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Gill v. County of Laporte

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

February 7, 2014

LAVERN GILL, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LAPORTE, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER

RUDY LOZANO, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court on: (1) Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, filed on March 27, 2013; and (2) Defendant's Motion to Admit Evidence, filed on June 17, 2013. For the reasons set forth below, these motions are GRANTED. Because no claims remain pending, this case is DISMISSED and the Clerk is ORDERED to enter judgment in favor of Defendant and close this case.

BACKGROUND

On November 29, 2011, Plaintiff, Lavern Gill, filed suit against her former employer, Defendant, LaPorte County, arising from her being terminated from her employment as a LaPorte County emergency dispatcher. In her six-count complaint, Gill alleged that LaPorte County officials: discriminated against her on the basis of race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Count 1) and 42 U.S.C. section 1981 (Count 2); discriminated against her on the basis of her sex, in violation of Title VII (Count 3); created a hostile work environment, in violation of Title VII (Count 4); retaliated against her for engaging in protected conduct, in violation of Title VII (Count 5) and section 1981 (Count 6). Gill has since elected not to pursue the sex discrimination, hostile work environment or retaliation claims, leaving only the race discrimination claims pending for disposition. (DE# 25, n.1).

LaPorte filed the instant motion for summary judgment on the remaining two counts of racial discrimination, arguing that there were no material facts in dispute and that it was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. During the summary judgment briefing, Gill questioned the admissibility of certain evidence that Lapore relied upon. This prompted LaPorte to file a motion to admit that challenged evidence.

DISCUSSION

Motion to Admit Evidence

Contained within Gill's response to LaPorte's summary judgment is a section entitled "Statement of Material Facts in Dispute." (DE# 25, p. 1). In that section, Gill briefly asserts four of the facts asserted by LaPorte are irrelevant and should be stricken. In response, LaPorte has filed this motion to admit, explaining the relevance of the four facts Gill challenges.

To start, Gill's disputes are woefully short and lack any substantive argument. Instead, they consist of little more than a basic cite to either Rule 102 or 103 of the Federal Rules of Evidence and a conclusion that the factual statement is inadmissable based on the applicable rule. This is insufficient to carry the day. If Gill believes any of LaPorte's factual statements should be stricken, then Gill should file a separate motion to strike (L.R. 7.1(b)), and should provide adequate argument and legal citation to support such a belief.

Despite Gill's deficient complaints, LaPorte nonetheless filed this motion to admit the evidence Gill complained of. Unfortunately, Gill failed to respond to this motion to admit; yet, another example of failing to carry the day.

LaPorte's motion to admit explains the relevancy of the disputed factual statements, and Gill has failed to provide any response. As such, this Court will admit those factual statements for the purpose of summary judgment.

LaPorte's motion also takes issue with a statement contained in Gill's statement of additional material facts. Gill provided that:

9. "At the time of the transfer, Gill became aware of a comment, made by Denise West, a Caucasian LaPorte County supervisor at the Center, that the 9-1-1 Center would have to get separate headsets [for the dispatchers] because [the Caucasian employees didn't want the [African Americans', i.e. Gill's] hair grease on the headphones." (Gill Dep., p. 112, 1. 6-18; p. 114, 1-12).

LaPorte sets out that, because this statement was made by

Denise West and is relied upon for the truth of the matter asserted, it is inadmissable hearsay under Rule 802 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. That is true and, as such, cannot be admitted to support her opposition to summary judgment. Luster v. Illinois Dept. Of Corrections, 652 F.3d 726, 731 n. 2(7th Cir. 2011)(explaining that hearsay cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment).

Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary judgment standard

The standards that generally govern summary judgment motions are familiar. Pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper only if it is demonstrated that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Nebraska v. Wyoming, 507 U.S. 584, 590 (1993); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). In other words, the record must reveal that no reasonable jury could find for the nonmovant. Karazanos v. Navistar Int'l Transp. Corp., 948 F.2d 332, 335 (7th Cir. 1991); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, a court must view all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Nucor Corp. v. Aceros Y Maquilas De Occidente, 28 F.3d 572, 583 (7th Cir. 1994).

The burden is upon the movant to identify those portions of "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, " if any, that the movant believes demonstrate an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once the movant has met this burden, the nonmovant may not rest upon mere allegations but "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Becker v. Tenenbaum-Hill Assocs., Inc., 914 F.2d 107, 110 (7th Cir. 1990); Schroeder v. Lufthansa German Airlines, 875 F.2d 613, 620 (7th Cir. 1989). "Whether a fact is material depends on the substantive law underlying a particular claim and only disputes over facts that might ...


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