Rujawitz v. Martin, 08-1625.

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBauer
Citation561 F.3d 685
PartiesMark RUJAWITZ, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Timothy MARTIN, former Secretary of the Department of Transportation of the State of Illinois, Defendant-Appellee.
Docket NumberNo. 08-1625.,08-1625.
Decision Date02 April 2009
561 F.3d 685
Mark RUJAWITZ, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Timothy MARTIN, former Secretary of the Department of Transportation of the State of Illinois, Defendant-Appellee.
No. 08-1625.
United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.
Argued January 13, 2009.
Decided April 2, 2009.

[561 F.3d 687]

Jack A. Strellis, Attorney (argued), Strellis, Faulbaum & Field, Waterloo, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Brian F. Barov, Attorney (argued), Office of the Attorney General, Chicago, IL, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before BAUER, POSNER and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Circuit Judge.


Mark Rujawitz sued Timothy Martin, Secretary of the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT), under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his substantive property right to employment had been violated. The district court granted Martin's motion to dismiss holding that there was no property right present. On appeal, Rujawitz argues that a favorable procedural ruling converted his at-will status to tenure, establishing such a right. For the following reasons, we affirm.

I. BACKGROUND

For approximately thirteen years, Rujawitz worked for IDOT as a Civil Engineer IV, an at-will position. This run, however, came to a halt on October 27, 2004, when Rujawitz was discharged for unlawful conduct, disruptive conduct and failure to follow a supervisory directive. The termination was prompted by Rujawitz's failure to abide by an injunction, which required him to remain at least 100 feet from his ex-girlfriend, also an IDOT employee.

A disciplinary panel reviewed the discharge and found that although not "totally without fault," Rujawitz did not violate the injunction because the contact with his ex-girlfriend was incidental. The panel also found that Rujawitz's due process was violated because IDOT did not provide sufficient documentation supporting the charges. With these findings, the panel recommended that termination was too severe and that a lesser level of discipline was more appropriate.

Martin concurred with the panel's recommendations and ordered that: (1) Rujawitz be reinstated; (2) the discharge be changed to suspension without pay (including back-pay) for a certain period; and (3) Rujawitz be transferred to a different office.

Rujawitz then brought this civil rights action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Martin, claiming that his substantive due process right to property was violated when he was denied back-pay and constructively discharged by the transfer. Rujawitz argued that IDOT's decision to utilize the disciplinary panel and Martin's concurrence with the panel's recommendations endowed him with substantive due process rights. Martin moved to dismiss the action; the district court granted Martin's motion, holding that the panel's recommendation and Martin's concurrence did not establish a property right in continued employment, since at most, it reinstated Rujawitz as an at-will employee. The district court also held that no protectable, contractual property interest existed because IDOT's policy...

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151 practice notes
  • Hamerski v. Belleville Area Special Servs. Coop., Case No. 16–cv–796–DRH–DGW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 20 d2 Março d2 2018
    ...ordinance, state law, contract or understanding limiting the ability of the state or state entity to discharge him." Rujawitz v. Martin , 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Moss , 473 at 700 ; Krecek , 207 Ill.Dec. 227, 646 N.E.2d at 1319 ). In the contracting sense, "the terms of e......
  • In re Jahelka, Bankruptcy No. 09 B 20289.
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Seventh Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • 27 d3 Outubro d3 2010
    ...as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir.2009). Wachovia's amended complaint alleges the following facts. Jahelka was president and a shareholder of a small closely-he......
  • Caffarello v. Ill. State Toll Highway Auth., Case No. 13 C 8495
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 17 d4 Julho d4 2014
    ...has a protected property interest in his employment. In Illinois, the presumption is that employment is at-will. See Rujawitz v. Martin. 561 F.3d 685, 688-89 (7th Cir. 2009). Nevertheless, in the employment context, a legitimate claim of entitlement and, thus, a protected property interest,......
  • Sellers v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharms., Inc., 3:12–cv–00615–DRH–SCW.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 25 d3 Julho d3 2012
    ...accepts as true all well-pled factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir.2009); St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir.2007), cert. denied,553 U.S. 1032, 128 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
154 cases
  • Hamerski v. Belleville Area Special Servs. Coop., Case No. 16–cv–796–DRH–DGW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 20 d2 Março d2 2018
    ...ordinance, state law, contract or understanding limiting the ability of the state or state entity to discharge him." Rujawitz v. Martin , 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Moss , 473 at 700 ; Krecek , 207 Ill.Dec. 227, 646 N.E.2d at 1319 ). In the contracting sense, "the terms of e......
  • In re Jahelka
    • United States
    • United States Bankruptcy Courts. Seventh Circuit. U.S. Bankruptcy Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • 27 d3 Outubro d3 2010
    ...as true all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant. Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir.2009). Wachovia's amended complaint alleges the following facts. Jahelka was president and a shareholder of a small closely-he......
  • Perez v. Astrue, 11 CV 03153.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
    • 3 d2 Julho d2 2012
    ...by restricting the hypothetical to ‘simple’ tasks, and we and our sister courts continue to reject the Commissioner's position.” 561 F.3d at 685, with cases like Simila, where the court stated that “[w]e have held that claimants who ‘often experience[ ] deficiencies of concentration, persis......
  • Sellers v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharms., Inc.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 7th Circuit. Southern District of Illinois
    • 25 d3 Julho d3 2012
    ...accepts as true all well-pled factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Rujawitz v. Martin, 561 F.3d 685, 688 (7th Cir.2009); St. John's United Church of Christ v. City of Chicago, 502 F.3d 616, 625 (7th Cir.2007), cert. denied,553 U.S. 1032, 128 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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