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Chambers v. Arun Enterprises

September 19, 2005

SANDRA ANN CHAMBERS PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARUN ENTERPRISES, INC., ET AL. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Sandra Ann Chambers ("Chambers") filed a nineteen-count complaint alleging various federal and state law claims against Arun Enterprises, Inc. and its officers ("Arun Parties"), the Law Offices of Kameli & Associates, P.C. and its officers ("Kameli Law Offices"), and the City of Chicago. Presently before this Court are the motions of the Arun Parties and Kameli Law Offices ("Movants") to dismiss this action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, Movants' motions are DENIED.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND*fn1

From December 2003 through September 2004, the Plaintiff rented space from Headrest Unisex in and around the 1 Quincy Court building at 220 South State Street. Difficulties began when the building's security officers, employees of Arun Enterprises Ltd. ("Arun") named Brian Leonard and Theodore Collie, became upset with Chambers's reluctance to support their efforts to have a supervisor, Lateresa Chantler, removed. In retaliation, the two officers began to harass the Plaintiff and limit her access to the building. When the Plaintiff approached Arun supervisors with this problem they were initially receptive, but when she mentioned that her only other recourse was to file a lawsuit they became confrontational. Additional parties in the building, such as Raynie Jackson, became motivated to help remove the perceived troublemaker. An offer to rent a different space in the building was rejected and the Plaintiff was physically prevented from recovering her belongings. At this point, her efforts to have police assist her were thwarted by Kameli Law Offices, which helped portray her as having been properly evicted from the premises. All named parties prevented, or were associated with those who prevented, Plaintiff from accessing the spaces in which she had previously worked, or from renting additional space of her own.

In November, 2005, Chambers filed the instant case under § 1331 subject matter jurisdiction. The Complaint as it now stands contains eleven counts,*fn2 all of which are brought against all defendants in their individual and official capacities, except for Theodore Collie and Phil Cline, against whom claims are brought only in their individual capacities. Due to the denial of a commercial lease, restriction of building access, and seizure of property without due process, by which Defendants retaliated against the Plaintiff, she now brings the following claims:

Count 1: Racial and Gender Discrimination under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1981

Count 2: Discriminatory Infringement on Property Rights under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1982

Counts 3-7: Denial of Constitutionally-protected Rights under 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983

Counts 8-10: Denial of Constitutionally-protected Rights under the 14th Amendment

Count 11: Conspiracy to Deny Civil Rights under 42 § U.S.C.A. 1985

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Movants assert that the Plaintiff fails to state a claim on which relief can be granted. They contend that there is no basis by which an intent to discriminate could be inferred from the alleged actions of the Defendants, and that there is no factual basis for state action or color of law by which § 1983 or 14th Amendment protections can be invoked. Plaintiff disagrees, stating that her complaint complies with the notice pleading standard and the liberal interpretation appropriate for a pro se plaintiff's complaint.

II. STANDARDS

On a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations in the plaintiff's complaint as true. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The purpose of a 12(b)(6) motion is to decide the adequacy of the complaint, not to determine the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). A complaint should not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond all 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). Any ambiguities are construed in favor of the plaintiff. Curtis v. Bembenek, 48 F.3d 281, 283 (7th Cir. 1995). However, the court need "not strain to find inferences favorable to the plaintiffs which are not apparent on the face of th[e] . . . complaint." Coates v. Illinois State Bd. of Ed., 559 F.2d 445, 447 (7th Cir. 1977).

A complaint that complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure cannot be dismissed because it fails to allege facts. The Rules require simply that the complaint state a claim, rather than plead facts that would establish the validity of that claim. Higgs v. Carver, 286 F.3d 437, 439 (7th Cir. 2002). "All that need be specified are the bare minimum facts necessary to put the defendant on notice of the claim so that he can file an answer. Id. (citing Beanstalk Group, Inc. v. AM General Corp., 283 F.3d 856, 863 (7th Cir. 2002)). The Seventh Circuit has ruled that stating a claim in federal court requires only "a short statement, in plain (that is, non-legalistic) English, of the legal claim." Kirksey v. ...


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