Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

VARNER v. ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY

July 30, 1997

DR. IRIS VARNER, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ILLINOIS STATE UNIVERSITY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mihm, Chief Judge.

ORDER

This matter is now before the Court on Magistrate Judge Robert J. Kauffman's Report & Recommendation and two Motions to Dismiss by Defendants. For the reasons set forth herein, the Report & Recommendation [# 128] is adopted in part and rejected in part, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [# 71] is granted in part and denied in part, and Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [# 18] is granted in part and denied in part as moot.

Background

The relevant facts of this case have been sufficiently set forth in the Report & Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, as well as the prior Orders of this Court, and need not be restated here. Suffice it to say that this matter is brought on behalf of a class including any female teaching faculty at Illinois State University who was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, or full Professor anytime during the period beginning with the 1982-1983 academic year up to and including the present. Plaintiffs allege that the class of women has been paid less than their male counterparts, given considerations of teaching experience, the number of classes and class size they taught, academic papers published, service to the University, and other matters to go to the quality of their services. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendants engaged in retaliation against female professors who complained of their alleged employment practices.

On September 24, 1996, the Court ruled on a motion to dismiss filed with respect to the original Complaint ("Motion to Dismiss 1"). Motion to Dismiss 1 was premised upon the argument that Plaintiffs cannot proceed in federal court on any claims based on the Equal Pay Act because the State of Illinois has not consented to suit. Upon the filing of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, Defendants revived this motion to dismiss, as well as a second motion to dismiss that had been filed prior to the case being transferred to this district ("Motion to Dismiss 2"). Motion to Dismiss 2 challenged Plaintiffs' ability to hold Defendants liable in their individual capacities under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. This matter then was referred to the Magistrate Judge under Local Rule 72.1 for a report and recommendation.

On May 22, 1997, Magistrate Judge Robert J. Kauffman entered a Report & Recommendation which recommended that the motions be granted in part and denied in part. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), the parties had ten (10) working days after service of the Report & Recommendation to file objections to the Magistrate Judge's decision. Objections were timely filed on behalf of both parties. Additionally, the United States sought and was granted leave to file a brief as Amicus Curiae with respect to the issue of sovereign immunity. This Order follows.

Discussion

In resolving a motion to dismiss, this Court must consider all well-pled facts as true and must draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Bontkowski v. First Nat. Bank of Cicero, 998 F.2d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1012, 114 S.Ct. 602, 126 L.Ed.2d 567 (1993). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, courts consider whether relief is possible under any set of facts that could be established consistent with the allegations in the Complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 101-02, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). This Court will dismiss a claim only if it is beyond doubt that no set of facts would entitle the Plaintiffs to relief. Venture Associates Corp. v. Zenith Data Systems Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 432 (7th Cir. 1993).

I. Motion to Dismiss 1 — Sovereign Immunity

A. Equal Pay Act Claims

In their renewed Motion to Dismiss [# 71], Defendants first allege that Plaintiffs' claims under the Equal Pay Act should be dismissed because the State of Illinois has not consented to be sued in federal court under this statute and such a suit is therefore barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Defendants rely on the Supreme Court's decision in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 1123, 134 L.Ed.2d 252 (1996), which found:

  In order to determine whether Congress has
  abrogated the States' sovereign immunity, we ask
  two questions: first, whether Congress has
  "unequivocally expresse[d] its intent to abrogate
  the immunity," Green v. Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 68,
  106 S.Ct. 423, 426, 88 L.Ed.2d 371 (1985); and
  second, whether Congress has acted "pursuant to a
  valid exercise of power."

Seminole Tribe, ___ U.S. at ___, 116 S.Ct. at 1123.

When last confronted with this issue in September 1996, the Court engaged in substantial analysis of the effect of Seminole Tribe on suits brought pursuant to the Equal Pay Act. Ultimately, the Court determined that the portion of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") constituting the Equal Pay Act was enacted to prohibit discrimination in pay based on sex in furtherance of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which is a valid exercise of Congressional power.*fn1 After careful consideration of the briefs submitted in connection with this issue, as well as subsequent case authority,*fn2 the Court remains confident that the prior decision is correct and constitutes the law of the case. To the extent that Defendants ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.