United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 8, 2004.
GEORGIA MINDELL, Plaintiff,
DAVID KRONFELD and BONCHER AND ANDERSON, LTD. f/d/b/a ARIA MODEL & TALENT MANAGEMENT, LTD. Defendant.
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 July 30, 2001, Mindell was terminated.
B. Plaintiff's Allegations Against Schroeder
Mindell also alleges that Schroeder contributed to the hostile
work environment at Aria in numerous ways. Mindell alleges that
Schroeder: (1) regularly talked about the sexual attributes of
male models; (2) consistently commented to female employees,
including Mindell, that women who had children should stay at
home and should never be given any leeway in the workplace; and (3) told Plaintiff and a co-employee, Amie
Richardson, on numerous occasions, that female genitalia
disgusted him and that he could always tell when a woman was
menstruating because he could "smell" it. Mindell also alleges
that in February or March 2001, Schroeder was promoted ahead of
Mindell and another well qualified woman to a position superior
to hers. (Am. Compl. ¶ 48). Finally, Plaintiff alleges that
Schroeder was not terminated by Aria on or before the date
Mindell was terminated, although Schroeder violated policy at
Aria which all employees were told was grounds for immediate
termination. (Am. Compl. ¶ 49).
C. Plaintiff's Allegations Against Boncher and Anderson
Additionally, Mindell alleges that Boncher and Anderson were
aware of Kronfeld's behavior, yet failed to implement any
measures to remedy the situation. (Am. Compl. ¶ 51). Further,
Mindell alleges that Anderson and Boncher contributed to the
hostile work environment at Aria in the following ways: (1) told
employee Lisa Raley that she was fat, needed to cut her hair,
apply her makeup differently, and wear turtlenecks to hide her
large chest; (2) required Raley to hire a makeup artist to show
her how to "look better"; (3) approved Kronfeld's suggestion that
a vote should be conducted as to whether receptionist Gail Angel
should be terminated because of her looks and clothing; (4)
required employee Nancy Tenicott to take makeup lessons to keep
her job; and (5) arranged for models to attend functions with
Kronfeld, and instructed others to assist in this effort. (Am.
Compl. ¶ 52). D. Plaintiff Files Suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County
On September 7, 2001 Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois ("Circuit Court" or "state
court"). Plaintiff's suit was based upon the incidents that
occurred during her employment with Aria. (See Def. Kronfeld's
Memo. in Support of Motion to Dismiss, p. 2). Subsequently,
Mindell filed a four-count amended complaint on January 22, 2002.
Id. Plaintiff asserted claims against Kronfeld for assault,
battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id.
Additionally, Mindell asserted a negligence claim against Aria.
On September 30, 2002, pursuant to Kronfeld's motion to
dismiss, Judge Phillip Bronstein of the Circuit Court entered an
order striking Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional
distress claim against Kronfeld, and gave Mindell until December
2, 2002 to replead her claim. (See Def. Kronfeld Ex. A).
Plaintiff did not replead her claim. On March 11, 2003, Mindell
filed a Complaint in this Court against Aria and Kronfeld. On May
30, 2003, Mindell voluntarily dismissed her entire state court
lawsuit. On October 7, 2003, Plaintiff filed a four-count amended
complaint in this Court. Mindell's amended complaint alleges that
Defendants Aria and Kronfeld subjected Plaintiff to sexual
discrimination, sexual harassment, and disparate treatment, in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Additionally, Plaintiff's amended complaint
contains a state supplemental claim for intentional infliction of
II. Legal Standard for a Motion to Dismiss
In ruling on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court "must accept all well pleaded
allegations as true. In addition, the Court must view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez
v. Illinois Board of Education, 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir.
1987). A complaint should not be dismissed "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, 45-46 (1957). In analyzing the motions
to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court may take
"judicial notice of matters of public record", which includes the
public court documents filed in Mindell's state court suit
against Aria and Kronfeld. Henson v. CSC Credit Services,
29 F.3d 280, 284 (7th Cir. 1994) (citing United States v. Wood,
925 F.2d 1580, 1582 (7th Cir. 1991)).
III. Analysis of Kronfeld and Aria's Motions to Dismiss
Kronfeld and Aria have filed motions to dismiss based on the
following issues. Kronfeld contends: (1) he cannot be held
individually liable for Plaintiff's claims brought under Title
VII; and (2) Plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress must be dismissed under the doctrine of res
judicata. Aria contends: (1) Plaintiff is collaterally estopped
from bringing a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress against Aria based upon Kronfeld's alleged conduct; and
(2) the allegations in Plaintiff's amended complaint do not
support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Each of Kronfeld's and Aria's arguments will be addressed in
A. Can Kronfeld be Held Individually Liable for Mindell's
Title VII Claims?
Defendant Kronfeld contends that Title VII does not provide for
the liability of individuals, and consequently, Counts I through
III of Plaintiff's amended complaint must be dismissed against him. Mindell maintains that Kronfeld may be
sued in his individual capacity, as Plaintiff has alleged that
Kronfeld controlled the internal operations of the office, had
the responsibility of appointing positions, acted as more than a
mere supervisor, was the main decision maker, was a controlling
shareholder, and left his employees with no avenue to object to
Even when viewing the facts in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff, which assumes that Kronfeld had significant control
over the conditions Mindell's employment, it is clear that
Kronfeld can face no individual liability under Title VII. The
Seventh Circuit has determined that Title VII does not impose
liability on individual employees. Gastineau v. Fleet Mortgage
Corporation, 137 F.3d 490, 493 (7th Cir. 1998). Courts do not
interpret Title VII as imposing personal liability on agents, but
rather invokes the doctrine of respondeat superior to make
employers responsible for the actions of their agents. Id. The
Seventh Circuit has held that Congress did not intend to impose
individual liability against an employer's agents. Williams,
72 F.3d 552, 553 (7th Cir. 1995) (citing EEOC v. AIC Security
Investigations, Ltd., 55 F.3d 1276, 1279-82 (7th Cir. 1995)).
Further, the Seventh Circuit has made clear that, "a supervisor
does not, in his individual capacity, fall within Title VII's
definition of employer." Williams v. Banning, 72 F.3d 552, 555
(7th Cir. 1995).*fn1 Consequently, individual liability
cannot be imposed on Kronfeld, notwithstanding the fact that he
exercised significant control within the corporation. Therefore,
Counts I, II, and III are dismissed against Defendant Kronfeld. B. Is Plaintiff's Claim for Intentional Infliction of
Emotional Distress Against Kronfeld Barred by the Doctrine of
As stated in Section II.B of this Opinion, on September 30,
2002, Judge Bronstein of the Circuit Court of Cook County
dismissed Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional
distress claim against Kronfeld, giving her leave to refile her
claim by December 2, 2002. Defendant Kronfeld contends that
Plaintiff's failure to replead her claim by December 2, 2002
resulted in the September 30, 2002 Order becoming a final
adjudication on the merits on Plaintiff's intentional infliction
of emotional distress claim. Conversely, Plaintiff argues that
the September 30, 2002 order lacked finality because it gave her
leave to amend her complaint, and consequently, was not a final
adjudication on the merits.
The Court will apply Illinois law to determine the
applicability of res judicata to Plaintiff's present suit.
See Corporation v. Town of Cicero, 220 F.3d 522, 529 (7th
Cir. 2000) ("Because an Illinois state court rendered the [first]
order at issue, we must apply Illinois law to determine whether
res judicata bars [subsequent federal] claims . . . we must
give the [state order] the res judicata effect an Illinois
court would give it."). "The doctrine of res judicata provides
that a final judgment, rendered on the merits by a court of
competent jurisdiction, is an absolute bar to a subsequent action
involving the same claim, demand or cause of action between the
parties." Saxon Mortgage, Inc. v. United Financial Mortgage
Corporation, 728 N.E.2d 537, 542 (Ill.App. Ct. 2000) (citing
River Park, Inc. v. City of Highland Park, 703 N.E.2d 883, 889
(Ill. 1998)). There are three elements of res judicata: "(1) a
final judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent
jurisdiction; (2) an identity of cause of action; and (3) an
identity of parties or their privies." Saxon Mortgage, 728
N.E.2d at 542 (quoting People ex rel. Burris v. Progressive Land Developers, Inc., 602 N.E.2d 820, 824-25 (Ill.
1992)). Res judicata reaches not only those claims actually
decided in the first cause of action, but also those claims that
could have been decided in that first cause of action. Saxon
Mortgage, 728 N.E.2d at 542 (citing Progressive, 608 N.E.2d
at 825)). The parties do not dispute the second and third
elements of res judicata both parties agree that there is an
identity of the cause of action and parties. Therefore, the Court
will address whether there was a final adjudication on the merits
in the Circuit Court on Mindell's intentional infliction of
emotion distress claim.
Illinois Supreme Court Rule 273 provides, "Unless the order or
dismissal or a statue of this State otherwise specifies, an
involuntary dismissal of an action, other than a dismissal for
lack of jurisdiction, improper venue, or for failure to join an
indispensable party, operates as an adjudication upon the
merits." Mindell contends that because she had leave to refile
her complaint in Circuit Court, there was never a final
adjudication on the merits. The Seventh Circuit has held that
pursuant to Illinois law, if an order strikes and dismisses a
cause of action, yet gives the plaintiff leave to file an amended
complaint, this is not considered a final adjudication on the
merits. Gilbert v. Braniff International Corporation,
579 F.2d 411, 413 (7th Cir. 1978). Kronfeld could have requested that the
Circuit Court enter an order dismissing Mindell's case with
prejudice when she failed fo amend her complaint by December 2,
2002. Id. Yet, Defendant Kronfeld failed to do so.
Consequently, the state court order granting Plaintiff leave to
amend her complaint cannot be deemed a final adjudication on the
merits. C. Is Plaintiff Collaterally Estopped From Bringing a Claim
for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Against Aria
Based Upon Kronfeld's Alleged Conduct?
Defendant Aria contends that Mindell is collaterally estopped
from bringing a claim for intentional infliction of emotional
distress against Aria based upon Kronfeld's alleged conduct. Aria
states Plaintiff is collaterally estopped because: (1) Kronfeld's
conduct in Plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of
emotional distress in her action before this Court is identical
to the conduct alleged in Plaintiff's state claim; (2) there is a
previous final judgment on the merits on Plaintiff's claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress based upon
Kronfeld's conduct; and (3) the parties in the Circuit Court
lawsuit are the same or in close privity with those in the cause
of action before this Court. Mindell contends that: (1) there was
no previous final judgment on the merits; and (2) the issues
which formed the basis of Aria's suit against Kronfeld for
intentional infliction of emotional distress are not identical to
those issues that form the basis of her suit against Aria in this
Court for Kronfeld's actions.
Collateral estoppel precludes relitigation of issues in a
subsequent proceeding when: (1) the party against whom estoppel
is asserted was a party to the prior adjudication; (2) the issues
which form the basis of the estoppel were actually litigated and
decided on the merits in the prior suit; (3) the resolution of
the particular issues was necessary to the court's judgment; and
(4) those issues are identical to the issues raised in the
subsequent suit. Farmer v. Lane, 864 F.2d 473, 477 (7th Cir.
Aria's arguments fail under the second element of the doctrine
collateral estoppel, as this Court has determined that the state
court order granting Mindell leave to file an amended complaint
was not a final adjudication on the merits. Further, Defendant
Aria has not demonstrated that the issues that form the basis of Mindell's
allegations against it in Count IV of Plaintiff's amended in
complaint in this Court are identical to those issues actually
adjudicated in Mindell's state court suit against Kronfeld for
intentional infliction of emotional distress. In the case before
this Court, Mindell brings her cause of action against Aria for
Kronfeld's actions based upon a respondeat superior theory.
Aria's liability under a theory of respondeat superior was not
actually litigated when the Court dismissed the intentional
infliction of emotional distress claims against Kronfeld, based
upon an individual liability theory. See e.g., S & S
Automotive Co. v. Checker Taxi Co., 520 N.E.2d 929, 930 (finding
the doctrine of collateral estoppel to be inapplicable where
issues of agency were not actually litigated prior to an entry of
default judgment). Therefore, Plaintiff is not collaterally
estopped from bringing suit against Aria for Kronfeld's actions
that resulted in Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional
D. Does Plaintiff's Intentional Infliction of Emotional
Distress Allegation State a Claim Upon Which Relief Can be
In Count IV of her amended complaint, Mindell alleges that all
of the adverse employment decisions discussed in Sections I.A-C
of this Opinion constituted extreme and outrageous conduct,
performed with reckless disregard of the effect that such actions
would have on her. (Am. Compl. ¶ 63). Additionally, Plaintiff
alleges that Defendants contacted her subsequent employers and
made disparaging and defamatory remarks concerning her. Id.
Mindell alleges that these actions caused severe emotional
distress and mental anguish, and have damaged her personal and
professional reputation. (Am Compl. ¶ 64). The Court will address whether Plaintiff's allegations of intentional infliction of
emotional distress state a claim upon which relief can be
Mindell's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is
governed by Illinois law. In Illinois, to state a cause of action
for intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff
must allege that: (1) the defendant's conduct was extreme and
outrageous; (2) the defendant either intended that his conduct
should inflict severe emotional distress, or knew that there was
a high probability that his conduct would cause severe emotional
distress; and (3) the defendant's conduct in fact caused severe
emotional distress. Doe v. Calumet City, 641 N.E.2d 498, 506
(Ill. 1994). Whether particular conduct is extreme and outrageous
is judged by an objective standard, based upon the particular
facts and circumstances of the particular case. Id. "Mere
insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, or
trivialities" do not rise to the level of intentional infliction
of emotional distress. Oates v. Discovery Zone, 1161, F.3d 116,
1174 (7th Cir. 1997) (quoting McGrath v. Fahey, 533 N.E.2d 806,
809 (1998)). Additionally, intentional infliction of emotional
distress does not reach acts which are merely "inconsiderate,
rude, vulgar, uncooperative, unprofessional, and unfair."
Oates, 116 F.3d at 1174 (citing Miller v. Equitable Life
Assurance Society, 537 N.E.2d 887, 889 (Ill. 1989)).
In the employment context, more is required for a claim of
intentional infliction of emotional distress than what is
required for claims such as sexual harassment. Piech v. Arthur
Andersen & Co., S.C., 841 F. Supp. 825, 831-32 (N.D. Ill. 1994).
In Welsh v. Commonwealth Edison Co., 713 N.E.2d 679 (Ill.App.
Ct. 1999) the Court noted:
[I]n the absence of conduct calculated to coerce an
employee to do something illegal, courts have
generally declined to find an employer's retaliatory
conduct sufficiently extreme and outrageous as to
give rise to an action for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. This reluctance seems to be grounded in the
fear that, if the anxiety and stress resulting from
discipline, job transfers, or even terminations could
form the basis of an action for emotional distress,
virtually every employee would have a cause of
Id. at 684.
However, before the Court addresses whether Plaintiff's
intentional infliction of emotional distress allegation states a
claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court notes that
neither party addressed whether this Court has subject matter
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional
distress claim. Therefore the Court, sua sponte, will address
whether it can exercise subject matter jurisdiction over Count IV
of Mindell's amended complaint.
In Geise v. Phoenix Co. of Chicago, 639 N.E.2d 1273, 1277
(Ill. 1994), the Illinois Supreme Could held that where a tort
claim is "inextricably linked" to a claim of sexual harassment,
such that there is "no independent basis for imposing liability,"
those claims are preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act. The
Geise court reached this decision by looking to the language of
the Illinois Human Rights Act. Id. at 1276. Section 775 ILCS
5/8-111(C) of the Illinois Human Rights Act provides, "Except as
otherwise provided by law, no court of this state shall have
jurisdiction over the subject of an alleged civil rights
violation other than as set forth in this Act."*fn2 In a
subsequent decision, Maksimovic v. Tsogalis, 687 N.E.2d 21
(Ill. 1997), the Illinois Supreme Court clarified the holding of Geise, and held
that Geise does not preclude a court from exercising
jurisdiction over all tort claims relating to a sexual harassment
claim. Maksimovic, 687 N.E.2d at 23. Rather, the court must
address whether those subsequent tort claims are "inextricably
linked to a civil rights violations such that there is no
independent basis for the action apart from the Act itself."
Id. See also Quantock v. Shared Marketing Services, Inc.,
312 F.3d 899, 905 (7th Cir. 2002) (affirming dismissal of
plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim
when supported by factual allegations identical to her Title
VII sexual harassment claim).
Undoubtedly, Mindell's intentional infliction of emotional
distress allegations are inextricably linked to her claim for
sexual harassment. The substantial majority of the facts
underlying her claim of intentional infliction of emotional
distress are the same allegations that make up her sexual
harassment claim. Additionally, the language of the Illinois
Human Rights Act is equally applicable to employers and employees
and agents. See Johnson v. Chicago Board of Education, No. 00
C 1800, 2002 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14147 at *17 ("Third party conduct
as well as direct sexual harassment by the employee is proscribed
by the [Illinois Human Rights Act]."); see also
Haanigan-Haas v. Bankers Life & Cas. Co., No. 95 C 7408, 1996
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3618 at *9 (noting the language of the Illinois
Human Rights Act applies to the conduct of employers and
employees). Therefore, this Court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over those portions of Plaintiff's intentional
infliction of emotional distress claim that arise from the same
facts as her sexual harassment allegations. The only additional
element Mindell adds to her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is that Defendants
contacted Mindell's subsequent employers and made disparaging and
defamatory remarks concerning Plaintiff. (Am. Compl. ¶ 63).
However, this allegation, without the support of the allegations
that comprise Plaintiff's sexual harassment claim, is
insufficient to state a claim for relief alleging intentional
infliction of emotional distress. Consequently, Count IV of
Plaintiff's amended complaint is dismissed in its entirety.
For the foregoing reasons, 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.