Joseph S. McGreal, Plaintiff-Appellant,
The Village of Orland Park, Timothy McCarthy, Patrick Duggan, and James Bianchi, Defendants-Appellees.
December 8, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 12 C 5135 - Joan
H. Lefkow, Judge.
Manion, Kanne, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
28, 2010, Joseph McGreal was fired from his position as a
police officer with the Orland Park Police Department.
Thereafter, he sued the Village of Orland Park and three
members of the police department-Chief of Police Timothy
McCarthy, Lieutenant Patrick Duggan, and Lieutenant James
Bianchi-claiming that the defendants violated his First
Amendment rights by firing him in retaliation for his
exercise of protected speech at a community board meeting. He
also brought a state-law
intentional-infliction-of-emotional-distress claim. The
defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, which the
district court granted.
appeal ultimately comes down to evidence, or perhaps more
appropriately, a lack of it. Because McGreal has offered no
admissible evidence showing that he is entitled to relief,
the district court properly dismissed his claims.
began working as a police officer in the Village of Orland
Park on January 10, 2005. Early in his career, McGreal
performed competently: he received positive reviews on his
performance evaluations and was nominated for various
commendations and other honors. But conflict between McGreal
and the police department arose in 2009, which culminated in
McGreal's firing on June 28, 2010.
alleges that he was fired because of his exercise of
protected speech at a village board meeting held on November
2, 2009. The village had called that meeting to discuss
options to address an anticipated budgetary shortfall. One of
the cost-saving options that the village proposed involved
laying off as many as seven full-time police officers.
McGreal, who had been elected secretary of the local police
union in 2008, contends that he attended the meeting on
behalf of the union. There, he allegedly presented three
alternative solutions, none of which required the laying off
of any full-time officers: (1) eliminating certain
newly-created, non-essential positions; (2) eliminating the
take-home squadcar program for certain lieutenant positions;
and (3) creating a new longevity-benefit program that would
allow eligible officers to take early retirement. McGreal
contends that those solutions, which protected lower-level
police officers at the expense of their superiors, drew the
ire of the defendants. According to McGreal, the defendants
then retaliated against him because of his speech by
accusing, interrogating, and ultimately firing him under the
pretext of unsubstantiated violations of department policy.
defendants, on the other hand, deny knowing that McGreal
engaged in any protected speech or even attended the November
2 board meeting. Instead, they argue that McGreal was
legitimately fired because of a series of incidents that
occurred in late 2009 and early 2010, none of which involved
any protected speech.
first incident occurred on October 27, 2009. That evening,
McGreal conducted a traffic stop of a man named Charles
Robson, which McGreal's in-squad video camera recorded.
Because McGreal turned his microphone off shortly after
placing Robson in handcuffs, the police department questioned
whether the stop had been performed properly. The defendants
also allege that McGreal initially refused to write a report
for the stop and even lied under oath about what occurred
during the stop. The department conducted an investigation of
the stop and its aftermath on November 23, 2009.
defendants next contend that McGreal committed several acts
of misconduct shortly after the November 2 board meeting.
These included two unauthorized, unnecessary, and dangerous
high-speed chases. The defendants also point to McGreal's
behavior at an awards banquet on November 24, 2009, during
which McGreal allegedly ostracized a fellow officer who had
been honored as the Officer of the Year. The defendants
further allege that McGreal continued this inappropriate
behavior during his shift that same evening after the
of these and other incidents, the department interrogated
McGreal on January 21, 2010. Specifically, they questioned
McGreal under oath about his actions during the Robson
traffic stop, the awards ceremony, and his shift immediately
following the awards ceremony. The defendants allege that
McGreal lied during the interrogation about each of those
incidents. Afterward, the defendants contend that McGreal
committed several additional acts of misconduct, including
one instance of reckless driving while off duty.
March 5, 2010, the department placed McGreal on paid
administrative leave. McGreal's misconduct continued
after this date. The written order placing McGreal on leave
included a no-contact clause, which ordered McGreal "to
have no contact or discussion of any kind with any member of
this department, citizen or complainant regarding these
investigations." (R. 215-23 at 1.) According to the
defendants, McGreal violated the no-contact clause on at
least two occasions. The department interrogated McGreal
again on March 24, 2010. There, the defendants allege that
McGreal again lied under oath, claiming that he never
contacted anyone in the department about his case. The
department ordered him to provide his phone records to verify
his testimony, but McGreal refused, claiming that he was not
an authorized user on his telephone account and could not
obtain the records. The department then obtained the records
by subpoena, which revealed that McGreal had in fact
contacted at least ...