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Remus v. Village of Dolton

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 21, 2019

ANDREW REMUS, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF DOLTON, VILLAGE OF DOLTON BOARD OF FIRE AND POLICE COMMISSIONERS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Jorge L. Alonso United States District Judge.

         After plaintiff Andrew Remus (“Remus”) was not selected for promotion from part-time to full-time police officer for the Village of Dolton, he filed a three-count complaint against defendants Village of Dolton (the “Village”), Village of Dolton Board of Fire and Police Commissioners (the “Board”) and several individuals.[1] The Court previously dismissed Count I, which was the only count asserted against the individuals. The remaining defendants, the Village and the Board, move for summary judgment on plaintiff's two remaining claims: Count II for alleged violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”); and Count III, under § 1983, for alleged violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts discussed below are undisputed unless otherwise noted.[2]

         Defendant Village is a home-rule municipality. Defendant Board is the Village's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. During the period of time relevant to this case, the Board's members were Dallas Gordon (“Commissioner Gordon”), Ken Dahl (“Commissioner Dahl”) and Ken Gray (“Commissioner Gray”).

         The Village maintains a police department, and several laws affect the hiring of police officers for that department. For example, 65 ILCS 5/10-2.1-4 provides, in relevant part:

The board of fire and police commissioners shall appoint all officers and members of the fire and police departments of the municipality, including the chief of police and the chief of the fire departments, unless the council or board of trustees shall by ordinance as to them otherwise provide[.]

65 ILCS 5/10-2.1-4. Pursuant to Illinois statute, “[a]ll applicants for a position in either the fire or police department of the municipality shall be under 35 years of age, ” but that “age limitation . . . does not apply (i) to any person previously employed as a policeman or fireman in a regularly constituted police or fire department of (I) any municipality, regardless of whether the municipality is located in Illinois or in another state[.]” 65 ILCS § 5/10-2.1-6(a) & (d). In addition, the Village passed Ordinance 07-406 in 2007. In relevant part, that ordinance states:

Section 7.1 - Eligibility of Part-Time Police Officers, and Part-Time Paid-On-Call Firefighters.
a. A person who is a current Part-Time Police Officer, as defined in the Illinois Compiled Statutes, who has not attained his or her 41st birthday, who is in good standing and has served a minimum of two (2) years six (6) months as a Part-Time Police Officer with the Village of Dolton Police Department, or in a regular police department of any municipality with similar duties and responsibilities as police officer in the Village of Dolton, shall be eligible for employment as a full-time probationary police officer with the Dolton Police Department without examination.
c. All Applicants for full-time probationary police officers and firefighters must complete and submit applications to the Village of Dolton Personnel Department. The Chief of Police and Fire or their designee(s) shall review the applications for transfer and the applicant's employment record . . . If the Chief of Police or Chief Fire desires to have the applicant employed, the Chief of Police or Fire shall submit such request to the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners. The Commission will make all recommendations to the Mayor and the Board of Trustees for full-time appointments of firefighters and police officers.

(Docket 109-1) (emphasis added). Defendants agree that the “Police Chief has the authority to select which officers to recommend for promotion” to full-time employment (Docket 108 at ¶ 10), and plaintiff agrees, as well (Docket 119 at ¶ 20). The Board cannot spend Village funds, so the Village must approve salaries of anyone recommended by the Board.

         In September 2012, the Village of Dolton passed Ordinance 12-572. In relevant part, that ordinance provides:

Persons are allowed to submit applications until his or her 35th birthday (applicants with previous full-time experience are exempted from this age requirement.)
[A]ll Ordinances or parts of Ordinances, in conflict herewith shall be and are hereby expressly repealed.

(Docket 119-3 at 5, 20).

         Plaintiff's job ...


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