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Purcell v. Indiana University-South Bend And Its Chancellor

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

February 2, 2017




         I. BACKGROUND

         In the summary that follows, the court refers only to undisputed facts[1], or, if there is a dispute, notes that it exists and relies on the version of the fact, or inference therefrom, that is most favorable to plaintiff. This summary provides an overview. Additional relevant undisputed facts will be referred to in the analysis that follows.

         Starting in 2004, plaintiff was employed as a visiting lecturer in voice at Indiana University - South Bend's Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts ("the Raclin School"). (DE ## 27 ¶ 8, 89-3 at 11.) Initially, plaintiff was hired for the position because of her "vast experience in both teaching and performing." (DE # 89-3 at 15.) She was paid a salary of $30, 000, which was the same amount previously budgeted for a lecturer in music theory position. (DE ## 83 at 4, 83-7, 83-9.) Plaintiff was tasked with classroom responsibilities, assisting students in recitals, and conducting the campus chorus. (DE # 89-3 at 38.)

         In August 2006, plaintiff was hired as a full-time voice lecturer at the Raclin School, with a starting salary of $30, 750, with the $750 raise due to the "legislature's percentage increase across the board for faculty members. It was a cost of living [adjustment.]" (DE # 89-3 at 57, 63.) Her responsibilities remained the same as when she was a "visiting" lecturer, although she no longer taught choral music. (Id. at 63.) Plaintiff was expected to meet a "full time equivalent" ("FTE") to fulfill her duties as a lecturer, namely, teaching "12 credit hours per semester or the equivalent." (DE ## 89-4 at 23, 89-6 at 22.) This same FTE of 12 credit hours was required of all lecturers, absent a special arrangement. (DE # 89-5 at 23.)

         Defendants note that plaintiff failed to meet one-hundred percent of her FTE requirements in multiple semesters during her time as a full-time lecturer. (DE ##83 ¶¶ 38-45, 83-10.) Although plaintiff does not deny defendants' assertion on this matter, she points out that she performed other tasks aside from normal teaching duties. For a six-month period from January 2008 to June 2008, plaintiff served as the acting area coordinator while Dr. David Barton was on sabbatical. (DE ## 89-3 at 31-32, 89-4 at 29.) During that time, she was responsible for "hiring and firing adjuncts, answering student complaints, [and] answering problems with faculty." (DE # 89-3 at 87.) Plaintiff did not receive extra pay for serving as the acting coordinator. (DE # 89-4 at 30.)

         Additionally, plaintiff asserts that she was expected to perform music (presumably a vocal performance) as part of her position. (DE # 88 at 11.) Although plaintiff is not aware of a written requirement to perform, she notes that her obligation to perform was cited in her performance reviews by Dr. Marvin Curtis.[2] (DE # 89-5 at 35-36.) Specifically, Curtis wrote "[i]t is expected that Professor Purcell be a more active performer." (DE # 89-21 at 1.) However, defendants deny that plaintiff was required to perform. (DE # 90 at 5.)

         Plaintiff was notified on April 19, 2011 that she would not be reappointed for the 2012-2013 academic year. (DE # 89-14.) Her employment with the school effectively ended on June 30, 2012. (DE # 89-3 at 140.)

         Plaintiff then filed the instant suit against Indiana University (improperly sued as "Indiana University South Bend"), the Indiana University Board of Trustees, the President of Indiana University (Michael A. McRobbie), the Chancellor of Indiana University South Bend (Una Mae Reck), the State of Indiana[3], and Marvin Curtis (collectively, "defendants"). (DE # 27.) Plaintiff alleges violations of (1) the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA); (2) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (3) the Equal Pay Act; and, (4) Article I, Section 23 of the Indiana Constitution. (Id.)

         Defendants moved to dismiss plaintiff's ADEA, Title VII, and Indiana constitutional claims. (DE # 29.) The court issued an order dismissing plaintiff's ADEA claim in its entirety and also dismissing the Title VII claim against the individual defendants and as it relates to the decision not to renew plaintiff's employment for another year of service as a lecturer. (DE # 49.) The remaining defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment. (DE # 81.) The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for ruling.


         Defendants have moved for summary judgment. FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56 requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, against a party "who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). "[S]ummary judgment is appropriate - in fact, is mandated-where there are no disputed issues of material fact and the movant must prevail as a matter of law. In other words, the record must reveal that no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party." Dempsey v. Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Ry. Co., 16 F.3d 832, 836 (7th Cir. 1994) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

         The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating that these requirements have been met. Carmichael v. Village of Palatine, III, 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010). "[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by 'showing' - that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. Once the moving party has met his burden, the non-moving party must identify specific facts establishing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986); Palmer v. Marion County, 327 F.3d 588, 595 (7th Cir. 2003) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). In doing so, the non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must present fresh proof in support of its position. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Donovan v. City of Milwaukee, 17 F.3d 944, 947 (7th Cir. 1994). In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, the court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Chmiel v. JC Penney Life Ins. Co., 158 F.3d 966 (7th Cir. 1998).

         III. ...

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