United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
6, 2014, the plaintiff was shopping for a skirt in the
defendant's store and, when she reached up to take one
down from a hook on the wall, an empty shelf lower on the
wall fell and hit her foot. She sued for damages in the
Circuit Court of Cook County, under theories of premises
liability and negligence. The defendant removed the case here
based on diversity jurisdiction and has moved for summary
judgment on plaintiff's Complaint.
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). The court must construe the evidence and
all inferences that reasonably can be drawn from it in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Allin v.
City of Springfield, 845 F.3d 858, 861 (7th Cir. 2017);
Chaib v. Geo Grp., Inc., 819 F.3d 337, 340 (7th Cir.
2016). A factual dispute is “genuine” only if a
reasonable jury could find for either party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986);
Alston v. City of Madison, 853 F.3d 901 (7th Cir.
2017) . If the opponent - here, the plaintiff -
“‘fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial, summary judgment must be granted.” Blow
v. Bijora, Inc., 855 F.3d 793 (7th Cir.
2017). See generally, Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
Local Rule 56.1
always, the facts underlying this summary judgment proceeding
are drawn from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 submissions.
“For litigants appearing in the Northern District of
Illinois, the Rule 56.1 statement is a critical, and
required, component of a litigant's response to a motion
for summary judgment.” Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease,
Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir.2012). Local Rule 56.1
requires a party seeking summary judgment to include with its
motion “a statement of material facts as to which the
... party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle
the ... party to a judgment as a matter of law.” Local
Rule 56.1(a)(3); Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc.,
527 F.3d 635, 643 (7th Cir.2008). Each paragraph must refer
to the “affidavits, parts of the record, and other
supporting materials” that substantiate the asserted
facts. Local Rule 56.1(a)(3); F.T.C. v. Bay Area Business
Council, Inc., 423 F.3d 627, 633 (7th Cir.2005).
party opposing summary judgment must then respond to the
movant's statement of proposed material facts; that
response must contain both “a response to each numbered
paragraph in the moving party's statement, ” Local
Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B), and a separate statement
“consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any
additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment,
” Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C); Ciomber, 527 F.3d
at 643. Again, each response, and each asserted fact, must be
supported with a reference to the record. Local Rule
56.1(b)(3)(B); Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d
625, 632 (7th Cir.2009); Bay Area Business Council,
Inc., 423 F.3d at 633.
district court is entitled to enforce strict compliance with
its local rules regarding summary judgment motions. See
Gray v. Hardy, 826 F.3d 1000, 1004-05 (7th Cir. 2016);
Friend v. Valley View Cmty. Unit Sch. Dist. 365U,
789 F.3d 707, 711 (7th Cir. 2015);Yancick v. Hanna Steel
Corp., 653 F.3d 532, 537 (7th Cir.2011); Schmidt v.
Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc., 599 F.3d 626, 630
(7th Cir.2010). And that rule has been applied even in cases
involving pro se litigants. Welcher-Butler v.
Brennan, 619 F.App'x 550 (7th Cir. 2015). Thus,
responses and facts that are not set out properly and
appropriately supported in an opponent's Rule 56.1
response need not be considered. See Shaffer v. American
Medical Association, 662 F.3d 439, 442 (7th Cir.2011);
Bay Area Business Council, 423 F.3d at 633. Here,
the defendant has filed a proper statement of facts. [Dkt.
#25]. The plaintiff has not; indeed, she has neither filed a
response to the defendant's statement of facts, nor her
own statement of additional facts. [Dkt. #36]. As a result,
defendant's properly supported facts are deemed admitted,
Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735
F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir.2013), and the assertions plaintiff
makes in her brief need not be considered. See Flint v.
City of Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 767 (7th Cir.
2015)(court need only consider “the facts (and
inferences drawn from them) presented in accordance with
Local Rule 56.1.”); Johal v. Little Lady Foods,
Inc., 434 F.3d 943, 947 (7th Cir. 2006)(court entitled
to ignore facts set out, not in proper Local Rule 56.1
submission, but in memorandum of law)
facts in this case are not complicated. As already mentioned,
plaintiff went skirt-shopping at defendant's store in
early May of 2014. [Dkt #25, ¶¶ 4-5]. In her
deposition, plaintiff testified that she frequently shopped
at that particular store. (Dep., at 17, 18). Upon entering
the store, she walked over to a wall display that had skirts
hanging from hooks that extended out of the wall, just above
an empty shelf. [Dkt. # 25, ¶5; Dep., at 20, 22]. When
she reached up with her right hand to touch a skirt, the
empty shelf fell on top of her left foot. [Dkt. # 25, ¶
5, Dep., at 18, 20, 22]. The plaintiff has no idea why the
shelf fell. [Dkt. # 25, ¶6; Dep., at 22, 42]. She
didn't notice anything wrong with the shelf. [Dkt. # 25,
¶6; Dep., at 22, 42]. In the five years prior to the
incident, the store never received any reports about any
problems with shelving. [Dkt # 25, ¶ 7; Ex. 6].