given the liberal pleading standards of Rule 8 we cannot dismiss Briggs's claim at this point. See Leatherman, 113 S. Ct. at 1163.
However, we do not believe that Briggs can prevail against NSSD by baldly alleging that Hawn and Farrell had final policymaking authority at the NSSD.
To be sure, the identification of policymaking officials is a question of state law which normally requires us to review "the relevant legal materials, including state and local positive law, as well as "'custom or usage having force of law.'" Jett v. Dallas Indep. School Dist., 491 U.S. 701, 737, 105 L. Ed. 2d 598, 109 S. Ct. 2702 (1989) (quoting St. Louis v. Praprotnik, 485 U.S. 112, 124 n.1, 99 L. Ed. 2d 107, 108 S. Ct. 915 (1988)). However, even if Hawn, as a member of the Board of Trustees, could exercise sufficient policymaking authority to implicate the NSSD, there is no allegation by Briggs that Hawn took any unconstitutional action against her. At best, Briggs asks us to infer from Hawn's statements to Urban League representatives that he was responsible for the conditions of her employment and her eventual termination. However, without an actual allegation by Briggs that Hawn was somehow involved in her adverse employment conditions, we cannot see how Briggs can proceed against the NSSD by pointing to Hawn's policymaking authority. Similarly, Briggs has failed to allege any basis for concluding that Farrell was a policymaker at the NSSD. "It is true that a single act or decision of a final policymaker can establish municipal policy. A necessary corollary of this point, however, is that it must first be alleged adequately that a defendant is a final policymaker." Baxter by Baxter, 26 F.3d at 735 (citation omitted). Nowhere in the complaint does Briggs allege that Farrell had such authority, and we decline to accept her suggestion that we infer such authority on her part. Accordingly, while we decline to dismiss Count I against NSSD, we conclude that Briggs may only proceed against the NSSD by proving that the alleged acts of discrimination she suffered were part of a long-established and widespread practice that must have been known by the policymakers at the NSSD.
B. Qualified Immunity for the Individual Defendants
The individual defendants next argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity on Count I. However, governmental officials may claim qualified immunity only "insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known." Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818, 73 L. Ed. 2d 396, 102 S. Ct. 2727 (1982). Assuming the veracity of the complaint--as we must at this stage--the individual defendants are alleged to have demeaned the plaintiff, hung a likeness of a black child by a noose in the office for months, failed to train the plaintiff, and caused her to be terminated, all because of her race. The defendants make no argument as to how such conduct would be protected by qualified immunity, and we can imagine none. Accordingly, we decline to dismiss Count I against the individual defendants.
C. Individual Liability Under Title VII and ADA
The individual defendants next seek dismissal of Counts II, III and V, arguing that individuals who do not otherwise meet the definition of an "employer" cannot be held liable under Title VII or the ADA. Williams v. Banning, 72 F.3d 552, 1995 U.S. App. LEXIS 36367, slip op. at 4-7 (7th Cir. 1995) (interpreting Title VII as not permitting suits against individual supervisors); EEOC v. AIC Sec. Investigations, Ltd., 55 F.3d 1276, 1279-82 (7th Cir. 1995) (same interpretation of ADA). Perhaps realizing the futility of her claims, Briggs does not even respond to the argument. We agree with the individual defendants that they cannot be held liable under Title VII or the ADA, and accordingly grant their motion to dismiss them from Counts II, III, and V.
D. Conspiracy to Violate Civil Rights
The defendants next challenge the legal sufficiency of Count IV, in which the plaintiff alleges that they engaged in a conspiracy to deprive her of her constitutional right to equal protection, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985(3). "To prevail under § 1985(3), a plaintiff must prove, first, that the defendants conspired; second, that they did so for the purpose of depriving any person or class of persons the equal protection of the laws; and third, that the plaintiff was injured by an act done in furtherance of the conspiracy." Hartman v. Board of Trustees of Community College Dist. No. 508, 4 F.3d 465, 469 (7th Cir. 1993) (citing Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 102-03, 29 L. Ed. 2d 338, 91 S. Ct. 1790 (1971)). However, the intra-corporate conspiracy doctrine precludes the imposition of liability under § 1985(3) against "managers of a corporation jointly pursuing its lawful business . . . when acts within the scope of their employment are said to be discriminatory or retaliatory." Travis v. Gary Community Mental Health Center, Inc., 921 F.2d 108, 110 (7th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 812, 116 L. Ed. 2d 36, 112 S. Ct. 60 (1991); Dombrowski v. Dowling, 459 F.2d 190, 196 (7th Cir. 1972) (Stevens, J.).
Although the doctrine was initially applied to private parties, it has since been extended to individual members of a single governmental entity as well. Wright v. Illinois Dept. of Children & Family Servs., 40 F.3d 1492, 1508 (7th Cir. 1994); Hartman, 4 F.3d at 470-71. Thus, where a governmental entity is characterized as a "single 'center of social or economic influence,'" its members fall under the intra-corporate conspiracy doctrine. Wright, 40 F.3d at 1508 (quoting Travis, 921 F.2d at 110, and Dombrowski, 459 F.2d at 196); see Allen, 828 F. Supp. at 564.
In this case, the defendants are alleged to have agreed to deprive Briggs of her rights under the Equal Protection Clause, and to have carried out this plan by failing to train her properly, giving her outdated test samples, and directing her to follow improper procedures that led to her termination. Second Compl. Count IV PP 56-58. All the defendants are employees or supervisors at NSSD, and thus Briggs cannot claim that they "conspired" with themselves to violate her constitutional rights. See Allen, 828 F. Supp. at 564 (holding that mayor, commissioner, and aldermen are all members of the City of Chicago municipal corporation, and thus not "people" capable of conspiring with each other for purposes of § 1985(3)).
Accordingly, Count IV is dismissed.
E. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
Finally, the defendants seek dismissal of Count VI, alleging a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Under Illinois law--which the parties agree controls this portion of their dispute--there are three elements to a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress:
First, the conduct involved must be truly extreme and outrageous. Second, the actor must either intend that his conduct inflict severe emotional distress, or know that there is at least a high probability that this conduct will cause severe emotional distress. Third, the conduct must in fact cause severe emotional distress.
Harriston v. Chicago Tribune Co., 992 F.2d 697, 702 (7th Cir. 1993) (quoting McGrath v. Fahey, 126 Ill. 2d 78, 533 N.E.2d 806, 809, 127 Ill. Dec. 724 (Ill. 1988)) (emphasis in original). Defendants first argue that the complaint does not meet the "high standard for extreme and outrageous conduct" required in Illinois, Jaskowski v. Rodman & Renshaw, Inc., 813 F. Supp. 1359, 1363 (N.D. Ill. 1993). We agree in part. For example, Briggs claims that she suffered extreme emotional distress and anguish because of the hanging pickaninny doll in her office, her subjection to racial slurs, her exclusion from office social activities, her placement on probation, and the refusal by the defendants to train her properly. Second Compl. Count VI PP 56-61. While such conduct is deplorable, under Illinois law it cannot provide the basis for a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. See Harriston, 92 F.2d at 703 (affirming dismissal of claim by plaintiff that she was, among other things, reprimanded for no reason, forced out of a management position, excluded from office activities, not advised of changes in office policies, and falsely accused of poor sales); Piech v. Arthur Andersen & Co. S.C., 841 F. Supp. 825, 831-32 (N.D. Ill. 1994) (holding sexual harassment claim insufficient under Illinois law, and collecting cases of sufficiently extreme behavior): Jaskowski, 813 F. Supp. at 1363 (holding that sexual discrimination and sexual harassment claims did not state claim under Illinois law).
However, the plaintiff also alleges that she was exposed to toxic mercury fumes for more than eight hours because Favero and Piotrowski turned off the exhaust fan in her lab area. Second Compl. Count VI P 62. She claims that she suffered headaches and lung damage because of the incident, as well as severe emotional distress. Id. P 43, Count VI PP 56, 63. We cannot conclude as a matter of law that such conduct was not extreme and outrageous enough under Illinois law.
Accordingly, we grant the motion to dismiss Count VI, except with regard to the allegation that defendants Favero and Piotrowski intentionally exposed Briggs to harmful mercury fumes.
For the reasons set forth above, the defendants' motion to dismiss the Second Amended Complaint is granted in part and denied in part. It is so ordered.
MARVIN E. ASPEN
United States District Judge