United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on defendant Stein Steel Mill
Services, Inc.'s (“Stein”) Motion (Doc. 44)
for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff filed a timely response.
a retaliatory discharge claim commenced on December 18, 2015,
in the Circuit Court, Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County,
Illinois. Plaintiff alleges that he was employed by Stein
from July 2013 until February 2015 and that he was discharged
after he voiced his concern about his supervisors'
instructions to input the improper grade of steel when
weighing it in order to increase the value.
is a contractor of U.S. Steel and performed its duties on
U.S. Steel property in Granite City, Illinois.
Plaintiff's job duties required him to transport
materials to and from a mill operated by U.S. Steel -
including taking loads of steel waste to weigh for the
determination of its value. On February 11, 2013, plaintiff
states that he informed his supervisors of his
“concerns with inputting the wrong grades of steel when
weighing it.” On February 11, 2013, plaintiff was
banned from entering U.S. Steel property for 30 days. After
the 30 day ban, he was indefinitely prohibited from entering
U.S. Steel property which effectively ceased plaintiff's
employment with Stein since access to U.S. Steel property was
necessary in order to work for Stein. According to the
plaintiff, Stein provided U.S. Steel false information about
the plaintiff which resulted in U.S. Steel permanently
banning the plaintiff from its property.
Court notes that defendants Medford and Beasly have been
dismissed without prejudice (Doc. 25) and this matter is
proceeding against defendant Stein on one count of
judgment must be granted, “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); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels
Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000).
The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986);
Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir.
2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.
initial summary judgment burden of production is on the
moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to
have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323;
Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir.
2013). Where the non-moving party carries the burden of proof
at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of
production in one of two ways. It may present evidence that
affirmatively negates an essential element of the non-moving
party's case, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A),
or it may point to an absence of evidence to support an
essential element of the non-moving party's case without
actually submitting any evidence, see Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(B). Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25;
Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1169. Where the moving party
fails to meet its strict burden, a court cannot enter summary
judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party
fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion.
Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).
responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party
may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the
pleadings, but must present specific facts to show that a
genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57;
Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of
material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of
“some alleged factual dispute between the parties,
” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by “some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material
fact exists only if “a fair-minded jury could return a
verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence
presented.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
is, of course, well established that, as a general matter, a
district court exercising jurisdiction because the parties
are of diverse citizenship must apply state substantive law
and federal procedural law.” Windy City Metal
Fabricators & Supply, Inc. v. CIT Tech. Fin. Servs.,
Inc., 536 F.3d 663, 670 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Erie
R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938)).
is settled law in Illinois that an employee at will may be
terminated by his employer at any time for any reason or none
at all. A narrow exception to the “employment at
will” doctrine has been established in those cases
wherein an employee can demonstrate that he was terminated in
retaliation for his actions.” Pratt v. Caterpillar
Tractor Co., 500 N.E.2d 1001, 1002 (Ill.App.3d Dist.
1986). “A valid claim for retaliatory discharge
requires a showing that (1) an employee has been discharged;
(2) in retaliation for the employee's activities; and (3)
that the discharge violates a clear mandate of public
policy.” McCoy v. Maytag Corp., 495 F.3d 515,
520-21 (7th Cir. 2007)(citing Carter v. Tennant Co.,
383 F.3d 673, 677 (7th Cir.2004) (quoting Bourbon v.
Kmart Corp., 223 F.3d 469, 472 (7th Cir.2000)).
first argues that it is entitled to summary judgment because
it never discharged the plaintiff. As such, defendant argues,
the plaintiff fails to meet the first ...