United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
A. GUZMÁN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
reasons stated below, Defendant's motion for summary
judgment  is granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff's motion for leave to file more than forty
additional facts instanter  is granted. The parties shall
appear for a status hearing on October 23, 2019 at 9:30 a.m.
in order to set a trial date.
setting forth the facts of the case, the Court addresses
Defendant's assertions of procedural improprieties.
Specifically, Defendant spends most of its reply challenging
Plaintiff's statement of additional facts and responses
to Defendant's statement of facts, asserting that they
misstate or are unsupported by the record, are immaterial or
conclusory, or contain inadmissible hearsay. Defendant also
seeks to strike Plaintiff's statement of additional facts
to the extent that the facts exceed the forty allowed by LR
56.1(b)(3)(C). Some of the objections are well-taken, and
certain offending responses or statements of fact by either
party have not been taken into account if the Court deems the
objection to be misplaced or itself immaterial. With respect
to Plaintiff's setting forth more than forty additional
facts, the Court does not condone flouting Local Rules
without express prior permission from the Court;
nevertheless, if an additional statement of fact, whatever
its number, is relevant to the inquiry, the Court has
considered it. Therefore, Plaintiff's motion for leave to
file more than forty additional facts instanter is granted.
Vassileva, a 54-year-old woman from Bulgaria, is an employee
with the City of Chicago Department of Water Management
(“DWM”). (Def.'s Stmt. Facts, Dkt. # 39,
¶ 1.) Plaintiff began working for DWM as a Filtration
Engineer (“FE”) II at the Jardine Water
Purification Plant (“JWPP”) in July 2001.
(Id. ¶ 2.) In January 2009, Plaintiff was laid
off but was immediately transferred into an equally-rated,
vacant FE II position with DWM and continued to work.
(Id.) On July 16, 2009, Plaintiff was again laid off
as the result of City-wide layoffs due to a lack of funds.
(Id.) The City recalled Plaintiff to her FE II
position on May 16, 2011, and she currently remains in that
divided into five bureaus, one of which is the Bureau of
Water Supply (“BWS”).
operates two purification plants, the JWPP and the Sawyer
Water Purification Plant (“SWPP”), which treat
and remove impurities from raw water and transmit clean water
to the 12 pumping stations throughout the City. (Id.
¶ 5.) JWPP is further divided into four sections: (1)
Operations; (2) Mechanical; (3) Chemical Inventory; and (4)
Instrumentation. (Id. ¶ 6.) Operations is
responsible for overseeing the Control Center
(“CC”) and the chemical laboratory
(“Control Lab”); Mechanical is responsible for
the maintenance of major equipment, e.g., basins and
low-lift pumps; Chemical Inventory is responsible for
inspecting chemical tank control devices and completing
chemical feed reports; and Instrumentation is responsible for
calibrating filter turbidity meters, outlet chlorine residual
instruments, and the SCADA system. (Id.) Former
Managing Deputy Commissioner Alan Stark headed BWS until his
retirement in September 2018, and all BWS employees
ultimately reported to him. (Id. ¶ 7.) Below
Stark on the organizational chart were Deputy Commissioner
John Pope, Engineer of Water Purification Eduardo Salinas,
and the Chief FE, a position that has been vacant as of 2016.
Babapour, a 66-year-old male Iranian who is 66 years old, was
the FE V in charge of Operations, and Plaintiff's
immediate supervisor. (Id. ¶ 8.) The FE job
series is a technical one. (Id. ¶ 9.) The FEs
are responsible for taking data generated by the chemists
from the Control Lab and making decisions regarding the water
purification and treatment process based on the data.
(Id.) The bulk of such decisions are made in the CC,
which operates around the clock and is where monitoring all
aspects of the plant and the entire water purification and
treatment process occurs. (Id. ¶ 10.) The FE
III is in charge of the CC and must maintain the reservoir
and header water levels at the appropriate amount; maintain
required chemical dosages, feeds, and residuals; and monitor
the SCADA screen and wall alarm board for any potential
problems. (Id. ¶ 11.) In comparison, the FE II
assists the FE III and does not work unsupervised while in
the CC. (Id.)
on personnel, the CC has been staffed with either: (1) a FE
III and a FE II (“2-person operation) or (2) a FE III
(“1-person operation”). (Id. ¶ 12.)
The CC was a 2-person operation from January 27, 2017 to
April 14, 2018 and a 1-person operation from January 1, 2016
to January 26, 2017 and April 15, 2018 to present.
(Id.) Before each of these staffing changes, the
City notified the Union. (Id.) In 2016, the City
filled several FE IV vacancies, which created a shortage of
FE IIIs. (Id. ¶ 13.) Therefore, with the
Union's agreement, BWS continued to use the newly-filled
FE IVs in the CC from January 2016 to January 2017.
(Id.) Working the CC is not considered to be outside
of the FE IV's duties and responsibilities.
(Id.) The City also used Acting FE IIIs (FE IIs
acting up as FE IIIs) in the CC to supplement the shortage of
FE IIIs starting around April 2018. (Id. ¶ 14.)
to Defendant, Plaintiff did not adequately perform her FE II
duties in the CC and was not well-versed in basic filtration
engineering terminology and plant operations, such as knowing
how hydraulics work; how to read the SCADA computer feedback;
the difference between dislodging versus backwashing; and the
difference between concentration versus dosage. (Id.
¶ 15.) Defendant contends that Plaintiff frequently made
mistakes; repeated the same mistakes even after counseling;
and often became argumentative and defensive when counseled
by her supervisors. (Id.) Because of her attitude,
Plaintiff's supervisors found it difficult to train her.
(Id.) Plaintiff's mistakes in the CC have
• Allowing the plant's water level to get too low;
• Failing to properly adjust the plant's chemical
• Making unnecessary chemical changes, causing equipment
failure; and • Neglecting to identify that two
EPA-required lab tests (testing the raw ...