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O'Donnell v. Caine & Weiner Company, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 15, 2017

PATRICIA J. O'DONNELL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAINE & WEINER COMPANY, LLC. Defendant.

          Kevin M. O'Hagan, Jamie L. Filipovic, Ryan T. Benson, O'Hagan Meyer, LLC Attorney for Caine & Weiner Company, LLC

          Ernest T. Rosellio ERNEST T. ROSSIELLO & ASSOCIATES, P.C.

          ALONSO JUDGE

          DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR A JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW ON RETALIATION CLAIMS

         NOW COMES the Defendant, CAINE & WEINER COMPANY, LLC (“Caine Weiner”), by and through its attorneys O'HAGAN MEYER, LLC, and moves this Honorable Court for a Judgment as a Matter of Law under Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on Plaintiff's claims for retaliation under Title VII of 1964, 42 USCS § 2000e-3 and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d). In support thereof, Defendant states as follows:

         INTRODUCTION

         Patricia O'Donnell (“Plaintiff”) has shown no discriminatory motive for why Brian Patterson, Frank Dispensa, Joe Batie or Chris Melisko would recommend her termination based on the complaints she made regarding wages. The evidence established in Plaintiff's case in chief is merely that Plaintiff made complaints and that the decision to terminate her came after she took and copied confidential information. To establish retaliation, Plaintiff must prove by a a preponderance of the evidence that her complaints were a motive in her termination. Not only has she not met her burden, there is not even a scintilla of evidence of motive. No witness has presented evidence that a reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of Plaintiff on her retaliation claims.

         ARGUMENT

         A. Rule 50(a) Standard

         Under Rule 50(a), a court should render judgment as a matter of law when “a party has been fully heard on an issue and there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue.” Fed R. Civ. P. 50(a); see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2109, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).

         “A motion for judgment as a matter of law should be granted only when there can be but one conclusion from the evidence.” Id. at 636 (citation omitted). The Court applies this standard in reviewing Defendants' arguments for judgment on each count. Roberts v. County of Cook, 01 C 9373, 2004 WL 1088230, at *1 (N.D. Ill. May 12, 2004).

         B. Title VII and Equal Pay Act Retaliation Standard

         O'Donnell has brought two separate retaliation claims that she has tried to present to the jury in this trial. The first is under Title VII of 1964, 42 USCS § 2000e-3 and the second under the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d). In order to set forth a claim based on retaliation under the Equal Pay Act or Title VII, O'Donnell must allege that: (1) she engaged in statutorily protected activity; (2) she suffered an adverse action by her employer or former employer; and (3) a causal link exists between the protected expression and the adverse action. See Dunning v. Simmons Airlines, Inc., 62 F.3d 863, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1995); also see EEOC v. K & J Mgmt., Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8012, 7 (N.D. Ill. June 7, 2000); Miller v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co., 203 F.3d 997, 1007 (7th Cir. 2000).

         To establish causation, a plaintiff must do more than merely point to the temporal link between engaging in protected activity and an adverse employment action; rather, the plaintiff must put forth other evidence that suggests that the protected activities were related to the employer's decision. Hall v. Forest River, Inc., 536 F.3d 615 (7th Cir. 2008).

         “In the context of a claim of retaliation, while it is true that a court may consider temporal proximity of the protected expression and the adverse employment action in its causation analysis, temporal sequence is not all the court considers. The court must look to any intervening cause that breaks the causal chain.” Smith v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8443, *14 (N.D. Ill. June 19, 2001). “Thus, an ...


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