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Shampo v. Windstream Communications, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

June 8, 2017

RENE M. SHAMPO, Plaintiff,
v.
WINDSTREAM COMMUNICATIONS, LLC, Defendant.

          ORDER

          J. P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Court

         Plaintiff Rene M. Shampo (“Shampo”) filed this action against her former employer, complaining of sex discrimination and retaliation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See (Docket #1). On May 1, 2017, Defendant Windstream Communications, LLC (“Windstream”) filed a motion for summary judgment as to all of Shampo's claims. (Docket #15). Shampo did not oppose the motion in any fashion. For the reasons stated below, it will be granted.

         1. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court “shall grant summary judgment 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 Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). The court must not weigh the evidence presented or determine credibility of witnesses; the Seventh Circuit instructs that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.” Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).

         2. RELEVANT FACTS

         2.1 Plaintiff's Failure to Dispute the Material Facts

         The relevant facts are undisputed because Shampo filed absolutely nothing in response to Windstream's motion for summary judgment. Pursuant Civil Local Rule 56, her deadline to do so was May 31, 2017. See Civ. L. R. 56(b). That Rule warns that “[t]he Court will deem uncontroverted statements of material fact admitted solely for the purpose of deciding summary judgment.” Id. 56(b)(4). Similarly, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that a party seeking to dispute an asserted fact must cite to specific materials in the record which support such a dispute. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). If the party fails to do so, the Rule permits the court to deem the fact undisputed. Id. 56(e)(2).

         These rules provide for the orderly disposition of cases “by ensuring that the proposed findings of fact are in a form that permits the district court to analyze the admissible evidence supporting particular factual propositions and determine precisely what facts, if any, are material and disputed.” Schmidt v. Eagle Waste & Recycling, Inc., 599 F.3d 626, 630 (7th Cir. 2010). They are not “hyper-technical” and they do not turn litigation into a game of skill. Id. Instead, they provide “plain instructions” designed to “assist the court by organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and. . .imposing some discipline on the pretrial process.” Markham v. White, 172 F.3d 486, 490 (7th Cir. 1999).

         In reviewing applications of a district court's local summary judgment rules, the Seventh Circuit has “repeatedly held that requiring strict compliance with [such rules] is not an abuse of the district court's discretion.” Zoretic v. Darge, 832 F.3d 639, 641 (7th Cir. 2016); Anders v. Waste Mgmt. of Wis., 463 F.3d 670, 671-72 (7th Cir. 2006). Indeed, even in cases brought by pro se plaintiffs, in which the Court must liberally construe the plaintiff's filings, the Court is entitled to strictly enforce the rules regarding summary judgment procedure. See Hill v. Thalacker, 210 F. App'x 513, 515 (7th Cir. 2006). For a party represented by counsel, enforcement of these rules goes without saying.

         Shampo and her counsel totally ignored the summary judgment rules. The Court need not and will not take on the mantle of resisting Windstream's motion on her behalf. See Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003); Herman v. City of Chicago, 870 F.2d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 1989) (“A district court need not scour the record to make the case of a party who does nothing.”). Consequently, the Court deems admitted each of Windstream's statements of material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Civ. L. R. 56(b)(4); (Docket #17) (Windstream's statement of material facts).

         2.2 Facts Material to the Disposition of Defendant's Motion

         Because Shampo has failed to dispute Windstream's proffered facts, the Court will summarize only those facts necessary to the disposition of Windstream's motion, viewing them in the light most favorable to Shampo.

         Shampo was employed by Windstream as an Account Manager 2/Senior Account Manager for just over two years, starting in August 2012. In this capacity, she generally performed sales and customer service work. She worked at the company's Brookfield, Wisconsin location. When she started at Windstream, she was provided a copy of the company's employee handbook, which requires employees to report sexual harassment to Human Resources or the employee's immediate supervisor.

         Her employment with Windstream had a difficult start, as Shampo did not always see eye-to-eye with her supervisor, Diane Shelton (“Shelton”). Shelton cited Shampo for misconduct on numerous occasions, including counseling Shampo after engaging in unprofessional conduct with a customer and issuing Shampo a written warning for insubordinate and disrespectful behavior. Shampo thought that Shelton was intentionally ...


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