United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
VILLAGE OF DOLTON, et al., Defendants
B. Murphey Their Attorney
DEFENSE RULE 50(A) MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF
Honorable Judge Jorge L. Alonso Judge.
accordance with FRCP 50(a), the Defendants move, prior to the
jury instruction conference and prior to the submission of
the case to the jury, for judgment as a matter of law. In
support of this Motion, Defendants state:
AND POLICE COMMISSION
Defendant Fire and Police Commission
(“Commission”) moves for judgment because, as a
matter of law, the Commission (a) is not the employer for
purposes of ADEA liability; (b) did not make the final
decision to hire Moore, Gilhooly and Xenos for purposes of
Section 1983 liability; and (c) had nothing to do with the
determination of former Chief Franklin that he would not
recommend Plaintiff for promotion to full-time.
2. As a
matter of law, Ordinance No. 07-406 (“Ordinance”)
vests the final decisionmaking authority in the Board of
Trustees, not the Commission. Therefore, since the Commission
lacked final decisionmaking authority, the Commission cannot
be liable for any failure to promote the Plaintiff.
There is no evidence that the Commission even considered
Plaintiff in any respect in connection with its
recommendation to promote the other three individuals.
First addressing the equal protection claim, as a matter of
law the Commission is not a final policymaker for purposes of
Section 1983 liability. “Whether a particular official
has final policymaking authority is a question of state
law.” Harris v. City of Chicago, 665 F.Supp.2d
935, 947 (7th Cir. 2009) citing, inter alia,
Duda v. Board of Education of Franklin Park S.D. 84, 133
F.3d 1054, 1061 (7th Cir. 1988). The fact that an
advisory body has administrative authority to recommend
“does not make that [body] a final policymaker for
purposes of Monell liability.” Williams v.
City of Chicago, 2000 WL 3169065 (N.D. Ill. 2017) at *
Under Illinois law, only a city council or board of trustees
has the final legislative authority and, hence, is the only
final policymaker for purposes of Section 1983. Waters v.
City of Chicago, 580 F.3d 575, 581 (7th Cir.
2009). “State or local law determines whether a person
has final policymaking authority for purposes of Section
1983.” Id. at 581; Rasche v. Village of
Beecher, 336 F.3d 588, 601 (7th Cir. 2003)
(Generally speaking, “the policy-making authority in
the City structure will be the City
Council”). In order to be a final policymaker, a
party or entity must have “final authority in the sense
that there is no higher authority” and cannot be a
person or a body whose “actions are constrained by
rules and policies of a higher power.” Kasak v.
Village of Bedford Park, 563 F.Supp.2d 864, 881 (N.D.
Ill. 2008) [Internal citations omitted].
6. As a
matter of law, the final policymaking authority under the
Ordinance is vested not in the Commission, but in the Village
Board of Trustees. The evidence now conclusively establishes
this legal authority issue as a matter of law. The resolution
of this authority issue is for the Court, not the jury.
Therefore, the Commission is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law on the Section 1983 equal protection claim, and this
claim should not be submitted to the jury as to the
Similar principles apply with respect to the ADEA claim. The
only proper defendant in an ADEA claim is the employer.
Pisoni v. Illinois, 2013 WL 2458522 (N.D. Ill.
2013). The identification of the “employer” is
“a question of federal law.” Id.; citing
Carver v. Sheriff of LaSalle County, 243 F.3d 379,
382 (7th Cir. 2001); Muhammad v. Village of