United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
FREDERICK J. KAPALA DISTRICT JUDGE.
motion to alter or amend judgment  is denied.
6, 2018, this court granted defendant's motion for
summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims. Currently
before the court is plaintiff's motion to alter or amend
judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e)
(“Pl.'s Mot.”). For the reasons stated below,
plaintiff's motion is denied.
Rule 59(e), a district court can alter or amend a judgment
only if the moving party “can demonstrate a manifest
error of law or present newly discovered evidence.”
Obriecht v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 494 (7th Cir.
2008). Plaintiff has not identified any newly discovered
evidence, so the court need only consider whether its order
contained a manifest error of law. “A manifest error is
not demonstrated by the disappointment of the losing party.
It is the wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to
recognize controlling precedent.” Oto v.
Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 224 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir.
sole challenge to the court's ruling is with regard to
his state law claim of retaliatory discharge. Plaintiff
states that “the Court said that Plaintiff failed to
demonstrate that his termination was the direct result of
reporting a crime and as a result, failed to establish all of
the elements necessary to prove a State Law Retaliatory
Discharge claim.” Pl.'s Mot. para. 5. This
characterization of the court's order is inaccurate. In
its order, the court listed causation as one of the required
elements of a retaliatory discharge claim under Illinois law
and explained that the ultimate issue in deciding causation
is the employer's motive in discharging the employee.
See Walker v. Ingersoll, No. 16 C 50040, slip. op.
at 7 (N.D. Ill. July 6, 2018). After recognizing that
defendant had identified evidence of legitimate reasons for
terminating plaintiff and an absence of evidence of any
prohibited reason, the court noted that plaintiff had pointed
“to no evidence regarding defendant's motive in
terminating him; he merely assert[ed] that he informed his
supervisor of an alleged crime and that later on he was
terminated.” Id. at 7-8. To emphasize the
point, the court reiterates: “[s]ummary judgment is a
critical moment for a non-moving party. It must respond to
the moving party's properly-supported motion by
identifying specific, admissible evidence showing that there
is a genuine dispute of material fact for trial. Inferences
supported only by speculation or conjecture will not
suffice.” Johnson v. Advocate Health and Hosps.
Corp., 892 F.3d 887, 894 (7th Cir. 2018) (citation
omitted). The court concluded that “[p]laintiff [had]
not shown evidence to support a reasonable inference that his
termination was caused by informing his supervisor of what
plaintiff alleged was criminal behavior that had taken place
during his exchange with a coworker. Walker, slip.
op. at 8. In other words, the court did not decide, as
plaintiff suggests, that plaintiff had failed to establish
all the elements of retaliatory discharge; it merely
concluded that plaintiff had failed to identify evidence to
support a reasonable inference of one of the required
elements of his claim. This means there was no genuine
dispute for trial, and that summary judgment was warranted.
See Johnson, 892 F.3d at 896 (“It is the
plaintiffs' responsibility, on summary judgment, to make
a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to the party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial. It is the
plaintiffs' responsibility to go beyond the pleadings and
designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial”) (quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 324 (1986)). Plaintiffs
argument to the contrary is unavailing.
also argues that the court improperly applied Illinois
Supreme Court law in citing Michael v. Precision Alliance
Grp., LLC, 2014 IL 117376 (2014) in its explanation of
the required elements of retaliatory discharge in Illinois.
Plaintiff, attempting to distinguish the present case from
Michael, notes that the Court in Michael
ultimately applied the relevant law to facts adduced at
trial, while this court made its decision at the summary
judgment stage. See Pl.'s Mot. para. 8.
Plaintiff fails to explain, however, why the requirements for
retaliatory discharge in Illinois would change as a result of
the stage of litigation. The court recognizes that the
standard plaintiff must meet at summary judgment is lower
than if it were at trial, but this does not affect the
elements of plaintiff s claim. Plaintiff has thus failed to
show that the court's ruling was a “wholesale
disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize
controlling precedent.” Oto, 224 F.3d at 606.
restates that he was only required to show the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact, not prove his claim.
See Pl.'s Mot. para. 11. As explained above, the
court did not conclude that plaintiff had failed to prove his
claim; it merely held that plaintiff had failed to identify
any evidence to support a reasonable inference of one of the
required elements of his claim, and therefore that there was
no genuine issue of material fact. The court understands that
plaintiff does not agree with this conclusion; plaintiffs
position is that his “reporting of his co-workers
[alleged] illegal conduct prior to being terminated draws
[sic] the inference of whether or not there is a causal
relationship between his reporting the information and
subsequently being terminated.” Pl.'s Mot. para.
12. Unfortunately for ...