The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID COAR, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before this Court are two motions to dismiss Plaintiff Georgia
Mindell's ("Plaintiff" or "Mindell") Amended Complaint. The first
motion to dismiss was filed by David Kronfeld ("Kronfeld") to
dismiss all counts filed against him. The second motion to
dismiss was filed by Boncher & Anderson, Ltd., f/d//b/a Aria
Model & Talent Management, Ltd. ("Aria") to dismiss Count IV of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint. For the reasons set forth below,
Kronfeld's motion to dismiss is GRANTED in its entirety.
Additionally, Aria's motion to dismiss Count IV of Mindell's
Amended Complaint is GRANTED.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Aria is a booking agency for models and actors, with its
principal place of business in Chicago, Illinois (Am. Compl. ¶
9). Mindell was hired by Aria as a talent agent to primarily book
film and television actors. (Am. Comp. ¶ 12). Marie Anderson
("Anderson") and Mary Boncher ("Boncher") were the co-owners of Aria on Plaintiff's May
30, 2000 hire date. (Am. Compl. ¶ 11). On or about November 2000,
Kronfeld was introduced to the employees of Aria as a new
co-owner/chairman. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13). Mindell alleges that during
her employment with Aria, she was subjected to sexual harassment
and unwelcome sexual advances by Kronfeld. (Am. Compl. ¶ 3). As a
result of Kronfeld's alleged behavior, Plaintiff asserts that the
working environment at Aria became hostile, and that Kronfeld's
conduct was so pervasive, it altered the conditions of employment
and interfered with Mindell's work performance. (Am. Compl. ¶
19). Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Boncher, Anderson and
Robert Schroeder ("Schroeder"), Mindell's immediate supervisor
from February or March 2001 until approximately June 30, 2001,
contributed to the hostile work environment at Aria.
A. Plaintiff's Allegations Against Kronfeld
In her Amended Complaint, Mindell provides specific incidents
and encounters with Kronfeld that she believes constituted sexual
harassment and contributed to a hostile work environment at Aria.
The first incident occurred at Kronfeld's first staff meeting at
Aria. During that meeting, Kronfeld stated that he: (1) knew
nothing about the talent agency business but was very interested
in it because he greatly enjoyed "beautiful young models"; (2)
intended to make up for his lack of social life by owning this
business; (3) felt the ["Kronfeld"] his employees saw at work and
the ["Kronfeld"] his employees saw at parties could be two
different people and not to hold it against him or judge him; (3)
wanted his business affairs kept confidential and that,
otherwise, the "trust that we all share will be destroyed"; and
(4) would ensure that all employees would make substantial money in salaries and bonuses in return of
their loyalty. (Am. Compl. ¶ 20).
Additionally, on or about December 14, 2000, at Aria's
Christmas party, Mindell alleges that Kronfeld hugged and kissed
all of the female employees, including her. (Am. Compl. ¶ 21). On
or about December 18, 2000, Kronfeld and Mindell attended another
company party. At this party, Kronfeld stood one inch from
Mindell and asked her whether she had a boyfriend. Mindell stated
that she did have a boyfriend, and the relationship was serious.
Kronfeld then stated that he thought Mindell's boyfriend was
lucky and that he wished that he was her boyfriend. (Am. Compl. ¶
On or about January 11, 2001, Kronfeld insisted that each
employee (most of whom are female) meet him alone in the lobby of
the Four Seasons Hotel, his place of residence. (Am. Compl. ¶
23). Mindell and Vicki Fellner ("Fellner") went to the meeting
together. Id. Upon arrival, Kronfeld greeted each woman with
hugs and kisses. Id. No substantive business was conducted at
the meeting Id. Kronfeld told Mindell that his affairs were
private and confidential. Id. Kronfeld then kissed Mindell and
Fellner on their cheeks. Id.
In mid-January 2001, Anderson and Mindell attended the ATMC, a
talent/model convention, in Hilton Head, South Carolina. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 24). While in the airport awaiting the departure of
their flight, Anderson advised Mindell that Kronfeld was going to
join them in Hilton Head. At that time, Mindell requested that
Anderson not leave her alone with Kronfeld at the convention.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 25). On or about January 17, 2001, following a
group dinner at the talent/model convention, Kronfeld and Mindell
were together in the lounge of the hotel. (Am. Compl. ¶ 26).
After Plaintiff told Kronfeld that she wished to leave the
lounge, Kronfeld insisted that she stay. Id. Mindell excused herself to use the
washroom, and upon returning to the lounge, intended to tell
Kronfeld that she was leaving. Id. Before she could do so,
Kronfeld pulled her down forcefully on his lap, grabbed her face,
and pulled her face close to his. Id. Kronfeld asked Mindell
when she would date him and break up with her boyfriend. Id.
When Mindell protested, Kronfeld tried to kiss her on the lips.
Id. Mindell pulled away and left. Id. Later that evening,
Plaintiff became physically ill. Additionally, on or about
January 19, 2001, while waiting to go to dinner at the
talent/model convention, Kronfeld told Mindell to stand up so
that he could view her outfit. (Am. Compl. ¶ 27). Kronfeld
repeatedly said that Mindell had a nice figure and that any man
would love to be with her. Id.
Upon returning from the convention, Anderson and Boncher
advised Mindell that her job was in jeopardy. (Am. Compl. ¶ 28).
On or about February 5, 2001, Mindell put on a presentation to
demonstrate her value to the company. (Am. Compl. ¶ 29).
Thereafter, Kronfeld held weekly meetings, during which he hugged
and kissed all of the female staff members, including Mindell.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 30). On several occasions during the winter and
spring of 2001, and on or about July 10, 2001, Mindell reported
Kronfeld's conduct to Schroeder, her immediate supervisor, and
advised him that Kronfeld's conduct was unwelcome harassment.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 33). Schroeder told Mindell that she should pretend
to be on the telephone when Kronfeld arrived in her office, yet
took no action to confront Kronfeld about Mindell's allegations.
(Am. Compl. ¶ 34).
Because no action was taken against Kronfeld after her
complaints, Mindell believed that any further complaints to
Anderson or Schroeder regarding Kronfeld would result in her
termination from Aria. (Am. Compl. ¶ 35). On or about July 10,
2001, Kronfeld approached Mindell when she was on the telephone and directed the following
behaviors towards her. Kronfeld: (1) hugged Mindell; (2) kissed
her; (3) told her how tan and beautiful she looked; and (4) asked
her to go on a trip with him and said, "You think I'm kidding?
I'm serious." (Am. Compl. ¶ 36). Subsequent to these actions,
Mindell left the room. Id. Several minutes after Mindell left
the room, Kronfeld blocked the hallway passage, pushed Mindell
against the wall, pressed his body against hers, and put his face
approximately one inch away from hers. (Am. Compl. ¶ 37). Mindell
then stated, "Come on, are you serious about taking a trip?"
Kronfeld then asked if Mindell would go on a date with him. Id.
On or about July 25, 2001, while Mindell was in her office
talking on the telephone, Kronfeld entered and placed his hands
on her shoulders and began tickling her neck. (Am. Compl. ¶ 38).
Mindell extended her arm and motioned Kronfeld to stop. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 38). Moments later, Kronfeld stood near Mindell, and
looked at her while she continued her telephone conversation.
Id. Kronfeld left Plaintiff's office only after she expressed
her anger towards him with a menacing look. (Am. Compl. ¶ 38).
On July 27, 2001, Mindell's supervisor, Schroeder, gave her an
ultimatum: either she quit or she would be terminated. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 39). On ...