United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
November 2, 2004.
NAIL MAJID, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Nail Majid ("Majid") filed an eleven-count First
Amended Complaint against the City of Chicago ("City") and other
various defendants, alleging violations of Section 1983 (Count
I-III), Title VII (Counts IV-VI), Section 1981 (Counts VII-VIII),
and the Illinois Civil Rights Act (Count XI). In addition,
Plaintiff asserts a claim for indemnification (Count IX) and a
claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count X).
Plaintiff seeks punitive damages against the City in Counts X and
XI. The City argues that it is immune from Plaintiff's claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED"), that
Plaintiff brought the claim untimely, and that Title VII and the
Illinois Human Rights Act preempt the claim. Furthermore, the
City has moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims for intentional
infliction of emotional distress and punitive damages.
A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint, not the
merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510,
1520 (7th Cir. 1990). The Court will only grant a motion to
dismiss 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, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). In
making its determination, the Court must assume the truth of the
facts alleged in the pleadings, construe the allegations
liberally, and view them in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Jet, Inc. v. Shell Oil Co., 381 F.3d 627, 629
(7th Cir. 2004).
The City is a municipality located in the Northern District of
Illinois, Eastern Division, within the State of Illinois. (R.
4-1, Am. Compl. ¶ 3.) The City operates and exercises control
over the Chicago Police Department ("CPD"). (Id. ¶ 3.) During
all relevant times, the City employed Plaintiff as an employee of
the Chicago Police Department. (Id. ¶ 2.)
Plaintiff is an American-Palestinian of Arab decent, practicing
the Muslim religion. (Id. ¶ 2.) From November of 1999 through
September 2002, the City employed Plaintiff as a CPD officer.
(Id. ¶ 21, 148.) Since the commencement of his employment,
Plaintiff's supervisors and fellow police officers subjected
Plaintiff to discriminatory and harassing comments and actions.
(Id. ¶¶ 33-91.) After the September 11th terrorist attacks,
Plaintiff alleges that the discriminatory and harassing comments
and actions escalated to an intolerable level. (Id. ¶ 55.)
Plaintiff alleges that his supervisor, Sergeant James Baker
("Baker") and other CPD officers constantly made discriminatory
and harassing comments to Plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 28-40.) Due to
Plaintiff's religion (Muslim) and national origin
(American-Palestinian), CPD officers made fun of Plaintiff's
religious habits, religious holidays, and the way his name was
pronounced. (Id. ¶ 34.) In addition, Plaintiff contends that
CPD officers referred to individuals of Arab decent as "rag
heads," and categorized all Arabs as taxi drivers. (Id. ¶ 29.)
Plaintiff's superior officers witnessed the discriminatory treatment, and on
several occasions, Plaintiff claims that he asked CPD officers
and his supervisor, Baker, to stop the offensive and
discriminatory comments and actions. (Id. ¶¶ 35-42.) Plaintiff
contends that Baker participated in the discriminatory treatment.
(Id. ¶ 49-62.) For instance, after the September 11th
terrorist attacks, Plaintiff alleges that Baker gave him a box
cutter and told him to "take it with you when you fly again."
(Id. ¶ 57.) According to Plaintiff, Baker also reprimanded him
more strictly and scored him more harshly on evaluations than he
did other officers who were not Palestinian or Muslim. (Id. ¶¶
61, 64.) CPD officers made other highly offensive and
discriminatory jokes and comments to Plaintiff in the presence of
Baker. (Id. ¶ 44.)
On March 24, 2004, Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue
letter from the Department of Justice and filed his complaint
within ninety days. (Id. ¶ 20.) Because of the discriminatory
and harassing comments and actions of CPD officers, Plaintiff
alleges that he has suffered extreme embarrassment, humiliation,
emotional distress, and other forms of damage, and Plaintiff
continues to suffer. (Id. ¶¶ 253-254.)
I. Statute of Limitations
The City argues that the Illinois Tort Immunity Act ("ITIA")
bars as untimely Plaintiff's IIED claim. Plaintiff fails to
address this issue in his Response to Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss. In Illinois, a plaintiff must commence a civil action
against a local entity or any of its employees "within one year
from the date that the injury was received or the cause of action
accrued." 745 ILCS10/8-101. See Fender v. Town of Cicero,
347 Ill.App.3d 46, 52, 283 Ill.Dec.1, 807 N.E.2d (1st Dist.
2004); Ericksen III v. Vill. of Willow Springs,
279 Ill.App.3d 210, 215, 213 Ill.Dec. 805, 660 N.E.2d 62 (1st Dist. 1995).
Plaintiff pleads his IIED claim by alleging acts which occurred
between April 2001 and September 2002. See (R. 4-1, Am. Compl.
¶ 148, 249, 250.) Plaintiff should have filed a timely complaint
by September 2003. Plaintiff, however, filed his original
complaint on May 28, 2004, after the one-year limitation period
in section 8-101 had expired. Accordingly, the one-year statute
of limitation bars Plaintiff's IIED claim.*fn1
II. Punitive Damages.
Plaintiff seeks punitive damages in Count XI which alleges a
violation of the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003. Plaintiff
argues that the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003 allows courts
to award punitive damages to prevailing plaintiffs in race or
national origin discrimination claims. The Illinois Civil Rights
Act of 2003, however, did not become effective until January 1,
2004. See 2003 Ill. Legis. Serv. 93-425 (West). In Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint, he alleges that the discrimination
occurred between April 2001 and September 2002, which was before
the Civil Rights Act became effective. (R. 4-1, Am. Compl. ¶ 148,
249, 250.) "Where the legislature has clearly indicated a
statute's temporal reach, the Court must adhere to it absent
constitutional violation." Nicol v. Lavin, 2004 WL 1881786 at
*7 (N.D. Ill. 2004) (citing Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Will
County Collector, 196 Ill.2d 27, 37, 255 Ill.Dec. 482,
749 N.E.2d 964 (Ill. 2001). Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim for
punitive damages pursuant to the Illinois Civil Rights Act of
2003 is dismissed.*fn2 CONCLUSION
The Court dismisses Plaintiff's IIED claim (Count X) and
Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages in Count XI.