820 F.2d 213 (7th Cir. 1987), 86-1294, Fontano v. City of Chicago

Docket Nº86-1294.
Citation820 F.2d 213
Party NameJohn FONTANO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, and Eugene Barnes, Defendants-Appellees.
Case DateMay 14, 1987
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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820 F.2d 213 (7th Cir. 1987)

John FONTANO, Plaintiff-Appellant,


CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, and Eugene Barnes,


No. 86-1294.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

May 14, 1987

Submitted April 15, 1987. *

Joseph J. Spingola, Joseph J. Spingola, Ltd., Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

E. Wayne Robinson, Acting Corp. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., Mary K. Rochford, Chief Asst. Corp. Counsel, Jennifer A. Keller, Asst. Corp. Counsel, Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees.

Before WOOD, COFFEY and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges.


John Fontano was fired from his position with the Chicago Department of Sewers one day before his six-month probationary period was to end. Fontano sued the City of Chicago (City) and his supervisor, Eugene Barnes, claiming that his termination violated various rights which he was entitled to under the United States constitution and Illinois state law. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a federal cause of action and refused to retain jurisdiction over the pendant state claims, 646 F.Supp. 599. The court also denied Fontano's subsequent motion to amend the complaint. Fontano appeals.


The facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Fontano, are as follows. Prior to January 1, 1984, the City employed Fontano

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as an at-will laborer for the Department of Sewers, a position falling within the classification of Departmental Employment Services (DES). In its 1984 Appropriation Ordinance, the City reclassified Fontano and other DES employees as Probationary Career Services (PCS) employees as of January 1, 1984. The Commissioner of Personnel, Charles Pounian, notified Fontano of this status change in a memorandum dated January 10, 1984. The memorandum informed Fontano that he was to serve a six-month probationary period during which he would be governed by Personnel Rule IX, a copy of which was attached. Rule IX, section 3, provided that, "[a] department head may discharge an employee during the probationary period provided the department head notifies the Commissioner of Personnel in writing." According to section 4 of the Rule, "[a]ny employee who completes a probationary period shall have Career Service status in that title." In addition to the guidelines provided in Rule IX, the memorandum itself informed Fontano that:

  1. Your work performance will be rated by your department twice during the six month probationary period. Ratings will be in March and June, 1984. Rating factors include 1) quality and quantity of work, 2) ability to work with others, 3) ability to learn, 4) ability to work safely, 5) initiative and acceptance of responsibility, 6) use of equipment and 7) attendance and punctuality.

If you successfully complete your probationary period you attain full Career Service status in your title [and you will then be entitled to]....

  1. Hearings before the Personnel Board in all suspensions of more than 30 days, demotions or discharges.

To Fontano's knowledge, his department never rated his performance during his probationary period. Nonetheless, one day before his probationary period expired, appellee...

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