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Randle v. Chase Bank

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

February 13, 2018




         Now before the Court is the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 89). The Defendants move for summary judgment as to Count I of the Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 53), as to the time-barred allegations of battery and assault in Counts II and III of the Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint, and as to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim in Count VI against Defendant Chase in the Third Amended Complaint. The Motion is fully briefed and for the reasons set forth below, the Defendants’ Motion is GRANTED. Because the grant of that motion resolves the only federal claim in this case, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims.


         On July 8, 2016, Plaintiff Randle filed her Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 53) which is the controlling complaint in this case. In it, Randle alleged that she consistently worked 40-hour workweeks as a full-time employee and never made any complaints to Defendant Chase until Defendants Greg Haney (Haney) and Bev Davis Anderson (Davis) became her supervisors around April 2004. She alleged their harassment of her began on or around that time when they engaged in practical jokes at her expense. Randle alleged, among other things that: in 2004 she was instructed to take down pictures of her biracial grandchildren on her desk though Defendant Davis kept her non-biracial children’s pictures on her desk and it was later confirmed to Randle that she could have pictures of her grandchildren on her desk; in 2004 Davis and Haney put an insect in her sandwich and laughed at her; around April 2004 until October 7, 2009, Randle would schedule doctor’s appointments and give Davis two weeks’ notice but when the appointment dates came, Davis would take an extra long lunch to intentionally make Randle late for her appointments; from around April 2004 throughout her employment, Randle would attend morning meetings and Defendant Davis would scowl at her when she attempted to talk and Haney would not stop Davis’s scowling behavior; around July 2009, Randle asked Haney to cash a check for her at the end of the day and she overheard him and Davis laughing loudly and holding her check up for all to see while commenting about how it came from public aid; around December 2009, the bank branch where Randle worked received a threat and Haney failed to inform her of the threat; around February 2010, Haney gave Randle a birthday card with a picture of a tall skinny black dog standing on its hind legs wearing an apron and serving people to mock Randle based upon her race; around July 2010, Randle was supposed to receive a 20-year anniversary plaque from Chase but she did not receive it and questioned Haney about it who admitted he actually had it for a few weeks but had not given it to her in retaliation for her complaining to their district manager; around February 2011, Randle put her jacket on and discovered long straight pins planted in her coat while at work by Haney and Davis; and around October 2011, a customer entered the bank and stated Randle could pass for a pretty black Barbie doll and later that afternoon, Davis presented Randle with a black baldheaded baby doll.

         Randle’s original complaint was filed on October 23, 2013 and the Court thereafter dismissed her claims of employment discrimination against Haney and Davis. After Randle filed her first amended complaint, the Court: dismissed her claims for sexual harassment, age discrimination, negligent retention, and retaliation with prejudice; dismissed all battery and assault allegations occurring prior to October 23, 2011; dismissed her claims for trespass, trespass to chattels, and conversion; and limited her claims for battery and assault to events occurring after October 23, 2011. Ultimately, in her Third Amended Complaint[1], Randle brought a count for racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq., against Chase Bank, a count for battery against Davis, a count for assault against Haney, and counts of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Davis, Haney, and Chase.


         The undisputed facts relevant to Defendants’ motion for partial summary judgment are as follows.[2]

         Plaintiff Hurlestine Randle (Randle) is an African American female that began work at Chase Bank (then known as Jefferson Bank) in July 1990 as a teller at the branch located at 2301 N. Wisconsin Avenue, Peoria, Illinois (Wisconsin Plaza branch). Defendant Davis (a Caucasian female) joined Chase Bank in 1993 and became the Assistant Branch Manager at the Wisconsin Plaza branch in 2003, a position she held until that branch closed in September 2014. Defendant Haney (a Caucasian male) was the Branch Manager at the Wisconsin Plaza branch from 2003 until its closing in 2014. The chain of command from 2003 through 2014 was such that Randle reported to Davis, and Davis reported to Haney. Sandra Bergh (Bergh) was the district manager in Central Illinois for Chase Bank from 2005 through at least 2012, including the Peoria locations. Defendant Haney reported to Bergh.

         In March 2010, Plaintiff Randle’s hours were reduced from 40 hours per week to 30 hours per week. Randle was upset by the reduction in her hours and she blamed Haney and Davis. Initially, Randle complained to Bergh and to Chase human resources in September 2010. Before filing any charges, Randle voiced her complaints about the working environment with Davis and Haney to a number of individuals and departments at Chase Bank, including its CEO Jamie Dimon. Randle filed her first Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR)/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge against Defendants Davis, Haney, and Chase on August 23, 2012 alleging employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on her race. Randle later withdrew the charge on May 17, 2013. Randle then filed her second IDHR/EEOC charge on June 7, 2013 alleging only retaliatory harassment against Davis, Haney, and Chase, but Randle withdrew that charge in April 2014.

         On April 22, 2013, Randle obtained an ex parte Emergency Stalking-No Contact Order against Haney and Davis based upon allegations of stalking and harassment, captioned as Peoria County Nos. 13-OP-362 and 13-OP-363. Those emergency orders prevented Haney and Davis from coming within 300 feet of Randle at any location. In order to comply with the court’s emergency orders, Randle was transferred to the Knoxville Chase Bank branch located at 7707 North Knoxville Avenue, Peoria, Illinois.

         Randle’s employment at Chase Bank was terminated on May 21, 2014 because she stated that she was unable to work and did not know if she would be able to return at a future date. Immediately prior to her termination, Randle missed a year of work for various physical and mental health issues, including short-term disability granted her by Chase from May 15, 2013 to July 15, 2013 and a leave of absence from July 25, 2013 through October 30, 2013. Randle was on disability because she could not perform her job duties due to various physical and mental health issues, including visual hallucinations.[3] Dr. Mary Papandria, Randle’s licensed clinical psychologist who initially saw her in November 2013 to assess her for the presence or absence of disability that would impair her ability to work (for purposes of Social Security disability), stated that Randle was disabled from work at the time she treated her.


         In their Motion for Summary Judgment, the Defendants argue that no materially adverse employment action taken against Randle was motivated by race and that she was not subjected to a hostile work environment based upon her race. They also argue that several alleged discriminatory acts that predate Randle’s August 23, 2012 EEOC charge filing by more than 300 days (October 28, 2011 or earlier) are time-barred and that the individual Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the majority of Randle’s assault and battery allegations because they occurred before October 23, 2011 (the statute of limitations for personal injury actions is two years[4] and Randle filed her original complaint on October 23, 2013). The Defendants further argue that Randle’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) against Chase is preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Lastly, the Defendants argue that if the Court grants summary judgment on Count I (race discrimination), there remains no federal jurisdictional basis on the remaining state tort claims and so the Court should dismiss those state law claims.

         In response, Randle argues that she suffered an adverse employment action in that her hours were cut and she was subjected to a pattern of abuse and discrimination that she alone was subjected to which caused her to suffer severe physical and mental health issues which caused her to be unable to work and that caused her to be fired. She argues her hostile work environment claim is not time-barred because the Supreme Court has held that as long as there are timely filed charges which are themselves actionable, other facts which are not actionable are still admissible to show a pattern in a claim for hostile work environment. Randle also argues that it cannot be the case that her assault and battery claims are time-barred where the Defendants were put on notice of them with her original EEOC filings. With regard to her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim against Chase, Randle concedes that the IHRA preempts that claim as she “cannot maintain a separate action over the very same incidents [of alleged racial discrimination].”


         Summary 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24. Once the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1993). “[A] party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof.” Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183 (7th Cir. 1993).

         Accordingly, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions that establish that there is a genuine triable issue; she “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986), quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). However, the evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the non-movant’s favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant’s position is not sufficient to oppose successfully a summary judgment motion; “there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].” Id. at 250.



         Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail to refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). For purposes of a race discrimination claim under Title VII, a plaintiff has the initial burden of establishing that: 1) she is a member of a protected class; 2) she performed reasonably on the job in accord with her employer’s legitimate expectations; 3) despite her reasonable performance, she was subjected to an adverse employment action; and 4) similarly situated employees outside of her protected class were treated more favorably by the employer. David v. Bd. of Trs. of Cmty. Coll. Dist. No. 508, 846 F.3d 216, 225 (7th Cir. 2017), citing McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). If the plaintiff satisfies that burden, ...

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