United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CHICAGO and ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO,
Elizabeth M. Pall One of Their Attorneys
Rebecca R. Pallmeyer, Judge
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF
Michael T. Mason, Magistrate Judge
the Catholic Bishop of Chicago and the Archdiocese of Chicago
("Defendants"), by and through their attorneys,
hereby move, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
50(a) for judgment as a matter of law. In support of their
motion, Defendants state as follows.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a), a trial judge
"must direct a verdict if, under the governing law,
there can be but one reasonable conclusion as to the
verdict." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 (1986). Importantly, a trial judge is not
"required to submit a question to a jury merely because
some evidence has been introduced by the party having the
burden of proof, unless the evidence be of such a character
that it would warrant the jury in finding a verdict in favor
of that party." Id. at 251, citing
Schuylkill & Dauphin Imp. Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S.
442, 448 (1871). Thus, the question is "not whether
there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon
which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the
party producing it, upon whom the onus of proof is
imposed." Id. (emphasis in original).
order to succeed on her retaliation claim, Plaintiff must
prove that she (1) engaged in a statutorily protected
activity; (2) suffered an adverse employment action; and (3)
that a causal connect exists between the two. Tomanovich
v. City of Indianapolis, 457 F.3d 656, 663 (7th Cir.
2006). For the causation factor, Plaintiff is
required to demonstrate that "the desire to retaliate
was the but-for cause of the challenged employment
action." University of Texas Sw. Med. Ctr. v.
Nassar, 133 S.Ct. 2517, 2528 (2013). "This requires
proof that the unlawful retaliation would not have occurred
in the absence of the alleged wrongful action or actions of
the employer." Id. at 2533.
failed to provide any evidence that she engaged in
statutorily engaged activity or that there was a causal
connection between any alleged protected activity and her
separation from employment.
PLAINTIFF DID NOT ENGAGE IN PROTECTED ACTIVITY
this year, this Court held that "a plaintiff claiming
retaliation must not only have a subjective (sincere, good
faith) belief that she opposed an unlawful practice; her
belief must also be objectively reasonable, which means that
the complaint must involve discrimination that is prohibited
by Title VII." Isbell v. Baxter Healthcare
Corp., --F.Supp.3d --, No. 15 C 7333, 2017 WL 1196890, *
11 (N.D. Ill. March 31, 2017) (Pallmeyer, J.). In order to be
prohibited by Title VII, the underlying discrimination or
harassment must: (1) have occurred because of Plaintiff's
protected status; and (2) have been directed toward the
Plaintiff. Id. at *11-12.
Plaintiff Failed to Allege That the IT Vendor Was Viewing
Pornography in the Parish Office Because of Her
filing an official complaint with an employer may constitute
statutorily protected activity under Title VII, the complaint
must indicate the discrimination occurred because of sex,
race, national origin, or some other protected class."
Tomanovich, 457 F.3d at 663; see also Tank v.
T-Mobile USA, Inc., 758 F.3d 800, 809 (7th Cir. 2014)
(complaining about the actions of a co-worker "is not
statutorily protected expression when the complained of
conduct does not relate to [a protected status]");
Orton-Bell v. Indiana, 759 F.3d 768, 776 (7th Cir.
2014) ("merely complaining in general terms of
discrimination or harassment, without indicating a connection
to a protected class or providing facts sufficient to create
that inference, is insufficient.")
Orton-Bell, the plaintiff alleged that she was
retaliated against after making a complaint that night shift
workers were having sex on her desk after hours. 759 F.3d at
769. The Court found that plaintiff had not engaged in
protected activity because "Orton-Bell's
complaint…that the night-shift staff was using her
desk for sex [was] undoubtedly a valid complaint, [b]ut
Orton-Bell has not provided any ...