The opinion of the court was delivered by: Castillo, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Annamarie Quela, Shelby Mignault, Tabatha Irvin, and Michael
Hakim ("Plaintiffs") sued Payco-General American Credits, Inc.
and Outsourcing Solutions, Inc. ("Defendants"), alleging sexual
harassment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), harassment under the Cook County
Human Rights Ordinance ("Ordinance"), assault, and battery.*fn1
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the three state claims,
which we grant in part and deny in part.
In November 1997, Hakim began work as a collector at Payco, a
debt collection company. Hakim alleges that, shortly after he
began working at Payco, Defendants, through Payco manager, George
Chaharbakhski, and other employees, began verbally and physically
harassing him because of his perceived sexual orientation. As a
result, Hakim filed a charge with the Cook County Human Rights
Commission ("Commission"), alleging that Defendants discriminated
against him in violation of the Ordinance. The Commission granted
him the right to proceed to civil court in accordance with the
Ordinance. Subsequently, Hakim brought the claim as Count III in
Plaintiffs' amended complaint filed in this Court. In addition,
he presents claims for assault (Count V) and battery (Count IV).
Currently pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to
dismiss Counts III, IV, and V.
A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure does not test whether the plaintiff will
prevail on the merits, but instead whether the plaintiff has
properly stated a claim for which relief may be granted. Pickrel
v. City of Springfield, Ill., 45 F.3d 1115, 1118 (7th Cir.
1995). In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must presume
all of the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint to be true.
Miree v. DeKalb County, 433 U.S. 25, 27 n. 2, 97 S.Ct. 2490, 53
L.Ed.2d 557 (1977). We also presume "that general allegations
embrace those specific facts that are necessary to support the
claim." Lujan v. National Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 889,
110 S.Ct. 3177, 111 L.Ed.2d 695 (1990). Dismissal under Rule
12(b)(6) is proper only if 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,
45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957); see also Panaras v.
Liquid Carbonic Indus. Corp., 74 F.3d 786, 791 (7th Cir. 1996).
II. Count III: Discrimination under the Ordinance
In Count III, Hakim alleges discrimination under the Ordinance,
based on perceived sexual orientation. Defendants move to dismiss
this claim, arguing that Cook County's attempt to vest original
subject matter jurisdiction over claims involving the Ordinance
in the civil courts was an unconstitutional attempt to exercise
authority over state-wide institutions. Specifically, Defendants
assert that the Ordinance provision authorizing Hakim to bring
his claim before this Court via our supplemental jurisdiction
over certain state law claims is unconstitutional because it
places a prohibited burden on the judicial system.
Hakim argues that the Ordinance is a valid exercise of Cook
County's home rule authority under Section 6(a) of Article VII of
the 1970 Illinois Constitution. That section of the 1970
Constitution provides that:
Except as limited by this Section, a home rule unit
may exercise any power and perform any function
pertaining to its government and affairs including,
but not limited to, the power to regulate for the
protection of the public health, safety, morals and
welfare; to license; to tax; and to incur debt.
This constitutional grant of power to home rule units is "broad
and imprecise and . . . purposely left without definition."
Ampersand, Inc. v. Finley, 61 Ill.2d 537, 338 N.E.2d 15, 17
(1975); Ill. Const. art. VII,
§ 6(m) (the Illinois Constitution provides that the "powers and
functions of home rule units shall be construed liberally"). Home
rule units' powers, however, are not unlimited and should "relate
to their own problems, not to those of the state or the nation,"
Ampersand, 338 N.E.2d at 18 (quoting Report of Local Government
Committee, 7 Proceedings 1621). Thus, while "mindful of the
liberal construction mandate," the Illinois Supreme Court has
struck down home rule ordinances that "did not pertain to the
government or affairs of the local unit." Id. at 18.
The Ordinance at issue in this case grants plaintiffs a private
right of action to bring their complaints before a state
tribunal. The Ordinance authorizes the Commission to determine,
inter alia, when a complainant can file suit in a court of
general jurisdiction and the time limits on a complainant's right
to bring suit. A Cook County trial court, considering the same
Ordinance at issue in this case, found it to be unconstitutional
because it created a private right of action for sexual
harassment and impermissibly burdened the judiciary by attempting
to control or dictate procedures to the state judiciary. See
Lucas v. Zeta Int'l, No. 96 M3 2687 (Cook Cy. Cir. Ct. Jan. 26,
1998) (attached to R. 19, Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. B). The
Lucas court relied on Ampersand, which explained that the
administration of justice in Illinois is a matter of state, and
not local, concern. Ampersand, 338 N.E.2d at 18. In
Ampersand, the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a home rule
county's ordinance that imposed filing fees in civil suits, which
were used to finance the county law library. The court was unable
to "accept defendants' argument that since the operation of the
library is a local function so also is the imposition of the fee
to support it. The payment of the fee under the ordinance is the
price of admission to the courts of the State of Illinois and not
to the Cook County Law Library." Id. at 18-19. The court stated
that "[a]rticle VI of the 1970 Constitution does not contemplate
nor does it authorize the exercise of any control over or permit
the imposition of a burden on the judicial system by any local
entity." Id. at 18.
The Lucas court also relied on City of Carbondale, in which
the Illinois Supreme Court stated that, while the concerns
underlying a home-rule city's eminent domain ordinances were
local in character, enforcement of the ordinance attempted to
dictate procedures that state courts were to follow and therefore
"impermissibly interfere[d] with the State judiciary system."
City of Carbondale v. Yehling, 96 Ill.2d 495, 71 Ill.Dec. 683,
451 N.E.2d 837, 840 (1983). Applying these cases to the
Ordinance, the Lucas court held that enforcement of the
Ordinance impermissibly burdened the ...