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POMMIER v. JAMES L. EDELSTEIN ENTERPRISES

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION


May 14, 1993

JENNIFER POMMIER, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES L. EDELSTEIN ENTERPRISES, a/k/a JLE ENTERPRISES and formerly d/b/a ILLINOIS WINE AND SPIRITS; FEDERATED INDUSTRIES; FEDERATED DISTRIBUTORS; MICHAEL SHKOLER; MICHAEL STENSON and DAVID YENGLIN, Defendants.

ASPEN

The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 On March 9, 1993, this court (1) granted summary judgment in favor of defendants Michael Shkoler, Michael Stenson and David Yenglin on plaintiff Jennifer Pommier's Title VII claims contained in Counts I, III and IV of her complaint, and (2) dismissed Count II of Pommier's complaint against Yenglin in his individual capacity. Pommier v. James L. Edelstein Enters., No. 92-7685, slip op. at 14 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 9, 1992). In so doing, we held that neither Title VII nor the Equal Pay Act permits suit against corporate supervisors or management level officers in their individual capacities. Id., slip op. at 7-9. Pommier now moves the court for reconsideration of this legal issue and, as explained below, the motion is denied.

 In support of her motion for reconsideration, Pommier cites Marshall v. Allen, 984 F.2d 787 (7th Cir. 1993), and Riordan v. Kempiners, 831 F.2d 690 (7th Cir. 1987), for the proposition that corporate supervisors and management level officers may be held liable in their individual capacities under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. Pommier's reliance upon these cases, however, is misplaced.

 In Marshall, the Seventh Circuit confronted an interlocutory appeal from a district court order denying summary judgment on a claim of qualified immunity. Id. at 789. In denying defendants' assertion of qualified immunity with respect to plaintiff's Title VII and Equal Pay Act claims, the district court reasoned:

 

Since both statutes expressly define employers as including agents, it is doubtful that a Seventh Circuit decision was necessary to clarify established law. In any event, it is irrelevant to the determination of qualified immunity whether it was clearly established that supervisors could be held liable under the two statutes . . . . Defendants make no argument that the rights violated, that is the substantive provisions of Title VII and the Pay Act, were not clearly established as of the time of the alleged wrongdoing. Regardless of whether the individual defendants would have reasonably known they could be held personally liable under the two statutes, it was clearly established at the time that the two statutes applied to the CHA. Therefore, the established law would have made clear to the individual defendants that the actions they allegedly took were unlawful and not objectively reasonable in that they were acting in violation of the two statutes. Defendants' actions were objectively unreasonable even if they only thought they could be subjecting CHA to liability, not themselves as well.

 Marshall v. Chicago Housing Authority, 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5291, at *11-12 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 18, 1991) (Hart, J.). On appeal, plaintiff-appellee requested that the Seventh Circuit dismiss his Title VII and Equal Pay Act claims insofar as they sought relief from the individual defendants-appellants. Marshall, 984 F.2d at 793 n.3. Absent an agreement among the parties on the matter of costs, the Seventh Circuit denied the motion for voluntary dismissal. Id. Rather than address the merits of defendants-appellants' contention that supervisors may not be held personally liable under either Title VII or the Equal Pay Act, however, the court rejected defendant-appellants' arguments as beyond the limited scope of its appellate jurisdiction. Id. In the absence of a substantive discussion on the matter, we will not infer from the consequences of remand for trial in Marshall that the Seventh Circuit condones personal liability for corporate supervisors under either Title VII or the Equal Pay Act.

 Likewise, the court in Riordan did not expressly hold that corporate supervisors may be held personally liable under the Equal Pay Act. To be sure, the court in Riordan did state that plaintiffs may name employees of the corporation under the Equal Pay Act, provided that the named employees had supervisory authority over the complaining employee. Riordan, 831 F.2d at 694. Nonetheless, the court did not distinguish between personal and official liability. And, Riordan was emphatic in insisting that his Equal Pay Act complaint was against the supervising employee in his official capacity. Id. at 694-95.

 In sum, neither Marshall nor Riordan compels a holding that corporate supervisors may be held personally liable under either Title VII or the Equal Pay Act. That disagreement over this issue exists within the Northern District of Illinois is insufficient to warrant reconsideration in the instant case. Accordingly, Pommier's motion for reconsideration is denied. It is so ordered.

 MARVIN E. ASPEN

 United States District Judge

 Dated May 14, 1993

19930514

© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.



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