United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
August 1, 2005.
LEONARD FARLEY, Plaintiff,
KEEBLER COMPANY and INTERNATIONAL UNION LOCAL 1, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARRY LEINENWEBER, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Leonard Farley, a pro se litigant, (hereinafter,
"Plaintiff") filed a complaint against Defendant Keebler Company
(hereinafter, "Keebler") for allegedly violating the Equal Pay
Act (the "EPA") and Title VII. Keebler filed a Motion to Dismiss
the Plaintiff's EPA claim (the "Motion").
Instead of responding to the Motion, Plaintiff filed an
"Amended Complaint" on July 11, 2005. The filing seeks to
reinstate International Union Local 1 as a Defendant
(hereinafter, the "Union"). The Court has already dismissed the
Union from this action and Plaintiff is not granted leave to file
his Amended Complaint. The Motion is straightforward and the
Court does not need response or reply briefs to resolve it.
Under Federal Rules of Procedure 8(a), a plaintiff must set out
in the complaint a short statement of the grounds on which
jurisdiction depends, a succinct statement of the claim, and a demand for relief. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a). This pleading
standard is liberal, and "is the starting point of a simplified
pleading system, which was adopted to focus litigation on the
merits of a claim." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506,
514 (2002). Its purpose is to provide notice of a claim and a
"complaint `need not spell out every element of a legal theory'
to provide notice." Scott v. City of Chicago, 195 F.3d 950, 951
(7th Cir. 1999) (citation omitted).
The Motion asserts that Plaintiff failed to plead a prime
facie case of wage discrimination. To state a prime facie
claim of wage discrimination, a plaintiff must show that (1)
higher wages were paid to a member of the opposite sex; (2) for
equal work requiring similar skill, effort, and responsibility;
and (3) the work was performed under similar conditions. See
Stopka v. Alliance of Am. Ins., 141 F.3d 681, 685 (7th Cir.
1998). Keebler argues that Plaintiff has failed to satisfy prongs
two and three of this test.
In his complaint, Plaintiff provides a statement of federal
jurisdiction and makes a demand for relief. He also makes a
succinct statement of his EPA claim Ms. Jackson, a female
co-worker, received a higher hourly pay rate than he did
($11.20/hour versus $10.38/hour) despite that fact that Plaintiff
was employed longer than Ms. Jackson. While Defendant is correct
that Plaintiff has not specifically alleged that Ms. Jackson
performed equal work under similar conditions, he did specify that she is a co-worker
of his at Keebler. Plaintiff is pro se and "district courts
have a special responsibility to construe pro se complaints
liberally." Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 95 F.3d 548,
555 (7th Cir. 1996). The Court concludes that Plaintiff's
pleading is sufficient to provide Defendant with notice of his
EPA claim, and that it satisfies the liberal notice pleading
standards of FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a). Accordingly, Defendant
Keebler's Motion is DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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