United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
LAURA L. CHARTRAW, Plaintiff,
CITY OF SHAWANO and MARK KOHL, Defendants.
DECISION AND ORDER
William C. Griesbach, United States District Court Chief
Laura Chartraw filed suit against Defendants, the City of
Shawano and its former Chief of Police Mark Kohl, under Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000
et seq., for discriminating against her based on her
sex and then retaliating against her when she complained.
Because the claims arise under federal law, this court has
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. The case is now
before the court on Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. Also before the court is Chartraw's motion for
leave to file a sur-reply in opposition to Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. Chartraw's motion for leave
to file a sur-reply will be granted, but it does not help her
case. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to
her, the evidence she offers could not support a verdict in
her favor. Defendants' motion for summary judgment will
therefore also be granted.
Chartraw has been employed by the City of Shawano as a
clerical specialist for the Shawano Police Department since
1998. Pl.'s Proposed Findings of Fact (PPFOF) ¶ 1,
ECF No. 63. In 2003, then-Chief of Police Edward Whealon
promoted Chartraw to lead clerical specialist. Defs.'
Proposed Findings of Fact (DPFOF) ¶¶ 2, 4, ECF No.
49. As lead clerical specialist, Chartraw was the senior most
clerical person in the Department and the Chief's
secretary. Id. ¶ 2. She worked for four
different police chiefs in her role as a clerical specialist:
Norm John, from April 1998 to January 2001; Mark Kohl, from
January 2001 to August 2002; Edward Whealon, from August 2002
to April 2014; Mark Kohl, from April 2014 to April 2017; and
Dan Mauel, from April 2017 to the present. Id.
¶ 4. The Chief of Police is responsible for supervising
all police department employees, including the lieutenants,
police officers, community service officers (CSOs), and
clerical staff. PPFOF ¶ 4. At all times relevant to the
complaint, Mark Kohl was the Chief of Police. Id.
should be noted at the outset that the court's efforts to
determine the disputed and undisputed material facts of the
case have been unnecessarily complicated by the number of
personal opinions (she's a complainer; Attorney Kalny
found) and tendentious proposed facts and responses thereto
(see 96-page Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's
Proposed Findings of Fact) the parties have submitted. In
general, it is the admissible evidence of the material facts
of the case, not what someone else thought about what was in
someone's mind, that are key to deciding whether a motion
for summary judgment should be granted. What follows is the
court's attempt to set out, in the light most favorable
to the plaintiff, the undisputed material facts as gleaned
from the properly submitted evidentiary materials of the
alleges that she was subjected to a pattern of sexual
harassment beginning on some unspecified date after Kohl
became Chief of Police in April 2014. She then proceeds to
describe a series of incidents that she believes would
support a verdict in her favor. She alleges, for example,
that shortly after Kohl started his tenure at the Shawano
Police Department, he invited her to have pizza and watch a
movie with him, which she declined. PPFOF ¶ 15. Chartraw
acknowledges, however, that Chief Kohl made similar offers to
pick up dinner and a movie to whoever was present, regardless
of gender, and he never asked her to go on a date. DPFOF
contends that Chief Kohl also made inappropriate comments
about her appearance and the appearance of another female
employee, Officer NiCole Hoffmann. In February 2015, Kohl
noticed that Chartraw did not do anything with her hair and
asked her why she was not wearing any makeup. PPFOF ¶
17. At a later date, Kohl noted that Chartraw's hair
“looked like hell” and stated “women look
better with a smile and makeup on.” Id. ¶
18. In late-February or early-March 2015, Chief Kohl
described the boots Chartraw wore as “hooker
boots.” Id. ¶ 16. Chartraw was offended
by the comment and went to talk to him about it the following
week. Kohl joked about the comment and again stated that her
boots were “hooker” boots. Id. ¶
27. Chartraw complained to Lieutenants Musloff and Rabideau
about Chief Kohl's comments. Id. ¶ 20. In
April 2015, Chartraw told Chief Kohl and Lieutenant Mauel
that she did not appreciate the comments he made about her
appearance. Id. ¶ 28. Chartraw does not dispute
that after the meeting, Kohl did not comment on her
also concerned with comments she overheard Chief Kohl make
about NiCole Hoffmann. When discussing the Department's
vacant night shift position, a position Officer Hoffmann had
applied for, Chartraw overheard Chief Kohl state that he
would rather hire a “strong man” for the
position. Id. ¶ 21. The City eventually hired
Hoffmann as an officer, and Chartraw overheard Chief Kohl
comment that Hoffmann's chest was “too big and
jiggly” to fit a standard bulletproof vest.
Id. ¶ 22. The City ordered a custom vest for
Officer Hoffmann. DPFOF ¶ 74. Chartraw also claims she
overheard Chief Kohl make comments about Hoffmann's
“lesbian glasses” and her eating habits. She
asserts she never heard Chief Kohl make comments about male
employees' eating habits or weight. PPFOF ¶¶
24-25. In September 2015, Chartraw complained to Chief Kohl
about the comments he made about Officer Hoffmann. He
responded that Officer Hoffmann was “one of the
guys” and “can take it.” Id.
¶ 29. Chartraw stated his comments were “not
cool” and that other women can hear them. Id.
Chartraw asserts she was offended by Chief Kohl's
comments about women, these comments were part of an
unprofessional environment to which she also contributed. In
particular, Chartraw sent Chief Kohl lewd and inappropriate
emails. In April 2014, she wrote
I attached a list of our job duties.
Shall I order a large vat of lotion to ease the chaffing? I
figured with all the hinder licking you have received and
will continue to receive you may need it . . . also thinking
of getting one of those “take a number”
dispensers for outside your office . . .
- have a warm and wonderful day.
¶ 20. And on August 26, 2014, she summarized what had
occurred on a day Chief Kohl was out of the office:
According to Noah, this guy was just irate the cops showed
up, fucked up their fucking, and he lost his boner. You
don't even know what you've missed today.
further reports that she was the recipient of Kohl's rude
workplace behavior and angry outbursts but admits Kohl
treated male employees that he had conflicts with in a
Chief Kohl became upset when Chartraw told him she would not
be his “Confidential Secretary” and
“narc” on her coworkers, Kohl accused Chartraw of
“blowing the budget.” PPFOF ¶¶ 33, 39.
When Chartraw asked to meet with him to discuss his concerns,
he indicated that he did not want to meet with ...