United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CHERRIE L. GAGE, Plaintiff,
METROPOLITAN WATER RECLAMATION DISTRICT OF GREATER CHICAGO, DAVID ST. PIERRE, DENICE E. KORCAL, and EILEEN MCELLIGOTT, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
W. GETTLEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Cherrie L. Gage is a management analyst for the Metropolitan
Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago. Plaintiff
claims in her second amended complaint that the Water
Reclamation District and three of its employees-David St.
Pierre, Denice E. Korcal, and Eileen McElligott (together,
“defendants”)-discriminated against her because
she is African American and retaliated against her because
she fled a race discrimination suit in 2002. See Gage v.
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater
Chicago, No. 02 C 9369, 2004 WL 1899902, at *19 (N.D.
Ill. Aug. 18, 2004) (granting summary judgment to the Water
Reclamation District on some of plaintiff’s claims).
Tis court previously dismissed some of plaintiff’s
claims. Gage v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
of Greater Chicago, No. 16 C 8072, 2017 WL 1739925, at
*6 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2017). Defendants move for summary
judgment on plaintiff’s race discrimination and
retaliation claims. Tat motion is granted.
woefully inadequate summary judgment briefing made it
difficult for the court to identify which facts are genuinely
disputed. In short, plaintiff: (1) declined to respond to
most of the facts in defendants’ L.R. 56(a)(3)
statement because that statement supposedly “violates
the Court’s standing order . . . that no statement fled
under L.R. 56.1(a)(3) may contain more than 80 statements of
uncontested fact”; (2) improperly introduces and cites
facts in exhibits attached to her opposition to summary
judgment, rather than doing so through her L.R. 56.1(b)(3)
statement; (3) cites to deposition pages that she did not
include in her exhibits; and (4) cites exhibits for
assertions that they do not support. Given plaintiff’s
failure to comply with the basic rules governing summary
judgment procedure, defendants rightly urge this court to
reject plaintiff’s attempt to dispute the facts.
See United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th
Cir. 1991) (“Judges are not like pigs, hunting for
truffles buried in briefs.”).
court has nonetheless examined plaintiff’s improperly
cited exhibits and finds that considering them would not
prejudice defendants. Te court thus incorporates
plaintiff’s exhibits into the facts discussed below.
facts below do not include acts that occurred before August
12, 2012. See Gage, No. 16 C 8072, 2017 WL 1739925,
at *4 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 2017) (dismissing as time-barred
“plaintiff’s [section 1981] discrimination and
retaliation claims based on alleged occurrences prior to
August 12, 2012”). Nor are those acts within the
limitations period for plaintiff’s Title VII claims.
Tis court declined to dismiss plaintiff’s claims based
on acts outside the limitations period because plaintif had
alleged continuing violations. Id. at *5. But on
summary judgment, plaintif presents no evidence that any of
defendants’ acts within Title VII’s 300-day
limitations period “contribut[ed]” to a pattern
of discrimination that began outside the limitations period.
Dandy v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 388 F.3d 263,
270 (7th Cir. 2004). In fact-as discussed below-plaintiff
offers no evidence of any discrimination within the
facts are taken from the parties’ L.R. 56.1 statements
and from the depositions and exhibits. Te material facts are
not genuinely disputed. Plaintiff began working for the Water
Reclamation District in 1989. She started as an
Administrative Assistant, then became a Management Analyst.
She was promoted to Management Analyst III in 2012. For the
most part, plaintiff’s suit involves her belief that
defendants delayed her promotion from Management Analyst III
to Supervising Budget and Management Analyst. Defendants
finally promoted her in 2017-about a month after plaintiff
fled her second amended complaint.
complains that defendants: (1) impeded her professional
development by denying her promotion and by transferring her
from Information Technology to General Administration; and
(2) created a work environment “designed . . . to wear
down” plaintiff and “make her quit her budding
Evidence of plaintiff s employment status
alleges that defendants impeded her professional development.
She complains that she was: (1) denied a promotion to
Supervising Budget Management Analyst in September 2014 and
again in June 2015; and (2) transferred from IT to General
Administration, which stripped her of her duties.
September 2014 - Sharon Fitzpatrick promoted over
September 2014, plaintiff was denied a promotion to
Supervising Budget Management Analyst. Te vacancy arose when
the incumbent retired. After plaintiff and other candidates
took the exam and interviewed for the promotion, defendants
learned that the incumbent-Sharon Fitzpatrick, a white
woman-wanted to return to work, seeking an accommodation
under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Te Director of
Human Resources, defendant Denice Korcal, sent a memorandum
to Fitzpatrick’s former supervisor. Korcal wrote that
Fitzpatrick’s medical records qualified her for an
accommodation, and unless certain conditions were met-undue
hardship for the employer, risk to other employees, or
inconsistency with business necessity- they were
“required to make a job accommodation.” Korcal
recommended that the supervisor approve Fitzpatrick’s
request. Te supervisor did so. Fitzpatrick returned to her
June 2015 – Julie Ryan promoted over plaintiff
2015, plaintiff was again denied a promotion to Supervising
Budget Management Analyst. Te vacancy was flled by Julie
Ryan, a white woman. On the exam, Ryan scored in the same
category as plaintiff; in the interview, Ryan scored two
had been interviewed by three raters. One of them was Manju
Sharma, Ryan’s prospective supervisor. Sharma sent a
memorandum recommending Ryan’s appointment to the
Executive Director, defendant David St. Pierre. Sharma wrote:
“Ms. Ryan’s analytical skills and the
understanding of the Budget from her experience in General
Administration, Maintenance and Operations, along with the
Procurement Department, makes her uniquely qualified.
Further, Ms. Ryan has, over the years, shown herself to be an
exemplary employee in all positions held at the
District.” Sharma acknowledged that there was “an
EEO recommendation for a minority, ” but noted
Ryan’s exam score-tied with one minority candidate,
higher than the other-and her interview score, which was
higher than both minority candidates.
lawyer deposed Sharma. He asked her whether she tampered with
Ryan’s scores. Sharma denied doing so.
Plaintiff’s lawyer confronted Sharma with a document
that Sharma did not recognize:
lawyer then questioned Sharma using the document. It was not
Q. I’m handing to the court reporter what she’s
going to mark as Sharma Exhibit No. 1. Do you recognize that
A. No, I do not.
Q. Do you recognize the writing on the document?
A. I do not.
Q. It’s not your writing?
Q. Do you recognize it as Tony’s writing?
A. I don’t know what his writing looks like.
Q. You don’t know what Tony’s writing ...