496 F.3d 645 (7th Cir. 2007), 06-2302, Lewis v. City of Chicago

Docket Nº:06-2302.
Citation:496 F.3d 645
Party Name:Donna L. LEWIS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF CHICAGO and Terence Williams, [1]) Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 26, 2007
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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496 F.3d 645 (7th Cir. 2007)

Donna L. LEWIS, Plaintiff-Appellant,


CITY OF CHICAGO and Terence Williams,
1) Defendants-Appellees.

No. 06-2302.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

July 26, 2007

         Argued February 6, 2007

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 04 C 6050-Ruben Castillo, Judge.

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         Dana L. Kurtz (argued), Lockport, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

         Nadine J. Wichern (argued), Office of the Corporation Counsel Appeals Division, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

         Before KANNE, WOOD, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

         KANNE, Circuit Judge.

         Plaintiff Donna Lewis is a police officer in the Chicago Police Department. She alleges sex discrimination and retaliation claims under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against her former supervisor Lieutenant Terence Williams, the Department and the City of Chicago. The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on all claims. We affirm the judgment as to the Monell claim against the City but otherwise reverse.

         I. HISTORY

         Lewis graduated from the Chicago police academy in 1998 and began her career in the Department as a patrol officer. In 2000, she was transferred to a Tactical Unit where she was a plain clothes officer dealing regularly with drug dealers and gangs. At the Tactical Unit, the chain of command had Lewis reporting directly to a sergeant who in turn was supervised by a lieutenant. By 2002, defendant Williams was Lewis's supervising Lieutenant.

         In the late summer of 2002, the Washington, D.C. police department sought assistance from various police departments, including Chicago's, in anticipation of likely demonstrations during a forthcoming International Monetary Fund meeting. Chicago's Chief of Patrol, James A. Maurer, issued a memorandum on September 11, 2002 to various units in the Department setting forth a request for volunteers and establishing a selection procedure.

         Pursuant to the memorandum:

         Participating officers would travel to Washington, D.C. on Friday, September 27th, work on Saturday and Sunday, September 28th and 29th, and return to Chicago on September 30th.

         Only Tactical, Gang or Special Operations Sections officers who completed riot training in September 2002 were eligible to participate.

         Qualifying officers would need to be on either furlough or regular days off to qualify.

         Officers would receive overtime pay for the time they spent traveling and working in Washington, D.C.

         The memorandum also noted that the Department might send "several hundred officers and supervisors" to the IMF rally, and "that this could serve as an excellent on-the-job training exercise" in light of a future demonstration then scheduled for Chicago in November 2002. Appellant's Appx. 885.   

         Additionally, the memorandum stated that, "Because of hotel accommodations, a lone female officer will not be sent since there are two (2) persons to each room. There-fore, recommend a minimum of two (2) female officers." Id. Despite Chief Maurer's use of the phrase "lone female officer" in the memorandum, the defendants

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claim that "Chief . . . Maurer intended to convey that [the Department] had a limited number of hotel rooms, so an odd number of either gender would not be chosen." Appellees' Brief at 9.

         Lewis qualified for the IMF Detail and wanted to attend. She completed the necessary form and provided it to her supervisor, Sergeant Melean, in a timely fashion in compliance with the procedure established by Chief Maurer's memorandum. Her name was initially placed on the list of IMF attendees from her unit. However, Lewis's name was removed from the final list submitted from her unit and she would not go to Washington, D.C.

         The defendants' explanation is that Lewis's unit did not have another qualified female officer interested in going to Washington, D.C. Lieutenant Williams determined that Lewis was the "odd woman out" and therefore re-moved her name from the list in conformance with Chief Maurer's memorandum.

         Lewis, however, believes the defendants' explanation is hogwash. According to Lewis, she questioned Williams about being removed from the list. Williams allegedly responded that he took her name off the list "because [she] was a female," and that "it was going to be a working trip, and he thought it would be dangerous and that [she] would thank him for it later." Appellant's Brief at 7. Williams denies making this statement.   

         Lewis argues that the issue of avoiding an odd number of officers for rooming purposes is a pretextual argument masking discrimination against her. She claims that a fellow qualified female officer, Officer Regan, was never informed about the IMF Detail. Thus, Lewis implies that Williams intentionally tried to prevent her from obtaining a partnering officer for the IMF Detail. Additionally, Lewis claims that other units in the Department contacted each other in an attempt to pair up single officers.

         If Chief Maurer's intention was to avoid an odd number of participants of either gender on the IMF Detail for rooming purposes, the Department was unsuccessful in achieving this task. The record contains a document entitled "Fall 2002 IMF / World Bank Conference- Washington, D.C." that lists the officers who attended the IMF Detail and corresponding hotel room numbers for these officers. Appellant's Appx. 873-80. According to this list, 245 male officers and 17 female officers attended the IMF Detail in Washington, D.C. Most officers shared a hotel room with a fellow officer of the same gender. However, four officers had a room to themselves. Three of the four were male officers: Lt. Flynn in Room 338, Officer Marin in Room 363, and Officer Suez in Room 446. The fourth officer, a female, Officer Varela is listed by herself in Room 426. The record is silent as to whether there were accommodations available for three officers in a single room such as a roll-away bed.

         The parties dispute whether Lewis was denied any benefit due to her absence from the IMF Detail. Lewis argues that she lost out on approximately $1,000 in overtime earnings. She also believes that the IMF Detail was a "once in a lifetime opportunity" that would have been "great" on her resume. The defendants counter that Lewis does not point to any lost promotional opportunities. The defendants also note that Lewis was able to participate in other similar details in Chicago and Lewis did not place these details on her resume.

         At the end of September 2002, Lewis filed a grievance with the union over the IMF Detail and later filed a complaint with the EEOC. She alleges that Williams

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retaliated against her in response to her complaints. The alleged retaliation included sending Lewis on dangerous assignments without sufficient support in violation of Department policy. She was also transferred from the Tactical Unit to a Gang Unit. The transfer, according to Lewis, was in retaliation as the Gang Unit provided her less opportunities for advancement and overtime. The transfers and disruptions also included new partners that Lewis did not know or trust leading her to believe that Williams was trying to place her in compromising and dangerous situations. Lewis also requested a transfer to the Special Operations Section but this request was denied. The Special Operations Section was not supervised by Williams. Lewis believes that Williams denied her request for a transfer in order to continue his retaliation against her. Lewis also claims that she made several complaints to various supervisors above Williams about his discrimination and retaliation. She argues that these other supervisors failed to take action and this is part of a pattern and practice in the Department to ignore discrimination claims.

         Lewis is now on permanent disability leave after a fellow officer hit her in the head with a sledgehammer when she was assisting in a forced entry during a narcotics investigation. Lewis does not provide any evidence that her injury was anything other than an accident. However, she does point out that Williams ordered her to assist the narcotics team and she also complains about the City's failure to provide her proper medical care.

         II. ANALYSIS

         "We review grants of summary judgment de novo." Lummis v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 469 F.3d 1098, 1099-1100 (7th Cir.2006) (citing Hrobowski v. Worthington Steel Co., 358 F.3d 473, 475 (7th Cir.2004); Rogers v. City of

Chicago, 320 F.3d 748, 752 (7th Cir.2003)). Summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c).

         A. Sex Discrimination Claims as to the IMF Detail

         Lewis's claims against the City arise under Title VII and her claim against Williams is brought pursuant to § 1983. See Fairley v. Fermaint, 482 F.3d 897, 903-04 (7th Cir. 2007). However, we analyze Lewis's Title VII and § 1983 sex discrimination claims arising from her inability to participate in the IMF Detail in the same manner. Burks v. Wisconsin Dep't of Transp., 464 F.3d 744, 750 n.2 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing Williams v. Seniff, 342 F.3d 774, 788 n.13 (7th Cir. 2003)).

         It is unlawful...

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