United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 12, 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
Georgia Mindell ("Plaintiff" or "Mindell") filed a cause of
action against Defendants David Kronfeld ("Kronfeld") and Boncher
and Anderson f/d/b/a Aria Model & Talent Management, Ltd.
("Aria"), for sexual discrimination and sexual harassment based
on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq., and for intentional infliction of emotional
distress. On December 5, 2003, Kronfeld filed a motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint in its entirety, and asserted that
he could not be held individually liable under Title VII.
Additionally, Kronfeld contended that the doctrine of res
judicata barred Plaintiff's action against Kronfeld for
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Aria also filed a
motion to dismiss Count IV of Mindell's action for intentional
infliction of emotional distress. On June 8, 2004 this Court
issued a memorandum opinion and order that dismissed all counts
of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint against Kronfeld, and dismissed
Count IV of Mindell's Amended Complaint against Aria. Mindell v.
Kronfeld, No. 03 C 4063, 2004 WL 1322931 (N.D. Ill. 2004) at *9. Mindell now requests that this Court reconsider its June
8, 2004 Memorandum Opinion and Order. Alternatively, if the Court
does not grant Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, Mindell
requests that the Court grant her leave to file an amended
complaint. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's motion
for reconsideration is DENIED. However, Plaintiff's motion to
file an amended complaint in accordance with the Court's June 8,
2004 Memorandum Opinion and Order is GRANTED.
I. Legal Standard for Motion for Reconsideration
Motions for reconsideration shall be granted "to correct
manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered
evidence." Keene Corp. v. International Fidelity Ins. Co.,
561 F. Supp. 656, 665-66 (N.D. Ill. 1982) aff'd., 736 F.2d 388 (7th
Cir. 1984). A motion for reconsideration should be granted only
if the court has patently misunderstood a party, or has made a
decision outside the adversarial issues presented to the court by
the parties, or has made an error not of reasoning but of
apprehension. Bank of Waunakee v. Rochester Cheese Sales, Inc.,
906 F.2d 1185, 1191 (7th Cir. 1990) (citing Above the Belt,
Inc. v. Mel Bohannan Roofing, Inc., 99 F.R.D. 99, 101 (E.D.Va.
1983)). A further basis for a motion for reconsideration is a
significant change in the law or facts since the submission of
the issues to the court by the parties. Id. Such problems
rarely arise; therefore the motion for reconsideration should be
equally rare. Id. II. Analysis of Mindell's Motion for Reconsideration*fn1
A. Mindell's Arguments for Reconsideration of No Individual
Liability Under Title VII
The Plaintiff does not contest this Court's interpretation of
the Seventh Circuit opinions which hold that Title VII does not
impose individual liability on employees. See Gastineau v.
Fleet Mortgage Corporation, 137 F.3d 490, 493 (7th Cir. 1998).
Rather, Mindell contends that there are cases within the Northern
District of Illinois that have allowed individual liability under
Title VII when employees of a corporation act not as "agents,"
but as actual employers. Plaintiff cites the cases Fabiszak v.
Will County Bd. of Commissioners, 1994 WL 698509 (N.D. Ill.
1994) and Curcio v. Chinn Enterprises, Inc., 887 F. Supp. 190
(N.D. Ill. 1995), both decided by Judge Gettleman. Plaintiff
argues that these are both examples of the Northern District of
Illinois allowing a plaintiff to maintain a Title VII action
under the so-called "alter ego" theory, and because they have not
been overruled, the Court should view these cases as persuasive
authority, and reconsider its ruling that Kronfeld is not subject
to individual liability under Title VII. The Court notes that
although it did not directly address these cases in its June 8,
2004 Memorandum Opinion and Order, the Court carefully examined
the holding of these two cases. However, after examining
subsequent developments of "alter ego" liability under Title VII,
the Court determined that current Seventh Circuit precedent
prevents the Plaintiff from bringing forth a Title VII claim
against an individual employee, even under an "alter ego" theory.
See EEOC v. AIC Sec. Investigators, Ltd., 55 F.3d 1276 (7th
Cir. 1995) (while the court did not directly address "alter ego"
theory liability, when addressing the possibility of an
individual defendant's liability, the Seventh Circuit seemed to indicate
that it would not impose liability under that theory, by stating,
"but as to [individual defendant's] individual capacity liability
it does not matter even if she was [the defendant corporation's]
alter ego." Id. at 1282, n. 11.); see also Worth v. Tyer,
276 F.3d 249 (7th Cir. 2001) (where, among other reasons, the
court noted a rejection of the "alter ego" theory of liability
based on "Congress' aversion to individual liability under Title
VII." Id. at 262 (internal citations omitted)). Therefore,
although Fabiszak v. Will County Bd. of Commissioners and
Curcio v. Chinn Enterprises, Inc., have not been expressly
overruled, the Seventh Circuit has seemingly rejected an "alter
ego" theory of liability in subsequent opinions.*fn2 The
Plaintiff has not shown that the Court made a manifest error of
law; nor has she provided new facts that compel this Court to
reconsider its ruling that Kronfeld is not subject to individual
liability under Title VII. Consequently, Mindell's motion to
reconsider Kronfeld's individual liability based upon an "alter
ego" theory is denied.
B. Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress Claims
Additionally, Mindell argues that this Court should reconsider
its holding that Plaintiff's claims for intentional infliction of
emotional distress were "inextricably linked" to her claim of
sexual harassment, and therefore, the court lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over those claims, pursuant to the Illinois Human Rights Act. Plaintiff presents
information discovered on March 9, 2004, after Defendants filed
their motions to dismiss. Plaintiff's amended complaint alleges
that Kronfeld was introduced to Aria's staff as a new
co-owner/chairman on or about November 2000. However, when the
deposition of Mary Boncher ("Boncher") was taken on March 9,
2004, Boncher testified that Kronfeld became an owner of Aria on
February 28, 2001. One of Plaintiff's claims for intentional
infliction of emotional distress is that Kronfeld forcefully
pulled Mindell onto his lap at a convention in South Carolina in
January 2001, which based on Boncher's deposition, was prior to
Kronfeld's employment relationship with Aria. Therefore,
Plaintiff contends, this newly discovered information regarding
Kronfeld's hire date warrants reconsideration of the dismissal of
Mindell's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.
Although the date that Kronfeld's business relationship with
Aria officially began is noteworthy, this information is not
sufficient for a reconsideration of the dismissal of Plaintiff's
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim. Though not
officially with Aria until February 28, 2001, Kronfeld obviously
held himself out to be some sort of employee of Aria's prior to
that date, or he would not have had the requisite contacts with
Plaintiff in January 2001. Therefore, the date Kronfeld
officially became an owner of Aria does not change the analysis
of Plaintiff's claims before this Court. As such, this newly
discovered information is not sufficient to warrant
reconsideration of Mindell's intentional infliction of emotional
Additionally, Plaintiff asks that the Court reconsider its
ruling dismissing Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional
distress claim, because certain events occurred subsequent to
Mindell's termination from Aria, including Plaintiff's
allegations that Aria employees phoned Plaintiff's subsequent
employers and made disparaging and defamatory remarks. However,
the Plaintiff addressed these arguments in her briefs opposing
Defendants' motions to dismiss, and the Court carefully analyzed
and addressed those arguments in its June 8, 2004 Memorandum
Opinion and Order. Mindell has failed to show that the court has
made a manifest error of law; additionally, she has failed to
present any new facts that warrant reconsideration of this issue.
Consequently, Plaintiff's motion to reconsider the dismissal of
her intentional infliction of emotional distress claim is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff's motion for
reconsideration is DENIED. However, Plaintiff's motion to file an
amended Complaint in accordance with the Court's June 8, 2004
Memorandum Opinion and Order is GRANTED.