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WILSON v. COMTRUST LLC

February 6, 2003

RENEE WILSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMTRUST LLC, COLLECTIVE PURCHASING CONFERENCE, LLC, AND MINISTRY OF W. DEEN MOHAMMED, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Renee Wilson filed a three count complaint against Defendants Comtrust LLC, Collective Purchasing Conference, LLC, and The Ministry of W. Deen Mohammed for religious discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and state common law breach of contract after she was terminated from her employment. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss on the basis that they are not "employers" as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b). The Court converted Defendants' motion into one for summary judgment and allowed a limited discovery period. That discovery period has now concluded and the parties have completed their briefing. It is now clear that there is no genuine issue of material fact as to Defendants' status as Title VII "employers" and that Plaintiff cannot meet her burden of establishing this critical element. Accordingly, the Court enters judgment in favor of Defendants on the discrimination and retaliation counts. The Court also dismisses Plaintiffs pendent breach of contract claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

BACKGROUND

I. Parties

Defendant Collective Purchasing Conference ("CPC") is an Illinois limited liability corporation that was organized in 1997. It collects money from investors to purchase Shea butter, which it distributes to other organizations. (R. 18-1, Pt.'s Resp. to Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶ 9.) CPC owns a building at 2979 W. 167th Street in Hazel Crest, Illinois, which it uses for its offices. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶¶ 7, 10.)

Defendant Comtrust, LLC ("Comtrust") is a meat market store that sells both retail and wholesale. (R. 18-1, Pl's Resp. to Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶ 6.) It was organized in 2000 as an Illinois limited liability corporation. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶ 5.) Comtrust is located in the building owned by CPC at 2979 W. 167th Street in Hazel Crest, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Defendant The Ministry of W. Deen Mohammed (the "Ministry") is a not-for-profit association that was organized in 1988. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶ 11.) The Ministry primarily solicits Funds for charitable purposes and finances and supports W. Deen Mohammed's ministry. (Id. ¶ 12.) The Ministry is located at 929 W. 171st Street in Hazel Crest, Illinois. (Id. ¶ 13.) W. Deen Mohammed is the President and CEO of all three Defendants. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶ 4.)

At various times, Plaintiff Renee Wilson was employed by each of the Defendants. Plaintiff worked as a secretary for CPC from November 16, 2000 until May 18, 2001, and again from September 14, 2001 until October 18, 2001. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts ¶¶ 17, 20.) From March 8 until May 18, 2001, Plaintiff spent one day a week working as a secretary for Comtrust, (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff then worked at the Ministry from May 18 until September 14, 2001. (Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff was issued separate W-2 Statements that reflected the wages she earned with CPC and the Ministry. (Id. ¶ 28.)

II. Number of Defendants' Employees

A. Evidence Submitted by Defendants

Defendants submitted various pieces of evidence that show that none of the Defendants employed more than fifteen people at a time during the years at issue. W. Deen Mohammed states in an affidavit that Comtrust had six to seven employees, CPC had three to five employees, and the Ministry had five employees. (R. 11-1, Defs.' Statement of Uncontested Facts, Ex. D ¶ 11.) Defendants also submit computer printouts of the Ministry's payroll from January 24 to October 18, 2001, CPC's payroll from March 8 to October 18, 2001, and Comtrust's payroll from March 8 to October 18, 2001. (R. 20-4, Defs.' Resp. to Pl.'s Statement of Add'l Material Facts, Ex. J.) These payroll submissions also show that no Defendant employed more than fifteen people at any given time.

B. Evidence Submitted by Plaintiff

Plaintiff relies upon two pieces of evidence in attempting to establish that Defendants did employ more than fifteen people during the relevant times: (1) her affidavit and (2) ...


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