United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ROBERT BLAKEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Cicely Banks sues her employer, Defendant Illinois Central
Railroad Company, d/b/a Canadian National Railway Company,
alleging race discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e, et seq. (Count I) and 42 U.S.C. §
1981 (Count II), and gender discrimination under Title VII,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Count III).
.Defendant moves for summary judgment. .
For the reasons explained below, this Court partially grants
and partially denies Defendant's motion.
Plaintiff moves to: (1) strike all declarations used and
submitted by Defendant in support of its motion for summary
judgment based upon untimeliness, ; and (2) deny
Defendant's motion for summary judgment for violating of
Local Rule 56.1, or in the alternative, strike
Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 statement of undisputed
material facts, . For the reasons explained below, this
Court denies both motions.
following facts come from Defendant's Local Rule 56.1
statement of material facts, , Plaintiffs response to
Defendant's statement of material facts, , Plaintiffs
statement of additional facts, , and Defendant's
response to Plaintiffs statement of additional facts, .
Plaintiffs Motion to Strike All Declarations
moves to strike all declarations used and submitted by
Defendant in support of its motion for summary judgment,
based upon untimeliness. . Plaintiff maintains that on
June 15, 2018, Plaintiff propounded her first sets of
interrogatories and requests for production of documents,
asking for all “statements, oral or written, of any
individual with knowledge, information and/or who witnessed
the discrimination Plaintiff complains of in this
action” and any “other documents which relate to
the Defendant's responses, denials, and/or
defenses” in Defendant's answer that “have
not otherwise been requested and produced.” 
¶¶ 2-4. Additionally, Plaintiff states that several
other requests called for documents pertaining to the
positions Plaintiff applied for and Defendant's reasons
for not selecting Plaintiff for those positions, among other
matters. Id. ¶ 5.
to Plaintiff, in “early November 2018, ”
Plaintiffs counsel spoke with Defendant's counsel over
the phone, and at this time Plaintiffs counsel asked whether
she had obtained any statements or declarations from any
witnesses. Id. ¶ 6. Defendant's counsel
stated that she had not. Id. On November 21, 2018,
Defendant then filed its motion for summary judgment, and in
support submitted seven declarations from various witnesses,
which Defendant had not produced in response to
Plaintiff's discovery requests. See Decl. of Sue
Adzgowski [43-4] (Ex. 13); Decl. of Steven Albright [43-4]
(Ex. 12); Decl. of Patrick Crain [43-1] (Ex. 8); Decl. of
Rolando Jimenez [43-4] (Ex. 10); Decl. of Katie Roop [43-4]
(Ex. 14); Decl. of Duane Spears [43-4] (Ex. 9); Decl. of
David Sprankle [43-4] (Ex. 11).
counters that as of the close of discovery on November 1,
2018, none of the above seven declarations existed.  at
2. Defendant also notes that its Mandatory Initial Discovery
Responses, served in September 2018, identified all of the
witnesses who made the above declarations with the exception
of Katie Roop, who Plaintiff identified in June 2018.
Defendant states that Plaintiff's counsel is mistaken
about the date and circumstances of the phone conversation at
issue; according to Defendant, counsel for both parties spoke
on or around October 11, 2018, at which time Plaintiff's
counsel asked whether Defendant could resend its document
production from September 27, 2018 in the form of one
combined PDF document, rather than in separate documents.
Id. At this time, Plaintiff's counsel also asked
whether the production contained any statements or
declarations. Id. The September 27, 2018 production
did not, and Defendant's counsel relayed this fact to
Plaintiff's counsel. Id. Defendant's counsel
does not recall having any conversation with Plaintiff's
counsel between November 15, 2018 (when the first declaration
listed above was signed) and November 21, 2018, when
Defendant filed its motion for summary judgment. Id.
at 2-3; [48-1] ¶ 6.
of the circumstances surrounding the phone call, this Court
denies Plaintiff's motion to strike, . Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(f) governs motions to strike and
instructs that that courts “may strike from a pleading
an insufficient defense or any redundant, immaterial,
impertinent, or scandalous matter.” Defendant's
declarations do not constitute pleadings, and thus
Plaintiff's motion is improper under Rule 12(f). See,
e.g., Hall v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co.,
No. 10-CV-0012-MJR, 2011 WL 1256836, at *1 (S.D. Ill. Apr. 4,
2011) (“The document at issue, a declaration in
opposition to [defendant's] motion for summary judgment,
is not considered to be a pleading, so a motion under 12(f)
is not a proper proceeding.”).
considering the underlying merits of Plaintiff's request,
she notably fails to identify any prejudice created by the
timing of the declarations, given that the parties had
identified all the relevant witnesses prior to close of fact
discovery, as well as the exhibits upon which they based
their declarations. See generally . Accordingly,
this Court cannot find this case constitutes the rare
scenario in which a motion to strike is warranted. See
Redwood v. Dobson, 476 F.3d 462, 471 (7th Cir. 2007)
(“Motions to strike disserve the interest of judicial
economy. The aggravation comes at an unacceptable cost in
judicial time.”); Heller Fin., Inc. v. Midwhey
Powder Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 1286, 1294 (7th Cir.
1989). Plaintiff's motion to strike, , is denied.
Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's LR 56.1
also moves to deny Defendant's motion for summary
judgment for violation of Local Rule 56.1, or in the
alternative, strike Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 statement
of undisputed material facts, . She argues that Local
Rule 56.1 requires Defendant's statement of material
facts to consist of short, numbered paragraphs, whereas
Defendant included “compound, convoluted and very
lengthy paragraphs that contain several separate and distinct
material facts” to circumvent the rule's 80
statement limit. Id. ¶ 3. This Court disagrees.
Court maintains broad discretion to enforce the local rules
governing summary judgment. See, e.g., Petty v.
City of Chicago, 754 F.3d 416, 420 (7th Cir. 2014);
Benuzzi v. Bd. of Educ. of Chi., 647 F.3d 652, 655
(7th Cir. 2011). Courts “are not, however, obligated to
require strict compliance.” See Maher v. Rowen
Group, Inc., No. 12 C 7169, 2015 WL 273315, at *7 (N.D.
Ill. Jan. 20, 2015); see also Kelly v. Chambers, 07
C 1005, 2009 WL 765267, at *3 n.11 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 23, 2009)
(denying a motion to strike paragraphs that plaintiff argued
were too long and contained multiple facts).
Rule 56.1(a) requires only that Defendant's Rule 56.1
statement “consist of short numbered paragraphs,
including within each paragraph specific references to the
affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting
materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that
paragraph.” Nothing in Rule 56.1 instructs parties to
include only one fact per paragraph. And while some of
Defendant's paragraphs contain multiple facts, such facts
“are logically grouped and the combinations make sense
in context.” Maher, 2015 WL 273315, at *7
(citing Portis v. City of Chi., 510 Supp. 2d 461,
463 (N.D. Ill. 2007)); see, e.g.,  ¶ 74.
many of the paragraphs to which Plaintiff objects are long in
part because: (1) they contain lengthy citations to multiple
pieces of record evidence, see, e.g.,  ¶
74; and (2) Plaintiff failed to initially clarify the
positions at issue in this suit, as this Court discusses
below, see, e.g., id. ¶ 49.
any indication that Plaintiff could not understand or
otherwise sufficiently respond to Defendant's LR 56.1
statement of facts, this Court declines to strike the
entirety of Defendant's statement or deny Defendant's
motion for summary judgment based upon what constitute, at
most, technical violations of LR 56.1. Maher, 2015
WL 273315, at *7; Kelly, 2009 WL 765267, at *3 n.7.
Plaintiff's motion to strike, , is denied.
Plaintiff's Work History
African-American woman-worked in a variety of transportation
clerk jobs for Defendant since 2008.  ¶¶ 9, 16.
Her resume lists the following duties under the heading of
“Transportation Clerk” for
• Special Charges (Setbacks, IPSW and BNSF delays)
• Order Cars from Fleet Management
• Heavy Customer Service
• Optional Services
• Error Deliveries from Foreign Railroads
• Train Reporting (Waterloo, Glen yard, Hawthorne and
• Crew Calling
• Tower (Dispatching)
[43-1] (Ex. 2) (Sub Ex. 5). Prior to working for Defendant,
she spent one year working for Navistar International
Corporation as a Payroll Pension Administrator. Id.
Before working at Navistar, Plaintiff worked at LaSalle Bank
for seven years as an ARP operations associate, fraud
analyst, and trust and pension clerk. Id. She holds
a bachelor's degree in psychology from Roosevelt
the course of Plaintiff's employment with Defendant, she
applied for various management positions in search of an
“office setting” position.  ¶ 13. When
applying to these positions, Plaintiff concedes that she
never tailored her resume to the specific job or role, nor
did she have an interest in working in a particular field.
total, Plaintiff's response memorandum identifies 11
positions for which she claims she applied and was unlawfully
rejected based upon race and gender. See  at 4.
At the parties' motion hearing on March 5, 2019, however,
Plaintiff clarified that her discrimination claims arise only
out of the following three positions: (1) Benefits
Administrator - Attendance Management; (2) Administrative
Assistant - Police Services (4871BR); and (3) Officer Crew
Lodging (5507BR). . Accordingly, this Court analyzes
these three positions for purposes of Defendant's motion
for summary judgment.
Benefits Administrator -- Attendance Management
applied for a variety of Benefits Administrator - Attendance
Management position openings throughout her employment with
Defendant: once on January 4, 2013 (listing 2348BR), 
¶¶ 19, 24; once on December 3, 2013 (listing
3542BR), id. ¶¶ 19, 63; and once on July
4, 2014 (listing 4502BR), id. ¶¶ 19, 33.
For clarity, this Court refers to each position by their
Administrator - Attendance Management employees manage
Defendant employees' leave and attendance. Id.
¶ 24. When Plaintiff first applied for the 2348BR
listing in January 2013, she interviewed by telephone later
that month. Id. ¶ 25. The notes from this
interview-completed contemporaneously by recruiter Stephanie
Rogers-reflect that Rogers consistently ranked Plaintiff as a
2 or 2.5 out of 5 in every question category and evaluated
her overall as “somewhat worse” than other
candidates. Id. ¶ 27; [43-1] (Ex. 8) (Sub Ex.
8); [43-1] (Ex. 1) at 129. In response to questions about
Plaintiff's motivations and interest in the job, the
interviewer initially noted that Plaintiff “has
Benefits background [and] wants to get back into it.”
 ¶ 27; [43-1] (Ex. 8) (Sub Ex. 8). But, in response
to questions about Plaintiff's relevant work experience,
the interviewer subsequently noted that she “did some
payroll work previously, but not really Benefits.”
Id. At the end of the interview notes-beside the box
Rogers checked to not recommend Plaintiff for further
selection steps-Rogers wrote that Plaintiff appeared
“not highly motivated, ” had “no HR or
Benefits background, ” and “didn't take [the]
interview very seriously.” Id. Defendant did
not select Plaintiff and notified her of this decision on
February 7, 2013. Id. ¶ 19.
Jimenez served as the hiring manager for both the 4502BR and
3542BR listings to which Plaintiff subsequently applied.
Id. ¶¶ 33, 63; [43-4] (Ex. 10) ¶ 3.
According to Jimenez, he declined to interview or select
Plaintiff for either position because he “understood
that she had not interviewed well” for the earlier
2348BR listing. Id. Jimenez also explained that no
one had recommended Plaintiff to him for further
consideration. [43-4] (Ex. 10) ¶¶ 3, 7. Defendant
notified Plaintiff of her rejection for the 4502BR position
on September 10, 2014, and the 3542BR listing on January 13,
2015.  ¶ 19. Jimenez hired Gerardo Torres-a Hispanic
male-and Tasha Willoughby-an African-American female-for the
4502BR listing. Id. ¶ 34. Jimenez hired Armando
Flores-a Hispanic male-and Worth Phillips-a White male-for
the 3542BR listing. Id. ¶ 64.
Administrative Assistant - Police Services (4871BR)
September 26, 2014, Plaintiff applied for the position of
Administrative Assistant - Police Services (4871BR).
Id. ¶ 68. The position constituted a Grade 12
position, with a salary range of $37, 000 - $56, 300.
Id. ¶ ...