* Hannah Meisel at the Daily Line…
Depositions ordered in a discrimination case lodged against JB Pritzker’s 2018 campaign for governor will be limited per the request of Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton, according to a four-page order filed last week in the case by a federal judge.
Pritzker will not have to sit for a deposition, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cummings ruled, agreeing with the governor’s argument that he as an individual had already been dismissed from the case, and that he did not have “unique personal knowledge” of the dispute in the lawsuit.
Stratton’s interview will be limited to three hours “and to questions only related to the defamation issue,” according to the order. Stratton was sued for defamation as part of the suit brought in the waning weeks of the 2018 campaign by Maxwell Little and nine other campaign workers who alleged racial discrimination in the campaign environment.
* Looks like the plaintiffs over-reached. From the order…
The factors that govern whether a high-level official should be deposed show that Governor Pritzker should not be required to sit for an oral deposition. The record strongly suggests that Pritzker – who is no longer a party to this case – does not have unique personal knowledge of the events that plaintiffs allege. The campaign employed approximately 200 individuals across 34 offices in Illinois. The campaign’s manager Quentin Fulks states in his declaration that an email address was created to which employees could send their employment- related concerns. The address forwarded these emails to “certain” campaign employees whom Fulks does not identify but not to Pritzker or Stratton. Pritzker and Stratton also lacked daily supervisory responsibilities; instead, five non-senior campaign employees supervised the campaign’s field organizers.
Plaintiffs have made no showing of why Pritzker should be deposed given these facts. Plaintiffs claim that plaintiff Eric Chaney “attempted” to talk to Pritzker about his employment complaints at an unidentified point in the campaign but Pritzker “immediately walked off.” Pritzker’s responsiveness, however, is not relevant to the apex analysis; rather, the issue is whether he had unique knowledge of the matter in question. Plaintiffs’ claim that Pritzker “walked off” instead of listening to Chaney’s complaint suggests that he does not.
Plaintiffs have also provided an unauthenticated news article reporting that unnamed campaign staff members voiced some discrimination complaints to Pritzker and Stratton when the candidates reached out at some point to African-American campaign workers. However, not only does this article fail to identify the persons involved, the content of their communication, or the length or conditions under which the communication took place, it actually undermines plaintiffs’ argument through its incorporation of denials by both Pritzker and Stratton that anyone ever voiced to them concerns regarding racism and harassment.