United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
RITA K. SELF BARILE Plaintiff,
LUTHERAN HEALTH NETWORK OF INDIANA, LLC and ST. JOSEPH HEALTH SYSTEMS, LLC d/b/a ST. JOSEPH HOSPITAL Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee United States District Judge
the Defendants terminated Plaintiff, Rita K. Self Barile,
(“Barile”), for alleged performance deficiencies,
Barile filed the present ADEA action seeking damages for age
discrimination and retaliation. Currently before the Court is
the Defendants', Lutheran Health Network of Indiana, LLC
(“LHN”) and St. Joseph Health Systems, LLC
(“St. Joe”), Motion for Summary Judgment [DE 31].
For the following reasons, the Motion will be GRANTED.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
of its motion, and identifying those portions of designated
evidence that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After “a properly supported
motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and
factual issue is material only if resolving the factual issue
might change the outcome of the case under the governing law.
See Clifton v. Schafer, 969 F.2d 278, 281 (7th Cir.
1992). A factual issue is genuine only if there is sufficient
evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor
of the non-moving party on the evidence presented. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In deciding a motion for
summary judgment, the court “may not ‘assess the
credibility of witnesses, choose between competing reasonable
inferences, or balance the relative weight of conflicting
evidence.' ” Bassett v. I.C. Sys., Inc.,
715 F.Supp.2d 803, 808 (N.D. Ill. 2010) (quoting Stokes
v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chi., 599 F.3d 617, 619
(7th Cir. 2010)). Instead, it must view all the evidence in
the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party and resolve all factual disputes in favor of the
non-moving party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Mindful of these standards, the Court turns now to the facts
of the case.
setting forth the facts, it is necessary to address what is
missing from the Plaintiff's filings, and that is a
concise statement of disputed facts supported by citations to
the record for the Court to consider. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56(c)(1) requires as follows:
(1) Supporting Factual Positions. A
party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials
in the record, including depositions, documents,
electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. In line with the Federal Rule, N.D.Ind.
L.R. 56.1 requires the party opposing a motion for summary
judgment to “include a section labeled ‘Statement
of Genuine Disputes' that identifies the material facts
that the party contends are genuinely disputed so as to make
a trial necessary.” (N.D.Ind. L.R. 56.1(b)(2)).
the Plaintiff has filed a “Statement of Genuine
Disputes” but does not identify with any record
citations in that document the material facts it
“contends are genuinely disputed so as to make a trial
necessary.” Instead, the Plaintiff appears to have
submitted legal disputes/issues she believes exist without
any supporting record citations as to what facts support her
assertion that there is a factual dispute. District courts
throughout the country have been plagued with briefing such
as this which does nothing but complicate matters for the
court and have made it clear that such deficiencies will not
To be sure, perhaps one could parse any individual paragraph
in isolation and pick out a pertinent fact. But for a party,
in essence, to demand that the court do this ….
subverts the very purpose of the Local Rule, which …
is to insure that judges need not sift through the record
hunting for facts on a party's behalf, like a pig hunting
for truffles. United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955,
956 (7th Cir.1991); Friend v. Valley View Cmty. Unit Sch.
Dist. 365U, 789 F.3d 707, 711 (7th Cir. 2015). All the
plaintiff's tactic did is make it more difficult for the
court to rule in anyone's favor, let alone the plaintiff.
See Dal Pozzo v. Basic Mach. Co., 463 F.3d 609, 613
(7th Cir. 2006)(“An advocate's job is to make it
easy for the court to rule in his client's favor
....”). When the asserted fact is, “it was noon,
” a primer on how clocks work is not a concise or
McCarty v. Menards, 327 F.R.D. 177, 180 (N.D. Ill.
Court does have the option to simply deem all of the
defendant's factual assertions admitted. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); Ammons v. Aramark Unif. Servs.,
Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817-18 (7th Cir. 2004); Cichon
v. Exelon Generation Co., 401 F.3d 803, 809 (7th Cir.
2005). Indeed, Courts are entitled to expect strict
compliance with the Local Rule regarding summary judgment.
Thornton v. M7 Aerospace LP, 796 F.3d 757, 769 (7th
Cir. 2015); Yancick v. Hanna Steel Corp., 653 F.3d
532, 537 (7th Cir.2011); Schmidt v. Eagle Waste &
Recycling, Inc., 599 F.3d 626, 630 (7th Cir.2010).
However, in the argument section of the brief, the Plaintiff
has made record citations and, for this reason only, the
Court will sift through the record as best it can to
determine whether genuine, material factual disputes exist.
Mindful of this, the facts are as follows:
is currently 64 years old. At the time of her termination,
she was 61 years old. At all relevant times in this action,
Barile was a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and was
considered an at-will employee. Likewise, at all relevant
times, Rogher Hargus (“Hargus”) was the Director
of St. Joe Behavioral Health and Steve Haggen
(“Haggen”) was the Human Resources Director of
St. Joe Behavioral Health.
2012, Barile worked with St. Joseph Behavioral
Health as a mental health counsel/therapist and
continued in that position until her termination in August,
2016. While working at St. Joseph Behavioral Health, Barile
worked in all three of its behavioral health programs:
inpatient behavioral health, generations (elderly patients),
and intensive outpatient therapy (“IOP”).
(Deposition of Rita Self-Barile, DE 33-2, at 19, hereafter
“Barile Dep. at ”). Beginning in 2015, however,
Barile worked exclusively in the IOP, first as co-facilitator
of group therapy for patients with addictions, then as sole
facilitator of that group. (Barile Dep. at 20). The IOP is
staffed with two therapists that provide “intensive
level outpatient services to clients that were stepping down
from the inpatient unit or needed a higher level of care than
traditional outpatient therapy.” (Deposition of Lyndsey
White, DE 33-3, at 9, hereafter “White Dep. at
”). In the IOP, Barile worked alongside a second
therapist named Joretta Wilt (“Wilt”), until Wilt
retired in April, 2016.
Barile first transferred to the IOP, Patrick Balke
(“Balke”) was her supervisor. (Barile Dep. at
21). In August, 2015, Lyndsey White (“White”)
joined the IOP at St. Joseph Behavioral Health, initially to
create an intake assessment office. (Id. at 21-22).
However, in January, 2016, she became manager of the IOP
which, in turn, positioned her as Barile's supervisor.
tenure with St. Joseph Behavioral Health was short-lived; she
ultimately left her job and relocated in December, 2016. That
did not, however, occur soon enough, in the opinion of Barile
as Barile and White can fairly be described from the record
as having a rocky and confrontational relationship, all of
which is detailed below.
months into her tenure, White learned she would be
transitioning to the supervisory position. Balke and White
had a conversation wherein Balke expressed concerns of
performance related issues with Barile. (White Dep. at 25).
According to White, Balke advised her that when he tried to
discuss the issues with Barile, Barile “would become
angry and aggressive towards him, and it made him fearful and
uncomfortable.” (Id.). Thus, he sought her
assistance in providing feedback to Barile. (Id.).
Shortly thereafter, Barile and White engaged in a verbal
altercation with one another in the hallway over work-related
issues. The accounts of this altercation could not be more
contends that she was frustrated that White was not providing
help to her that she needed and her frustration boiled over
into a verbal dispute. (Barile Dep. at 62: “I
complained that she was giving help to Jeri but not to me.
She was allowing Jeri to have assistance in her groups, but
she wasn't providing assistance to me. And I was angry
about that.”). White, however, explained that there was
“a situation where Rita was yelling at her clients in
group and making some pretty derogatory kind of statements
and [sic] red and shaking and really angry” and Balke
asked White for advice on how to handle it. (White Dep. at
25). White then states she approached Barile in the hallway
and attempted to have her go into her office to regain
control of her emotions. (Id. at 26). However, White
testified that Barile yelled at her and became aggressive.
(Id.). Barile denies that she was loud, yelling, or
the differing versions of events, on October 6, 2015, Barile
received a written warning. (Barile Dep. Exhibit A Written
Warning dated 10/6/15). Hargus and White were both present
when Barile received the warning. (White Dep. at 27). That
warning indicated that Barile, “engaged in open
discussion of private work related issues in front of other
staff members and patients” and “engaged in
verbally aggressive behavior.” (Id.). In
addition, Barile was referred to, but ultimately did not take
advantage of, the employee assistance program, for help with
her emotional responses. (Barile Dep. at 71). In her
deposition, Barile acknowledged her fault in this verbal
alteration and she testified that she “apologized
because I know it was inappropriate.” (Barile Dep. at
63). However, she testified that the written explanation from
White in the write-up was exaggerated and she was not as
angry as White made her out to be. (Barile Dep. at 66-69).
This was Barile's first written warning during her
employment with St. Joseph Behavioral Health.
in April, 2016 and after White became Barile's
supervisor, St. Joseph Behavioral Health was audited by the
Joint Commission, an accrediting body for behavioral health
providers. (White Dep. at 34). During the audit, the Joint
Commission reviewed charting for the IOP chemical dependency,
which was Barile's group. (Id. at 35-37:
“The Joint Commission auditor requested only charts
from the chemical dependency program.”). The IOP
received several citations based on clinical assessments and
four of the six findings of the Joint Commission were
specifically related to the clinical documentation found in
Barile's charts. (Id. at 36). Barile does not
dispute these findings; instead, she contends that the Joint
Commission found fault with the forms used by St. Joseph
Behavioral Health, but not her specifically (Barile Dep. at
88). The Joint Commission noted deficits in the psychosocial
assessment related to trauma assessment, suicide assessment,
and those risk factors. (White Dep. at 38). Essentially,
according to White, Barile's charts lacked information
that a therapist should have known to put into clinical
documentation and that should have been present under Joint
Commission standards. (White Dep. at 99-100). In response,
St. Joseph Behavioral Health was required to redo the
psychosocial assessment form, removing the clinician's
subjectivity from the previous narrative approach. The new
forms required the clinician to check boxes to ensure all
questions were asked, which reduced the reliance on clinician
skill and knowledge of what questions to ask during the
assessment. (White Dep. at 39, 41). White also created a
treatment plan and guide in response to Barile's
substandard charting, and educated the staff on treatment
planning. (Id. at 42). Barile agreed that White
began reviewing everyone's psychosocial assessments and
treatment plans for new patients, but did not know why White
was doing so. (Barile Dep. at 89). Likewise, Barile admitted
that St. Joseph Behavioral Health intake form was changed
after the Joint Commission assessment in July, 2016. (Barile
Dep. at 88-89).
the week of May 18, 2016, one of Barile's patients in the
IOP addictions group committed suicide. The patient had not
been showing up for group but continued to be considered as a
group member. (Barile Dep. at 104). After the patient committed
suicide, Barile discharged him from the group but did not
tell White because she did not believe White would care.
(Barile Dep. at 99-107). White eventually learned of the
suicide and testified that Barile's failure to inform
White of the suicide and the discharge of the patient created
a “major issue” due to a requirement that St.
Joseph Behavioral Health report the information to the State
and the Joint Commission. (White Dep. at 51-52). White then
held formal training with the staff as well as updated the
suicide assessment form. White testified that the patient had
several “significant risk factors that would be a red
flag for any clinician, ” but stated that Barile at no
time consulted White or the patient's psychiatrist.
(White Dep. at 68).
28, 2016,  Barile received a second write up for
three violations of therapist standards as it relates to
intensive outpatient therapy for patients with chemical
dependency. Specifically, Barile was written up for: (1)
independently discharging three patients from the program
without discussing discharges with White; (2) failing to
obtain coverage for one of her group sessions while on
vacation; and (3) leaving before the end of a shift without
approval and without completion of assigned work. (White Dep.
at 48; Exh 2). As noted above, Barile admitted to discharging
one patient without notifying White; however, she testified
that she did routinely share her discharges with White so she
believed that White fabricated this reason. (Barile Dep. at
110-111). Additionally, although Barile admitted that she was
unable to get substitute coverage for one of her group
sessions while on vacation, she states that she made an
attempt to find coverage and notified White. When Barile
received the write-up, she testified that White
“probably knew” she was upset. (Barile Dep. at
115). White testified that Barile had “significant