Randle v. Chase Bank et al
ORDER AND OPINION entered by Magistrate Judge Jonathan E. Hawley on 2/13/2018. For the reasons stated above, the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment on Count I (race discrimination) is GRANTED. All other counts of the Third Amended Complaint are DISMISSED without prejudice. This case is terminated. SEE FULL WRITTEN ORDER AND OPINION. (JS, ilcd)
Tuesday, 13 February, 2018 02:58:57 PM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 1:13-cv-1503-JEH
CHASE BANK, GREG HANEY,
AND BEV DAVIS ANDERSON,
Order and Opinion
Now before the Court is the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 89). The Defendants move for summary judgment as to Count I of the
Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 53), as to the time-barred allegations
of battery and assault in Counts II and III of the Plaintiff’s Third Amended
Complaint, and as to the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim in
Count VI against Defendant Chase in the Third Amended Complaint.
Motion is fully briefed and for the reasons set forth below, the Defendants’
Motion is GRANTED. Because the grant of that motion resolves the only federal
claim in this case, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
the remaining state law claims.
On July 8, 2016, Plaintiff Randle filed her Third Amended Complaint (Doc.
53) which is the controlling complaint in this case. In it, Randle alleged that she
consistently worked 40-hour workweeks as a full-time employee and never made
any complaints to Defendant Chase until Defendants Greg Haney (Haney) and
Bev Davis Anderson (Davis) became her supervisors around April 2004. She
alleged their harassment of her began on or around that time when they engaged
in practical jokes at her expense. Randle alleged, among other things that: in
2004 she was instructed to take down pictures of her biracial grandchildren on
her desk though Defendant Davis kept her non-biracial children’s pictures on her
desk and it was later confirmed to Randle that she could have pictures of her
grandchildren on her desk; in 2004 Davis and Haney put an insect in her
sandwich and laughed at her; around April 2004 until October 7, 2009, Randle
would schedule doctor’s appointments and give Davis two weeks’ notice but
when the appointment dates came, Davis would take an extra long lunch to
intentionally make Randle late for her appointments; from around April 2004
throughout her employment, Randle would attend morning meetings and
Defendant Davis would scowl at her when she attempted to talk and Haney
would not stop Davis’s scowling behavior; around July 2009, Randle asked
Haney to cash a check for her at the end of the day and she overheard him and
Davis laughing loudly and holding her check up for all to see while commenting
about how it came from public aid; around December 2009, the bank branch
where Randle worked received a threat and Haney failed to inform her of the
threat; around February 2010, Haney gave Randle a birthday card with a picture
of a tall skinny black dog standing on its hind legs wearing an apron and serving
people to mock Randle based upon her race; around July 2010, Randle was
supposed to receive a 20-year anniversary plaque from Chase but she did not
receive it and questioned Haney about it who admitted he actually had it for a
few weeks but had not given it to her in retaliation for her complaining to their
district manager; around February 2011, Randle put her jacket on and discovered
long straight pins planted in her coat while at work by Haney and Davis; and
around October 2011, a customer entered the bank and stated Randle could pass
for a pretty black Barbie doll and later that afternoon, Davis presented Randle
with a black baldheaded baby doll.
Randle’s original complaint was filed on October 23, 2013 and the Court
thereafter dismissed her claims of employment discrimination against Haney
and Davis. After Randle filed her first amended complaint, the Court: dismissed
her claims for sexual harassment, age discrimination, negligent retention, and
retaliation with prejudice; dismissed all battery and assault allegations occurring
prior to October 23, 2011; dismissed her claims for trespass, trespass to chattels,
and conversion; and limited her claims for battery and assault to events
occurring after October 23, 2011. Ultimately, in her Third Amended Complaint 1,
Randle brought a count for racial discrimination under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e, et seq., against Chase Bank, a count for
battery against Davis, a count for assault against Haney, and counts of
intentional infliction of emotional distress against Davis, Haney, and Chase.
The undisputed facts relevant to Defendants’ motion for partial summary
judgment are as follows. 2
Plaintiff Hurlestine Randle (Randle) is an African American female that
began work at Chase Bank (then known as Jefferson Bank) in July 1990 as a teller
at the branch located at 2301 N. Wisconsin Avenue, Peoria, Illinois (Wisconsin
Plaza branch). Defendant Davis (a Caucasian female) joined Chase Bank in 1993
and became the Assistant Branch Manager at the Wisconsin Plaza branch in 2003,
a position she held until that branch closed in September 2014. Defendant Haney
The Court granted the Defendants’ Motion to Strike Paragraph 55 of Randle’s Second Amended
Complaint and directed Randle to file a Third Amended Complaint omitting the allegations of Paragraph
2 These facts are taken from the various filings of the parties on motion for summary judgment indicating
facts that are not in dispute.
(a Caucasian male) was the Branch Manager at the Wisconsin Plaza branch from
2003 until its closing in 2014. The chain of command from 2003 through 2014
was such that Randle reported to Davis, and Davis reported to Haney. Sandra
Bergh (Bergh) was the district manager in Central Illinois for Chase Bank from
2005 through at least 2012, including the Peoria locations. Defendant Haney
reported to Bergh.
In March 2010, Plaintiff Randle’s hours were reduced from 40 hours per
week to 30 hours per week. Randle was upset by the reduction in her hours and
she blamed Haney and Davis. Initially, Randle complained to Bergh and to
Chase human resources in September 2010. Before filing any charges, Randle
voiced her complaints about the working environment with Davis and Haney to
a number of individuals and departments at Chase Bank, including its CEO
Randle filed her first Illinois Department of Human Rights
(IDHR)/Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge against
Defendants Davis, Haney, and Chase on August 23, 2012 alleging employment
discrimination, harassment, and retaliation based on her race.
withdrew the charge on May 17, 2013.
Randle then filed her second
IDHR/EEOC charge on June 7, 2013 alleging only retaliatory harassment against
Davis, Haney, and Chase, but Randle withdrew that charge in April 2014.
On April 22, 2013, Randle obtained an ex parte Emergency Stalking-No
Contact Order against Haney and Davis based upon allegations of stalking and
harassment, captioned as Peoria County Case Nos. 13-OP-362 and 13-OP-363.
Those emergency orders prevented Haney and Davis from coming within 300
feet of Randle at any location. In order to comply with the court’s emergency
orders, Randle was transferred to the Knoxville Chase Bank branch located at
7707 North Knoxville Avenue, Peoria, Illinois.
Randle’s employment at Chase Bank was terminated on May 21, 2014
because she stated that she was unable to work and did not know if she would
be able to return at a future date. Immediately prior to her termination, Randle
missed a year of work for various physical and mental health issues, including
short-term disability granted her by Chase from May 15, 2013 to July 15, 2013
and a leave of absence from July 25, 2013 through October 30, 2013. Randle was
on disability because she could not perform her job duties due to various
physical and mental health issues, including visual hallucinations. 3 Dr. Mary
Papandria, Randle’s licensed clinical psychologist who initially saw her in
November 2013 to assess her for the presence or absence of disability that would
impair her ability to work (for purposes of Social Security disability), stated that
Randle was disabled from work at the time she treated her.
In their Motion for Summary Judgment, the Defendants argue that no
materially adverse employment action taken against Randle was motivated by
race and that she was not subjected to a hostile work environment based upon
her race. They also argue that several alleged discriminatory acts that predate
Randle’s August 23, 2012 EEOC charge filing by more than 300 days (October 28,
2011 or earlier) are time-barred and that the individual Defendants are entitled to
summary judgment on the majority of Randle’s assault and battery allegations
because they occurred before October 23, 2011 (the statute of limitations for
personal injury actions is two years 4 and Randle filed her original complaint on
October 23, 2013).
The Defendants further argue that Randle’s claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) against Chase is preempted by
Defendants’ Undisputed Material Fact ¶ 2.e. is deemed as such because the Plaintiff did not identify it as
disputed and/or immaterial.
4 735 ILCS 5/13-202.
the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA). Lastly, the Defendants argue that if the
Court grants summary judgment on Count I (race discrimination), there remains
no federal jurisdictional basis on the remaining state tort claims and so the Court
should dismiss those state law claims.
In response, Randle argues that she suffered an adverse employment
action in that her hours were cut and she was subjected to a pattern of abuse and
discrimination that she alone was subjected to which caused her to suffer severe
physical and mental health issues which caused her to be unable to work and
that caused her to be fired. She argues her hostile work environment claim is not
time-barred because the Supreme Court has held that as long as there are timely
filed charges which are themselves actionable, other facts which are not
actionable are still admissible to show a pattern in a claim for hostile work
environment. Randle also argues that it cannot be the case that her assault and
battery claims are time-barred where the Defendants were put on notice of them
with her original EEOC filings.
With regard to her intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim against Chase, Randle concedes that the IHRA preempts
that claim as she “cannot maintain a separate action over the very same incidents
[of alleged racial discrimination].”
Summary Judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
The moving party has the burden of providing proper
documentary evidence to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24. Once the moving party has met its burden, the
opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations
or denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1993). “[A]
party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other
party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof.”
Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183 (7th Cir. 1993).
Accordingly, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or
admissions that establish that there is a genuine triable issue; she “must do more
than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986), quoting Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle
Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). However, the evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in the nonmovant’s favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. Finally, a scintilla of evidence in
support of the non-movant’s position is not sufficient to oppose successfully a
summary judgment motion; “there must be evidence on which the jury could
reasonably find for the [non-movant].” Id. at 250.
Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer “to fail to refuse to hire or to
discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual
with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of
employment, because of such individual’s race . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).
For purposes of a race discrimination claim under Title VII, a plaintiff has the
initial burden of establishing that: 1) she is a member of a protected class; 2) she
performed reasonably on the job in accord with her employer’s legitimate
expectations; 3) despite her reasonable performance, she was subjected to an
adverse employment action; and 4) similarly situated employees outside of her
protected class were treated more favorably by the employer. David v. Bd. of Trs.
of Cmty. Coll. Dist. No. 508, 846 F.3d 216, 225 (7th Cir. 2017), citing McDonnell
Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). If the plaintiff satisfies that burden,
then the employer must articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the
adverse employment action. Id. If the employer does so, the burden shifts back
to the plaintiff to submit evidence that the employer’s explanation is pretextual.
The parties’ arguments and evidence presented somewhat conflate the
analysis the Court must engage in under McDonnell Douglas; however, the Court
must still consider whether Randle can establish a prima facie case of race
discrimination before the Court may engage in a pretext inquiry. Peele v. Country
Mut. Ins. Co., 288 F.3d 319, 327 (7th Cir. 2002). The Defendants do not dispute
that Randle is a member of a protected class and performed reasonably on the
job in accord with her employer’s legitimate expectations.
As for the third
element of the prima facie case, on its face, the reduction in Randle’s working
hours from 40 hours to 30 hours per week was an “adverse employment action”
as her compensation was diminished. 5 See Herrnreiter v. Chi. Hous. Auth., 315
F.3d 742, 744 (7th Cir. 2002) (explaining that “adverse employment actions” fall
into three groups of cases including where an “employee's compensation, fringe
benefits, or other financial terms of employment are diminished”).
With regard to the fourth element - similarly situated employees outside of
the protected class who were treated more favorably by the employer – the
Defendants only state that “[u]nless Randle has identified comparators under the
fourth element, she fails to establish racial discrimination with circumstantial
evidence.” They essentially concede the fourth element as they proceed to argue
The Defendants offer no argument otherwise.
that Randle cannot show that an adverse employment action was taken against
her which was motivated by race (the first burden shift under McDonnell
Randle has established her initial burden and thus, the Court must next
consider whether Chase has articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason
for the adverse employment action of the reduction of Randle’s working hours.
Chase argues that she cannot show that a racially discriminatory motive caused
the reduction in her working hours in 2010 or the verbal reprimand she received
for the volume of her unproven complaints against Haney and Davis. Chase
cites to Haney’s and Bergh’s deposition testimony in which each stated that
Randle’s hours were reduced in 2010 due to the reduction in business at the
Wisconsin Plaza branch.
Dft’s MSJ, Haney Dep. (Doc. 89-7 at pg. 6)
(“Hurlestine’s hours were reduced by a decision of upper management . . . Due
to the profitability of the branch”); Bergh Dep. (Doc. 89-8 at pg. 12) (“Business
was shrinking”). Chase also cites to a Human Resources document in which a
Note on March 1, 2010 provided:
Sandi Bergh called to discuss conversation she is having today with
Hurlestine. Sandi is adjusting the Teller FTE at the branch and only
needs a 30 hour teller at this small branch. As Hurlestine is fulltime, Sandi is going to talk with her about the business need for the
change and offer her the opportunity to work at the Knoxville
branch (just two miles or so away) as a full-time teller or to take the
30 hour position at the Wisconsin Plaza branch. We discussed
talking points that Sandi could use in her conversation.
Whether employees are similarly situated is a “flexible, common-sense, and factual inquiry.” David, 846
F.3d at 225. “Relevant factors include whether the employees: held the same job description; were
subject to the same standards; were subordinate to the same supervisor; and had comparable experience,
education, and other qualifications – provided the employer considered these latter factors in making the
personnel decision. Id. at 226 (internal citations omitted). Randle identified no other employees as
“similarly situated.” Notably, from the face of Randle’s allegations in her Third Amended Complaint and
the evidence the parties present on summary judgment, Randle has not established that similarly situated
employees outside of her protected class were treated more favorably by Chase.
Dft’s MSJ, Bergh Dep., Dep. Ex. 1 (Doc. 89-8 at pg. 17). Randle counters that she
testified in her deposition that her hours were cut and she was the only employee
whose hours were cut while Haney’s and Davis’s, both white employees, hours
were not cut. In addition to her deposition testimony, her evidence in support
includes a Human Resources document dated from June 24, 2009 to December
16, 2009 and her own Affidavit dated December 29, 2017. Plf’s Resp. Exh. 4; Exh.
6 Randle Aff. (Docs. 91-4 and 91-6).
Even after drawing all reasonable inferences from Randle’s cited evidence
in her favor, the Court finds that the evidence does not create a material issue of
fact that Chase’s reason for Randle’s reduction in hours was pretextual. Instead,
the evidence reveals that Chase did not subject Randle to a reduction in hours
based upon her race but that the reduction was due to legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons and she herself chose to experience a reduction in her
Her cited-to Chase Human Resources document says nothing about a
reduction in her working hours or even Randle’s schedule generally.
Affidavit in which she makes the bald assertion that it was only after she began
reporting Davis’s and Haney’s harassment that her hours were cut came after she
had already been deposed and the Defendants filed the instant Motion for
Summary Judgment. Her Affidavit is self-serving and without factual support.
See Butts v. Aurora Health Care, Inc., 387 F.3d 921, 925 (7th Cir. 2004) (“It is true
that self-serving statements in affidavits without factual support in the record
carry no weight on summary judgment”).
During her deposition, Randle
acknowledged that at the time she learned her hours were cut from 40 to 30
hours per week, “he [unidentified] claimed I guess it was slow or whatever . . . .”
See Stinnett v. Iron Works Gym/Executive Health Spa, Inc., 301 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir.
2002) (“Courts generally ignore attempts to patch-up potentially damaging
deposition testimony with a supplemental affidavit unless the party offers a
suitable explanation—e.g., confusion, mistake or lapse in memory—for the
Haney’s and Bergh’s deposition testimony, on the contrary, is supported
by the March 1, 2010 Chase Human Resources document which referenced the
“business need for the change” in Randle’s teller hours at the Wisconsin Plaza
branch and that Randle would be offered the opportunity to work full-time at the
Knoxville branch. While she testified during her deposition that Davis’s and
Haney’s hours were not cut, the undisputed evidence shows that Davis and
Haney were salaried employees. In other words, no pretext can be gleaned from
this fact where Davis and Haney were not similarly situated to her as they were
not tellers and were not hourly employees. 7
Moreover, as the Defendants point out, Randle was offered an opportunity
to transfer to the Knoxville branch into a full-time position. Randle does not
point to any record evidence that contradicts the March 1, 2010 Chase Human
Her statement in her Affidavit that “the location
[Defendants] tried to transfer me to was the Knoxville branch and the only
position available to me was a twenty (20) per week [sic] branch” is, again, selfserving and without factual support in the record. Even if the Court were to
consider that statement, it is only a scintilla of evidence which is insufficient to
successfully oppose a summary judgment motion. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
It was Randle who turned down the opportunity to transfer when offered to do
As discussed above, the Defendants effectively conceded the fourth element of Randle’s prima facie case.
Nevertheless, this evidence was properly presented by the Defendants to support their summary
so again in 2011 given her complaints about Haney and Davis. During her
deposition, Randle testified:
[B]ut I know that Greg [Haney] and Sandi [Bergh] both also tried to
get me to transfer. And like I told Sandi and Greg and the other
parties that tried to get me to transfer and even Paul Pendler [vice
president of employee assistance and work life program at Chase]
we talked about it, and like I told them, I was here four years before
these two individuals arrived. Okay. So if they didn’t want to work
with me or work with a black individual or whatever the situation
may be, I’m not going anywhere. And I had built a reputation at
that branch [Wisconsin Plaza]. I had strong communication and
trust out of my customers and my customers adored me, and they
would even come in and bring they kids in to see me even not on
banking days. And like I told them, I’m not – I’m not leaving. That
was my reason.
Dft’s MSJ, Randle Dep. (Doc. 89-1 at pgs. 24-25). “A purely lateral transfer, that
is, a transfer that does not involve a demotion in form or substance, cannot rise to
the level of a materially adverse employment action.”
Lavalais v. Village of
Melorse Park, 734 F.3d 629, 634 (7th Cir. 2013). Here, the weight of evidence
provides that Randle was offered simply a lateral transfer to the Knoxville
If a lateral transfer such as that cannot be considered a materially
adverse employment action, then, certainly, the refusal to accept such a transfer
cannot be considered as such.
Randle offers no argument in opposition to Defendants’ that the verbal
reprimand she received for the volume of unproven complaints she made against
Davis and Haney did not amount to an adverse employment action.
Accordingly, the Court finds Randle has conceded that point.
therefore finds that Randle has failed to present evidence sufficient to defeat the
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment on her claim of race discrimination
for the discrete adverse employment actions of the reduction in her work hours
and the reprimand she received for her unproven complaints against Davis and
Randle, however, also alleges that she was subjected to a hostile work
environment because of her race. See Herrnreither, 315 F.3d at 745 (explaining
that an “adverse employment action” falls into a third group of cases where the
“harassment-mistreatment of an employee by coworkers or supervisors is
sufficiently severe to worsen substantially [her] conditions of employment as
they would be perceived by a reasonable person in the position of the
employee”). To survive summary judgment on a hostile work environment
claim, a plaintiff must prove four elements: 1) the plaintiff’s workplace was both
subjectively and objectively offensive; 2) the plaintiff’s race was the cause of the
harassment; 3) the harassment was severe or pervasive; and 4) there is a basis for
employer liability. Williams v. Waste Mgmt. of Ill., 361 F.3d 1021, 1029 (7th Cir.
2004); Milligan-Grimstad v. Stanley, 877 F.3d 705, 714 (7th Cir. 2017).
Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals considered a hostile work
environment claim where some of the plaintiff’s allegations fell outside of the
statute of limitations. Milligan-Grimstad, 877 F.3d at 712. The Seventh Circuit
explained that as a result, its analysis proceeded in two parts: first, the court had
to determine which allegations survived the statute of limitations; and second,
the court asked whether the allegations that did survive could prove a hostile
work environment. Id. This Court will proceed with Randle’s hostile work
environment claim in like manner.
Randle filed her first IDHR/EEOC claim on August 23, 2012. Thus, only
conduct that occurred after October 28, 2011 falls within the statute of limitations
as 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1) provides that a plaintiff must file a charge within 300
days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred. However, as the
Milligan-Grimstad court explained, the statute of limitations does not bar the
court from considering conduct that occurred several years before “so long as it
formed a single unlawful employment practice that reached into the statutory
period.” 877 F.3d at 712. The Defendants argue that they should be granted
summary judgment on the alleged acts of discrimination that occurred on
October 28, 2011 or earlier. Randle counters that all of the alleged discriminatory
acts may be considered as timely pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in
Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101 (2002).
In that case, the
Supreme Court explained that a discrete retaliatory or discriminatory act
occurred on the day it happened. Id. at 110. The Supreme Court ultimately
concluded that “a charge alleging a hostile work environment claim . . . will not
be time barred so long as all acts which constitute the claim are part of the same
unlawful employment practice and at least one act falls within the time period.”
Id. at 122. Still, “[w]hen it is evident long before the plaintiff sues that she was
the victim of actionable harassment, she cannot reach back and base her suit on
conduct that occurred outside the statute of limitations.” Hardin v. S.C. Johnson &
Son, Inc., 167 F.3d 340, 344 (7th Cir. 1999).
Randle’s own allegations and the evidence she has presented reveal that it
was evident to her long before she sued that she believed she was a victim of
actionable harassment. See Hardin, 167 F.3d at 344 (stating that the continuing
violation doctrine has delineated limits and a plaintiff cannot reach back and
base her suit on conduct that occurred outside the statute of limitations).
According to her own evidence, soon after their arrival to the Wisconsin Plaza
branch, Haney and Davis directed their ire at Randle. Randle complained in
March of 2010 to Bergh about a birthday card Randle received from Haney which
Randle believed mocked her race. Plf’s Third Amended Complaint, ¶ 17. In July
2010, Randle was referred to Chase’s HR manager to investigate Randle’s
complaints. Id. at ¶ 19. Again in January 2011, Randle contacted Bergh about
“continuing harassment” by Haney. Id. at ¶ 21. On January 14, 2011, Randle
wrote a letter to Chase’s CEO regarding the “inappropriate behavior” by Davis
and Haney. Id. at ¶ 23. Randle continued to reach out to others at Chase before
October 28, 2011 to complain of Davis’s and Haney’s treatment of her. Id. at ¶¶
27, 28, 32. Accordingly, as the plaintiff in Hardin, Randle cannot reach back and
rely on evidence occurring prior to October 28, 2011 and so her hostile work
environment claim must stand or fall on conduct that occurred after October 28,
2011. See Hardin, 167 F.3d at 345 (concluding that the plaintiff’s Title VII claims
for racial and sexual harassment would have to stand or fall on conduct limited
to the limitations period alone without consideration of evidence occurring prior
to 300 days before she filed her complaint with the state agency where her
evidence made apparent she believed she was a victim of harassment long before
she filed her complaint).
In their brief, the Defendants identify the allegations of Randle’s Third
Amended Complaint and statements during her deposition which fall within the
limitations period (post-October 28, 2011). Dft’s MSJ (Doc. 89 at pgs. 12-13).
Those allegations include that Haney raised his hand in a position to slap Randle,
Haney reduced Randle’s hours to 28 hours per week, Davis threw a round
buckle at Randle’s arm, Davis and Haney put prints of penises on her window at
work, and Davis and Haney vandalized Randle’s car. During her deposition,
Randle testified that Davis and Haney broke into her house three times to scratch
up her furniture, steal her clothes, and either cut up her wigs or dye them
different colors and then replaced them. She also testified that Davis and Haney
pulled up her privacy fence, put holes in her swimming pool, spread “green
stuff” on her carpets, and carved her ceiling trim. The Defendants assert that
Randle offers no corroborating evidence for those allegations and she admitted
that during that period of time she experienced hallucinations to a degree that
she had to miss work and take medication to deal with the hallucinations.
Defendants also argue that there is no evidence to show the claimed acts were
The Court does not find that Randle has presented evidence sufficient to
create a material dispute that her race was the cause of the harassment she
alleges occurred at the Wisconsin Plaza branch during the limitations period.
Randle maintains that she was “subjected to a pattern of abuse and
discrimination that she alone was subjected to which caused her to suffer severe
physical and mental health issues which caused her to be unable to work and
that caused her to be fired.” Plf’s Resp. (Doc. 91 at pg. 10). The evidence she
presents to defeat summary judgment includes her treating psychologist’s
deposition testimony in which Dr. Mary Papandria, Ph.D opined that Randle’s
depressive disorder with psychotic features evidencing paranoia and visual
hallucinations was caused by her work environment. Id. at pg. 8.
While the complained of conduct need not have been explicitly sexual or
racial in order to create a hostile work environment, the complained of conduct
must have had a racial character or purpose to support a Title VII claim. Hardin,
167 F.3d at 345. Though Dr. Papandria testified that she believed Randle’s race
or gender caused the harassment she complained of at work, the Court does not
find such evidence admissible (as Defendants argue) on the question of whether
Randle was subjected to the conduct after October 28, 2011 because of her race.
Under Daubert v. Merrell Down Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a district court must first
determine whether the expert’s testimony pertains to scientific knowledge, and
second, the district court must determine whether the evidence or testimony
assists the trier of fact in understanding the evidence or in determining a fact in
issue. O’Conner v. Commw. Edison Co., 13 F.3d 1090, 1106 (7th Cir. 1994), citing
Daubert, 509 U.S. 579 (1993).
Dr. Papandria’s expert testimony does not satisfy the Daubert standard.
The Defendants correctly argue that Dr. Papandria formulated her opinion based
upon Randle’s subjective statements about her work environment. While the
Court has no reason to question Dr. Papandria’s credentials to treat patients such
as Randle, her testimony that race or gender discrimination was occurring at
Randle’s work to cause Randle to experience severe emotional issues amounts to
subjective belief and is not substantiated by anything other than what Randle
told her. During her deposition, Dr. Papandria testified:
Did she relate to you any issues that she felt was being
directed against her due to her race?
Going back to the history as you continued to see her, did you
have the impression that this harassment started out, let’s say, as her
co-employees playing practical jokes on her?
Mr. Hills: Objection. Speculation.
Do you have any opinion or reference to that?
Well, you know, my clinical opinion is based on what she told
me, and my impression of what she felt was that they had
something against her and she thought possible because of her race
and that they were determined to ruin her life, drive her crazy, cause
her to be unable to work . . . .
But is it your opinion that this [Randle’s delusion] was caused
by harassment at work . . .?
Yes . . . And from some of the things that she told me,
definitely I would say there was harassment either based on her race
or gender that was occurring at work and to a severity in her
experience that caused her to have these emotional issues . . . .
Plf’s Resp., Dr. Papandria Dep. (Doc. 91-2 at pgs. 10, 15, 46-47) (emphasis added).
Moreover, there is nothing in her deposition to indicate that Dr. Papandria’s
opinions were formed based upon just those allegations falling within the statute
of limitations in this case. For that reason as well, Dr. Papandria’s opinion on
race as the cause of Randle’s harassment at work is inadmissible. In the end,
after drawing all justifiable inferences from the evidence and allegations Randle
presents, the complained of conduct, at most, shows that Haney and Davis did
not get along with Randle. The conduct was neither explicitly nor inherently
racial in character.
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently clarified that the test in such
a case as this “is simply whether the evidence would permit a reasonable
factfinder to conclude that the plaintiff’s race . . . caused the discharge or other
adverse employment action.” David, 846 F.3d at 224, quoting Ortiz v. Werner
Enters., Inc., 834 F.3d 760 (7th Cir. 2016). The evidence in this case, as set forth
above, would not permit a reasonable factfinder to conclude that Randle’s race
caused the hostile work environment she alleges she experienced. Summary
judgment must therefore be granted in the Defendants’ favor on Randle’s hostile
work environment claim.
Having concluded that Chase is entitled to summary judgment on the
federal claim in this case, the Court turns to the question of whether it should
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining claims in this case, which
all arise under Illinois law. The basis for the Court’s subject matter jurisdiction in
this case is 28 U.S.C. § 1331, which grants federal district courts original
jurisdiction over cases “arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the
United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1331. This jurisdiction stems from Count I of the
Complaint. The Court’s jurisdiction over all other claims lies in its supplemental
jurisdiction, which is codified in 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), whereby the jurisdiction of a
federal district court is extended to all claims that are so related to a claim within
the court’s original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or
controversy within the meaning of Article III of the Constitution. See City of Chi.
v. Int’l Coll. Of Surgeons, 522 U.S. 156, 164-65 (1997), citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Although Section 1367 authorizes federal courts to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over state-law claims, this does not mean that federal courts must
exercise jurisdiction in all cases. See Int’l Coll. of Surgeons, 522 U.S. at 172. Rather,
supplemental jurisdiction is “a doctrine of discretion, not of plaintiff’s right[.]”
Id. Section 1367(c) permits a district court to decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction for various reasons, including that the court has dismissed the claims
over which it had original jurisdiction. Sanchez & Daniels v. Koresko, 503 F.3d 610,
614-15 (7th Cir. 2007), citing 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). After a court has disposed of all
the claims that gave it jurisdiction originally, a court must choose the course that
best serves the principles of economy, convenience, fairness, and comity which
underlie the supplemental jurisdiction doctrine. Id. at 615.
In the interests of comity, the Court declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the remaining state law claims. Those claims involve factual
and legal questions sufficiently different from the federal claims raised in this
case. Simply put, the state court should handle state law claims. The Court is
aware of the exception to the general rule that the court relinquish jurisdiction of
a state law claim if an interpretation of state law that knocks out the plaintiff’s
claim is obviously correct such that the federal court should retain and decide it.
Groce v. Eli Lilly & Co., 193 F.3d 496, 502 n.7 (7th Cir. 1999), citing Van Harken v.
City of Chi., 103 F.3d 1346, 1354 (7th Cir. 1997). Here, the Court had no occasion
to interpret state law as applied to Randle’s claim for IIED against Defendant
Chase; rather, Randle simply conceded that she could not maintain a separate
action for IIED against Chase over the very same incidents upon which her racial
discrimination claim was based. This Court only goes so far as to acknowledge
that Randle conceded the futility of her claim for IIED against Chase. To go a
step further and consider her claims for IIED against the individual Defendants
is to go beyond what this Court considers proper as constrained by 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c). See also Sanchez, 503 F.3d at 615 (reiterating the “well-established law of
this circuit [Seventh] that the usual practice is to dismiss without prejudice state
supplemental claims whenever all federal claims have been dismissed prior to
trial”), citing Groce, 193 F.3d at 501.
All remaining claims are accordingly dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
For the reasons stated above, the Defendants’ Motion for Summary
Judgment on Count I (race discrimination) is GRANTED. All other counts of the
Third Amended Complaint are DISMISSED without prejudice.
This case is
It is so ordered.
Entered on February 13, 2018.
s/Jonathan E. Hawley
U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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