Anderson v. Carmen Iacullo & Ill. Dep't of Transp.

Decision Date02 August 2013
Docket NumberNo. 10 C 3328.,10 C 3328.
Citation963 F.Supp.2d 818
PartiesMartin ANDERSON, Plaintiff, v. Carmen IACULLO and Illinois Department of Transportation, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois

OPINION TEXT STARTS HERE

David A. Hemenway, Law Offices of David A. Hemenway, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Justin L. Leinenweber, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Martin Anderson brings this suit against Defendant Carmen Iacullo and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), alleging that Iacullo caused the termination of his employment at IDOT based on his political affiliation in violation of the First Amendment (Count I). Specifically, Anderson alleges he was fired from his position as the head of the Electrical Design Section in IDOT's District 1 because he was not a political supporter of Iacullo, IDOT's Acting Engineer of Operations. In Count II of his First Amended Complaint, Anderson seeks a petition for writ of certiorari under Illinois common law to review IDOT's decision to terminate him. Defendants move for summary judgment on both counts. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment with respect to Count I is granted. As Count I represents the sole basis for this Court's federal jurisdiction, the Court exercises its discretion not to assert supplemental jurisdiction and therefore dismisses COunt II.

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL UNDISPUTED FACTS1
I. The Parties' Noncompliance with Local Rule 56.1

As a preliminary matter, the Court notes that both parties have failed to complywith Local Rule 56.1 for the Northern District of Illinois. First, throughout his Response to Defendants' 56.1 Statement of Facts, Anderson states that the Defendants' assertions are “undisputed” but “incomplete.” ( See Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 10–11, 13, 26, 48, 53–54). In response to these assertions and others, Anderson then proceeds to submit additional facts of his own. ( See id.; see also Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 3, 12, 19, 23, 25, 36, 39, 52, 74.) As this Court has previously stated:

Using such evidence to directly dispute [the Defendant's] facts is fine, but to be considered as facts affirmatively demonstrating why summary judgment should be denied, [the Plaintiff's] evidence must also appear in [his] statement of additional facts under the local rules.... Putting this evidence in the statement of additional facts is necessary because [the Defendant] has no mechanism to ‘reply’ to [the Plaintiff's] responses to [the Defendant's] facts and thereby dispute the contentions raised in [the Plaintiff's] responses.

Woods v. Von Maur, Inc., 837 F.Supp.2d 857, 863 (N.D.Ill.2011) (citations omitted). Accordingly, any additional assertions of fact contained in Anderson's response to Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement that do not directly dispute Defendants' facts will be ignored. See Cracco v. Vitran Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir.2009) (“Because of the important function local rules like Rule 56.1 serve in organizing the evidence and identifying disputed facts, we have consistently upheld the district court's discretion to require strict compliance with those rules.”); see, e.g., Chatman v. Vill. of Oak Park, No. 07 C 0625, 2008 WL 516880, at *1 (N.D.Ill. Feb. 21, 2008) (additional facts included as part of plaintiff's support for disputing proposed facts are not considered because they are not presented in compliance with Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B)).

Next, any assertions contained in Defendants' “Reply” to Anderson's Response to Defendants' Statement of Facts (Dkt. 101) are not properly before the Court. While Anderson is permitted to file a response to Nationwide's statement of additional facts, seeL.R. 56.1(a), “nowhere does the rule state that a movant may reply to the responses of a non-movant.” Hudgens v. Wexler and Wexler, 391 F.Supp.2d 634, 637 (N.D.Ill.2005). Thus the Court will not consider the “unnecessary and improper ‘replies' to [Anderson's] responses.” Id. (citing Schulz v. Varian Med. Sys., Inc., 315 F.Supp.2d 923, 925 n. 1 (N.D.Ill.2004) (Castillo, J.) (“Such a reply is inappropriate”); accord Kozlowski v. Fry, 238 F.Supp.2d 996, 1000 n. 2 (N.D.Ill.2002) ( [S]uch a submission by Defendants is neither appropriate nor necessary under the Local Rules.”).

II. The Parties' Employment with IDOT

Martin Anderson began working for IDOT in 1985 as the Contract Plans unit chief in the Bureau of Electrical Operations. (Def. 56.1 St. ¶¶ 1–2.) In 1990, Anderson became a Technical Manager VII, serving as Bureau Chief of the Bureau of Electrical Operations—an upper management position. ( Id. ¶ 2.) The State of Illinois designates certain, limited state employment positions as Rutan-exempt.” (Complaint, ¶ 13.) This designation stems from the Supreme Court's decision in Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois, 497 U.S. 62, 110 S.Ct. 2729, 111 L.Ed.2d 52 (1990), in which the Court held that the First Amendment forbids government officials from discharging public employees solely for not being supporters of the political party in power unless party affiliation is an appropriate requirement for the position involved. Id. at 64, 110 S.Ct. 2729. If a position is Rutan-exempt, the State may lawfully make decisions regarding the hiring, promotion, transfer, or recall from layoff for the position based on political affiliation or support because the position is either a confidential or policymaking position. Id. For all positions other than Rutan-exempt positions, the State of Illinois, including IDOT, is prohibited from hiring, promoting, transferring, terminating, laying off, or recalling from layoff, any person on the basis of political affiliation or support. ( Id. ¶ 14.) Anderson's position was designated as “non-Rutan exempt” by the State of Illinois, meaning the Defendants were prohibited from basing any employment decisions regarding Anderson on his political affiliation or support for a particular political party or faction. ( Id. ¶¶ 15–16.)

Defendant Carmen Iacullo began working for IDOT in 2004 as an Assistant to the District 1 Engineer. (Def. 56.1 St. ¶ 3.) Prior to working for IDOT, Iacullo worked for the City of Chicago, first for the Department of Streets and Sanitation from 1975 to 1989 and then for the Chicago Department of Transportation from 1989 to 2004. (Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 1.) In 2004, Iacullo learned that there may be a position available to him at IDOT from Timothy Martin, then-Secretary of Transportation for the Blagojevich Administration. (Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 3.) Iacullo and Martin knew one another because they had worked together at the Chicago Department of Transportation from 1989 to the mid–1990s. ( Id.) Martin was one of the three individuals who interviewed Iacullo for his position at IDOT. ( Id. ¶ 4.) When IDOT hired Iacullo, the position of Assistant to the District Engineer was a vacant position that no one had occupied for a several years. (Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 6; Def. 56.1 Resp. ¶ 6.) In addition, Iacullo was the first person without an engineering degree to hold a non-administrative-management executive position at IDOT. (Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 7.) After Iacullo took the position of Assistant to the District Engineer, three civil engineering positions within IDOT's Bureau of Maintenance were converted to technical manager positions that did not require an engineering degree. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Two of the three positions were filled by former City of Chicago employees Michael Schivarelli and Anthony Dilacova. ( Id. ¶ 9.) While Iacullo knew of both individuals, he had no interaction with Dilacova during his tenure with the City of Chicago and only a few encounters with Schivarelli. ( Id.; Iacullo Dep., pp. 48–56.) Giovanni Fulgenzi, the Personnel Services Manager for District 1, became concerned that positions historically and traditionally held by civil engineers were being converted to positions held by non-engineers. (Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 8.)

III. Anderson's Political Activity and Nonaffiliation

Anderson, who identifies himself as a Republican, testified that Iacullo had an inner circle of people who either had a “Chicago background,” a “Democrat political background,” or who would refrain from raising issues or challenging decisions made by Iacullo and his close associates. (Def. 56.1 St. ¶¶ 9, 14.) Though Anderson expressed to Fulgenzi that he was concerned that the practices at IDOT were becoming more like those of the City of Chicago, he does not recall discussing with Iacullo his political views or lack of political affiliation with the “Chicago political faction.” 2 (Def. 56.1 St. ¶¶ 9, 20–21; Pl. 56.1 St. ¶ 27.) Iacullo was unaware of Anderson's voting record, donations, and volunteerism. (Def. 56.1 St. ¶¶ 9, 20.) According to Anderson, however, Iacullo was aware of his political affiliation and non-affiliation with the “Chicago political faction” because (1) Iacullo knew Anderson lived in West Dundee, Illinois—an area Anderson considers to be predominately republican; and (2) Anderson opposed being excluded in 2005 and 2007 from two employee interview panels in—one for a Communication Center staff position and the other for Anderson's direct subordinate—based on his view that his exclusion violated the Rutan guidelines. (Def. 56.1 St. ¶¶ 32–34.)

Although Iacullo's inner circle may include both Republicans and Democrats, Anderson testified that [w]hat was important was being in the inner circle, being affirmative to what Mr. Iacullo wanted to do, not offering any opposition or contradictory information, not questioning.” (Def. 56.1 St. ¶ 11.) When asked what role political faction or lack of political affiliation to the Chicago Machine played in the 2007 District 1 reorganization, Anderson testified [i]t is not a matter of affiliation with the Chicago machine. It is a matter of affiliation and loyalty to [Iacullo], to what he wanted.” ( Id. ¶ 12.) Anderson also testified that “it was more important to be loyal to Mr. Iacullo than a particular part...

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