United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
June 21, 2005.
IVORY GHEE, Plaintiff,
LUSTER PRODUCTS, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MILTON SHADUR, Senior District Judge
Counsel for the three defendants in this employment
discrimination action brought against them by Ivory Ghee ("Ghee")
have filed a motion for reconsideration of the portion of this
Court's brief June 8, 2005 memorandum order ("Order") that struck
defendants' Second Affirmative Defense ("AD 2"). That motion is
denied for the reason briefly stated here, although defendants
are in no way prejudiced by that denial their Answer's denials
of Ghee's allegations are sufficient to place in issue Ghee's
claim for punitive damages.
This Court is of course well aware of the teaching of Kolstad
v. Am. Dental Ass'n, 527 U.S. 526 (1999) on the availability
(and unavailability) of punitive damages in Title VII cases.
Where this Court and defense counsel part company is that defense
counsel has not given heed to two basic principles of federal
1. For purposes of evaluating ADs, just as with
motions under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), all of a
plaintiff's allegations are treated as true and that extends to
the drawing of all reasonable inferences from those
allegations in plaintiff's favor.
2. Where as here a plaintiff has acted pro se, the
complaint is read through a particularly generous
lens (Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)
In this instance, Ghee's allegations in Complaint ¶¶ 13 and 14,
which include defendants' asserted harassment of and retaliation
against Ghee after he complained of discrimination, sufficiently
create a reasonable inference as to the existence of malice or
reckless indifference demanded by Kolstad and like cases as the
predicate for a punitive damages award.
Because defendants' now-tendered First Amended Answer and
Affirmative Defenses has in part cured other flaws identified in
the Order, leave is granted to file that amendatory responsive
pleading. But as before, AD 2 is stricken for the reasons stated
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