the process for a round of merit promotions to
the position of sergeant (C. St. ¶ 34). At that point
McCarthy and Hardy again discussed the latter's interest
in a promotion (H. St. ¶ 7). When Hardy indicated that
he was interested in being promoted to sergeant, McCarthy
asked his chief of staff Gus Miniotis ("Miniotis")
to see if someone would be interested in nominating Hardy (H.
St. ¶ 8). Miniotis then asked Commander Jonathan Johnson
("Johnson") to do so, and Johnson agreed (M. St.
¶¶ 26, 28). But again, to be promoted through the
merit process nominees must have passed the written
qualifying examination and appear on the merit eligibility
list (C. St. ¶¶ 9, 19, 23, 34). And unknown to
McCarthy and Johnson, Hardy was well aware that he had failed
the qualifying exam (M. St. ¶¶ 25, 27, 28).
March 2013 Johnson nominated Hardy for merit promotion to
sergeant without confirming that he had passed the qualifying
exam (M. St. ¶ 28). Sergeant Daniel Baroli then informed
Hardy that Johnson had nominated him for sergeant and
instructed him to work with Department to put together his
nomination packet (M. St. ¶ 32). At some point after
Hardy submitted his nomination packet, he was interviewed by
McCarthy and other members of the command staff (M. St.
¶ 33). Without verifying that Hardy was on the merit
eligibility list, Department's Human Resources Department
forwarded Hardy's nomination packet to the merit board,
which was responsible for reviewing the packets and offering
recommendations for merit promotions (C. St. ¶¶ 22,
37-39). On April 5, 2013 the merit board issued its
recommendations but did not recommend Hardy for a merit
promotion (C. St. ¶ 40).
spring of 2014, not bound by the merit board's
recommendations and unaware that Hardy had failed the
qualifying exam, McCarthy selected Hardy for promotion to
sergeant (M. St. ¶ 34; C. St. ¶ 41). Hardy then
attended sergeant training in the spring of 2014 (M. St.
¶ 34). On June 11 Hardy completed that training and was
issued a sergeant's star and shield (D. Resp. H. St.
¶ 12). After Hardy had completed sergeant training he
was assigned to the 7th District as a sergeant on June 15 (C.
St. ¶ 43; M. St. ¶ 35). Throughout that process
Hardy never expressed concern to McCarthy or anyone else that
he had failed the qualifying exam (M. St. ¶ 31).
point Human Resources had not yet approved Hardy's
promotion (M. St. ¶ 37). Then on June 23 Elizabeth Opel
("Opel"), a Human Resources recruiter, reviewed
Hardy's merit promotion paperwork and noticed a problem:
Hardy's name did not appear on the merit eligibility list
because he had not passed the qualifying exam (C. St.
¶¶ 45, 46). Opel then informed her supervisor
Christina Batorski, who notified Human Resources Deputy
Director Rose Sprinkle ("Sprinkle") (M. St. ¶
38). Sprinkle in turn notified Department's Chief of the
Bureau of Administration Eugene Williams
("Williams") that there was a problem with
Hardy's promotion -- specifically, that the promotion
could not be processed because Hardy did not meet the
eligibility requirements (M. St. ¶ 39, 41). Williams
relayed the bad news to Hardy on June 25, informing him that
he was not on the merit eligibility list because he had not
passed the written qualifying exam and that he must return to
his previous rank (C. St. ¶ 49; H. St. ¶ 22).