United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. Tharp, Jr., United States District Judge
Michael Damptz claims he was discriminated against based on
two disabilities and retaliated against twice over the course
of more than seven years by his employer. His employer,
Metra, has moved for summary judgment on all claims. Because
Damptz has failed to demonstrate that several of his claims
are timely, that he could continue to perform his job with
reasonable accommodation, or that his employer had any
retaliatory intent, the motion for summary judgment is
granted in its entirety.
Plaintiff's Non-compliance with Local Rule 56.1
the Court can give the necessary background on this case, it
must consider Plaintiff's compliance with Local Rule
56.1(b)(3). This rule requires a “concise response to
the movant's statement” that must include specific
references to the record in the event of a dispute and a
short statement of numbered paragraphs that similarly
reference the relevant record. Failure to comply with this
rule results in the movant's factual allegations being
deemed admitted. Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581,
584 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Purely argumentative denials or
meaningless facts (that is, those that do not require denial
of summary judgment) are inappropriate in a response.
Id. “[L]engthy recitations of additional
facts” in responses to the movant's facts do not
comply with L.R. 56.1(b)(3). Ciomber v. Coop. Plus,
Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 644 (7th Cir. 2008). The Court is
entitled to require strict compliance with this rule.
Flint v. City of Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 767 (7th
the nonmovant in Ciomber, Plaintiff's response
contained “several extremely long, argumentative
paragraphs” in which he denied Metra's
“proposed material facts and presented additional facts
of his own.” Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 644. For
example, Plaintiff's response to Metra's fact ¶
7 (that Plaintiff was a member of a collective bargaining
unit and subject to the CBA) runs almost three pages even
though it is “undisputed as to the language”
(whatever that means). See Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s
Facts (“PSOF”) ¶ 7, ECF No. 138. The
response includes a discussion of 13 sections of the CBA, the
job duties of Metra's Senior Director of EEO/Diversity
Initiatives, and whether Damptz requested an accommodation.
None of which, obviously, are relevant to whether Plaintiff
was subject to the CBA or in a collective bargaining unit.
in response to Metra's fact ¶ 12 (that by August
2010, Plaintiff was the only Machinist Helper at Metra and
Metra was in dire need of Machinists), Plaintiff disputed
only the wore “dire” but then went on to discuss
how Plaintiff felt about losing his seniority, job tasks
Plaintiff could perform despite his disability, and the
impact of Plaintiff's loss of seniority. See Id.
at ¶ 12. Several of the facts alleged in this paragraph
also lack citation to the record. Plaintiff's response to
Metra's ¶ 13 similarly goes on for almost three
pages and his response to ¶ 31 runs almost four pages.
Plaintiff merely gave general denials and then referenced his
rambling response to ¶ 7 in response to Metra's
¶ 25 and ¶ 26. Many of Plaintiff's responses
include a citation to “RDF-PAG ___
” (emphasis in original), which the Court takes to be
an incomplete citation to an unknown and otherwise
unidentified document. See Id. at ¶¶ 36,
37, 38, 39, 47, 48.
statement of additional facts also violates the Local
Rule's requirement that such additional facts be confined
to those “that require the denial of summary
judgment.” L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(c). For example, one of
Plaintiff's additional facts is “Arthur Olsen is
Manager Mechanical Department Olsen first met Damptz in
2001.” Pl.'s Statement of Additional Facts
(“PSAF”) ¶ 9. However, Olsen is not
mentioned anywhere in Plaintiff's brief other than a
vague reference to him among a list of employees whose
depositions Metra did not rely upon. See Pl.'s
Resp. at 6 (“Including Neir's significant testimony
about Damptz as a qualified individual with a
disability, Metra excludes the testimony of its
employees: Countess Cary, Vol. II; Dubin; David May; Kevin
Neir; Olsen; and Noelle Rodriguez.”). Similarly, ¶
23 includes an irrelevant anecdote in which a supervisor once
allegedly told Plaintiff to perform oral sex in exchange for
a promotion. PSAF ¶ 23. Two of Plaintiff's
“facts” simply state the content of attachments.
See Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.
foregoing examples are merely illustrative but should suffice
to explain why the Court chooses to strictly enforce L.R.
56.1 (which is essential to the Court's ability to
determine whether disputes of material fact exist).
Accordingly, the Court finds the following facts admitted.
Michael Damptz is an Illinois resident who has worked for
many years for Metra (legally known as the Northeast Illinois
Regional Commuter Railroad Corporation). See
Def.'s Statement of Facts (“DSOF) ¶¶ 1,
6. Plaintiff was hired by Metra as a Coach Cleaner in May
1988 and was promoted to Machinist Helper in October 1988.
Id. at ¶ 6. In August 2010, Metra needed
Machinists, so Plaintiff was promoted to Machinist (receiving
a higher rate of pay and a new seniority date) and the
Machinist Helper position was eliminated. Id. at
¶¶ 12, 13, 22.
“inspect and repair running and dead trains, and rehab
locomotives.” Id. at ¶ 15. Essential
duties include using equipment such as air tools, impact
guns, hammers, sledges, adjustable height ladders, and
scissor lifts. Id. at ¶ 16. According to the
Department of Labor, Machinists must frequently lift five
pounds and occasionally lift up to 50 pounds, as well as
frequently grasping, ambulating, finely manipulating, and
reaching out. Id. at ¶ 17. At Metra, Machinists
inspect locomotive engines, which can require climbing a
ladder on the side of the engine, lifting over 20 pounds,
using vibrating tools, grasping tools and parts, and lifting
and working above the shoulder level. Id. at ¶
was on medical leave from his job at Metra from June 2003
through June 23, 2004 and September 2005 to September 2008.
DSOF ¶ 28. Plaintiff discovered he had hearing loss in
2007, which he blamed on his work at Metra. Id. at
¶ 30. In January 2009, Metra began requiring employees
to wear hearing protection, but Plaintiff did not do so
because he stated it interfered with his hearing aids.
Id. at ¶¶ 31-32. Metra removed Plaintiff
from work in February 2009 because he would not wear the
hearing protection, but he was reinstated in June 2009, when
he returned and agreed to wear hearing protection.
Id. at ¶¶ 33-34. Also in June 2009,
Plaintiff sued Metra under the Federal Employers'
Liability Act for his hearing loss; that suit later settled.
Id. at ¶ 35. At his deposition, Plaintiff
stated he was satisfied with Metra's hearing protection
and had not asked for different hearing protection or other
protections. Id. at ¶ 36.
5, 2013 (almost three years after being promoted to
Machinist), Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal
Opportunity Employment Commission (“EEOC”)
alleging that his seniority date had been reset when he
became a Machinist in retaliation for requesting an
accommodation for his hearing loss. See Compl. Ex.
1. He also submitted an internal “protest letter”
to the Chief Mechanical Officer regarding his seniority date
on April 18, 2014. DSOF ¶ 38. Plaintiff continued to