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TRAINING INST., INC. v. CITY OF CHICAGO

August 19, 1996

THE TRAINING INSTITUTE, INC., Plaintiff/Appellant,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, RICHARD M. DALEY, MAYOR'S OFFICE OF EMPLOYMENT and TRAINING, MARY GONZALEZ KOENIG, Director of MET, and ALEXANDER GRZYB, Purchasing Agent for the City of Chicago, Defendants/Appellees.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 This matter is before the Court on appeal, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 73(d) and 74, from a judgment entered by United States Magistrate Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow dismissing the case on Defendants' motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b). For the reasons discussed below, Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision is affirmed.

 I. BACKGROUND

 A. Facts

 Plaintiff/Appellant, The Training Institute, Inc. (TTI), is a corporation wholly owned by a white male. *fn1" In prior years, TTI was awarded federally funded job training contracts -- pursuant to the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA), 29 U.S.C. § 1501 et seq. -- by Defendant/Appellee Mayor's Office of Employment and Training (MET), a department of Defendant/Appellee City of Chicago. Defendant/Appellee Mary Gonzalez Koenig is the Director of MET. Defendant/Appellee Alexander Grzyb is employed by the City of Chicago and is responsible for the implementation of the City's Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Procurement Program (M/WBEP Program).

 In April of 1992, two "Summer Youth" proposals submitted by TTI were denied funding by MET.

 In July of 1992, TTI submitted a proposal for funding of a "Public Safety Officer" training program for the 1992-93 year. The proposal received a rating of 90. Despite the high ranking, TTI's funding was decreased 70% from the prior year. Adept Security, a black-owned business, also submitted a "Public Safety Officer" training program proposal for the 1992-93 year. Adept Security's proposal was rated a 32. Despite the low ranking, Adept Security's funding was increased by 50% from the previous year.

 In April of 1993, MET announced that it would be issuing a Request For Proposal (RFP) regarding a "Career Center" contract. In the summer and fall of 1993, TTI expressed an interest in the contract and requested the "Career Center" RFP from MET. TTI did not receive the RFP as early as other competing entities. Due to the belated receipt of the RFP, TTI requested that MET extend the time to submit its proposal. MET refused. Despite the lack of adequate time to prepare the proposal, TTI submitted the second highest ranked proposal. The contract presumably went to another entity.

 In the spring of 1994, MET issued an RFP for the JTPA funding programs for the 1994-95 year. TTI submitted proposals to provide a "Public Safety Officer" training program, a "Low Voltage Wiring" training program, and a "Medical Billing Specialist" training program. MET rejected funding for all three of the proposals. MET informed TTI that the "Public Safety Officer" and "Low Voltage Wiring" training programs were not "demand occupations," thus, none of the entities offering training in these areas received contracts. Regarding the "Medical Billing Specialist" training program, MET informed TTI that it selected a company with more experience in the area.

 In January of 1995, TTI filed a grievance complaining of the circumstances surrounding the selection of the 1993 "Career Center" contract provider and TTI's failure to obtain funding for the 1994-95 year for the "Public Safety Officer," "Low Voltage Wiring," and "Medical Billing Specialist" training programs. A grievance hearing was held. The grievance was dismissed.

 B. The Complaint

 In August of 1995, TTI filed a complaint against Defendants. TTI instituted this matter under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that Defendants' conduct regarding the denial of funding for several of the proffered training programs violated its right to procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection. TTI also brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, claiming that it was discriminated against based on race regarding the circumstances surrounding the formation of some of the JTPA contracts. Finally, TTI challenged the constitutionality of the City's M/WBEP program, claiming that the M/WBEP program violates the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.

 C. Proceedings Before Magistrate Judge Lefkow

 Magistrate Judge Lefkow concluded that TTI's complaint did not state a claim under § 1983 for an infringement of the constitutional right of procedural due process, substantive due process, or equal protection. Regarding TTI's § 1981 claim, Magistrate Judge Lefkow concluded that it was barred by the applicable two-year statute of limitations. Finally, Magistrate Judge Lefkow determined that TTI lacked standing to challenge the constitutionality of the City's M/WBEP program. Accordingly, TTI's complaint was dismissed.

 II. DISCUSSION

 This matter is now before the Court on TTI's appeal of Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision dismissing the complaint. When reviewing Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision, this Court will be acting as an appellate court. Ben v. Burgess, 1996 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1785, No. 93 C 4683, WL 73598 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 16, 1996). Thus, Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision dismissing the complaint will be reviewed de novo. Hi-Lite Products Co. v. American Home Products Corp., 11 F.3d 1402, 1405 (7th Cir. 1993).

 A. Motion to Dismiss - Legal Standard

 In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court "must accept well pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. In addition, the Court must view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez v. Illinois State Board of Education, 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). Although a complaint is not required to contain a detailed outline of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1054, 84 L. Ed. 2d 821, 105 S. Ct. 1758 (1985). Dismissal is not granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957).

 B. The Merits

 TTI challenges each aspect of Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision. TTI argues that the complaint states viable claims under § 1983 based on procedural due process, substantive due process, and equal protection infringements. Also, TTI argues that the statute of limitations does not bar its § 1981 claim. Finally, TTI attacks Magistrate Judge Lefkow's decision that it lacked standing to ...


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