Vincent Thomas v. City of Michigan City, Indian
Filed Nonprecedential Disposition PER CURIAM. AFFIRMED. Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge; Richard A. Posner, Circuit Judge and Joel M. Flaum, Circuit Judge. [6806418-1]  [16-1163]
To be cited only in accordance with Fed. R. App. P. 32.1
United States Court of Appeals
For the Seventh Circuit
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Submitted December 21, 2016*
Decided December 21, 2016
DIANE P. WOOD, Chief Judge
RICHARD A. POSNER, Circuit Judge
JOEL M. FLAUM, Circuit Judge
CITY OF MICHIGAN CITY, INDIANA,
Appeal from the United States
District Court for the Northern District
of Indiana, South Bend Division.
Philip P. Simon,
O R D E R
Vincent Thomas was fired from his job as a Michigan City bus driver after a
video confirmed that he failed to stop before a railroad crossing, in violation of a federal
regulation. Thomas, who is black, maintained that race discrimination was the real
reason for his firing. The district court concluded that Thomas could not point to any
* We have unanimously agreed to decide the case without oral argument because
the briefs and record adequately present the facts and legal arguments, and oral
argument would not significantly aid the court. FED. R. APP. P. 34(a)(2)(C).
evidence that his race motivated the City’s decision to fire him and granted summary
judgment for the City. We affirm.
According to the video recording, taken from a camera mounted on the
dashboard of his bus, Thomas slowed down as he approached a railroad crossing but
did not come to a complete stop. About three weeks before the incident, a
memorandum from the Michigan City transit director had informed all bus drivers that
a federal (Department of Transportation) regulation, 49 C.F.R. § 392.10(a), mandates
that commercial drivers stop at all railroad crossings. The memorandum warned that
“termination can be expected” if a driver did not follow the “correct procedure at
After the incident, the Michigan City Transit Department discharged Thomas for
violating the federal regulation and a corresponding state law, IND. CODE § 9‐21‐8‐39.
Thomas responded by filing a grievance, in which he alleged that he was targeted
because of a pending grievance. His discharge was upheld by the Michigan City Board
About 230 days later, Thomas filed charges of race and age discrimination with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After receiving a right‐to‐sue letter,
he sued the City for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, see 29 U.S.C. § 621.
The district court dismissed Thomas’s age discrimination claim as untimely
because he filed his charge with the EEOC more than 180 days after the alleged
discrimination took place. See 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1)(A).
Further proceedings ensued, and the court ultimately granted summary
judgment for the City on Thomas’s race discrimination claim because he provided no
evidence that his discharge was based on discriminatory animus. Thomas, the court
explained, could not establish a prima facie case of intentional discrimination under the
indirect method of proof because he could not identify any similarly situated employee
not in the protected class who received better treatment. (Thomas had asserted in an
affidavit that Rosetta Loggins, a white bus driver, was not punished after she left
passengers at a high school. But the court rejected Loggins as a comparator because
Thomas’s affidavit was based on hearsay rather than his personal knowledge of her
situation and, in any case, her conduct did not violate any state or federal laws.)
Thomas, the court added, also did not introduce any evidence to suggest that the City’s
stated reason for his discharge—his violating a federal regulation for not stopping at a
railroad crossing—was a pretext. As for the direct method of proof, the court found that
Thomas did not produce direct or circumstantial evidence that his race motivated his
On appeal Thomas first challenges the court’s ruling that his statements
regarding Rosetta Loggins were inadmissible hearsay.1 Thomas’s only evidence was his
deposition testimony that he heard his union representative say during his disciplinary
hearing that Loggins had not been disciplined for her infraction. The district court
properly discounted the significance of this evidence because Thomas lacked personal
knowledge of Loggins’s situation. See FED. R. EVID. 801(c); Gunville v. Walker, 583 F.3d
979, 985 (7th Cir. 2009).
Thomas next argues that his age discrimination claim was not untimely because
he filed it on the same day as his timely Title VII claim. But he did not file his charge
with the EEOC until about 230 days after the incident, and the statute of limitations in
Indiana for an ADEA charge is only 180 days, while that for a Title VII‐based charge is
300 days. See 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1)(A); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e‐5(e)(1); Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 729 (7th Cir. 2014); Equal Emp’t Opportunity Comm’n v.
N. Gibson Sch. Corp., 266 F.3d 607, 617 (7th Cir. 2001).
Finally, Thomas asserts for the first time that his attorney and the City attorney
schemed to bias the judge against him by suggesting that he was difficult and unwilling
to negotiate a settlement. But Thomas’s only proof of judicial bias is the fact that the
judge ruled against him, and an adverse ruling alone is not evidence of judicial bias.
See Liteky v. United States, 510 U.S. 540, 555 (1994); Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845, 849
(7th Cir. 2015).
We have reviewed Thomas’s remaining arguments, and none has merit.
1 Thomas also argues, for the first time, that a similarly situated unnamed
African American driver was not fired after failing to stop at three different railroad
crossings. Arguments raised for the first time on appeal are waived, Reid v. Neighborhood
Assistance Corp. of Am., 749 F.3d 581, 588 n.6 (7th Cir. 2014), though we observe that if
true this allegation suggests that race was not a motivating factor in Thomas’s
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