Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Holliday v. WSIE 88.7 FM Radio Station

December 7, 2005


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge


A. Factual and Procedural History

From January 1994 until her termination in March 2003, pro se plaintiff L.D. Holliday worked as a disk jockey for WSIE-FM, a radio station owned and operated by the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University governing Southern Illinois University Edwardsville ("SIUE Board"). In April 2004, Holliday filed suit in this Court, naming the SIUE Board and WSIE-FM radio station as her "employer"/defendant. The sole legal claim alleged by Holliday in her complaint was premised uponTitle VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII").

On August 2, 2004, prior to service of the complaint, Holliday filed an amended complaint, alleging several additional claims for relief. Holliday's amended complaint contains eight counts. Counts I -- V are brought against Holliday's "employer," whom she pleads as collectively consisting of WSIE-FM, SIUE, and the Board of Trustees of SIU ("SIU Board") (Doc. 5, ¶¶ 5-9). Although Holliday chose to name each of these three entities as separate defendants, WSIE-FM is "wholly owned and operated by the [SIUE Board]," which is simply that contingent of the SIU Board that manages specifically the affairs of SIUE (Doc. 5, ¶¶ 5, 8). Accordingly, this Court construes Counts I -- V as directed towards the party that requires denomination for Holliday's claims, the SIUE Board. See generally 110 ILCS 520/7 (Board of trustees has the power to sue and be sued). Accord Hoffman v. Yack, 57 Ill.App.3d 744, 747 (Ill. App. Ct. 1978).

Count I alleges that the SIUE Board discriminated against Holliday based on her gender and seeks redress pursuant to Title VII. Count II alleges that the Board discriminated against Holliday based on her race (African-American) and seeks relief under Title VII. Count III asserts that the SIUE Board's discrimination violated the Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. ("ADA"). Count IV alleges that the SIUE Board's actions entitle Holliday to redress pursuant to the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). Finally, Count V alleges that the Board unlawfully retaliated against Holliday in contravention of Title VII, the ADA, and the Equal Pay Act ("EPA").

In addition to those claims brought against the SIUE Board, Holliday's amended complaint contains three separate counts (Counts VI -- VIII) premised upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Holliday asserts these counts against the six "managing agents for [the SIUE Board]" -- David Werner, Sharon Hahs, Kent Neely, Angelo Monaco, Franklin Akers, and Tom Dehner -- in both their official and individual capacities. Count VI alleges that the six individuals engaged in conduct motivated by Holliday's race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Count VII asserts that Holliday is entitled to relief, because the conduct of the six individuals was motivated by her gender and "constituted a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment ..." (Doc. 5, ¶ 69). Count VIII is nearly identical to Count VII, asserting a violation of Holliday's equal protection rights but asserting more specifically a violation of her "right to be free from gender discrimination" (Doc. 5, ¶ 78).

Now before this Court is the "Defendants' Renewed Motion to Dismiss" (Doc. 52) filed April 1, 2005 by the SIUE Board and each of the six individual "managing agents" (collectively "Defendants").*fn1

B. Standard of Review

Defendants' various arguments for dismissal are premised on FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).

Dismissal Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) provides for dismissal of claims over which the federal court lacks subject matter jurisdiction. Jurisdiction is the "power to decide" and must be conferred upon a federal court. See In re Chicago, Rock Island & Pac. R. R. Co., 794 F.2d 1182, 1188 (7th Cir. 1986). In reviewing a 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, a district court may look beyond the complaint and view any extraneous evidence submitted by the parties to determine whether subject matter jurisdiction exists. See United Transp. Union v. Gateway Western Ry. Co., 78 F.3d 1208, 1210 (7th Cir. 1996). When a plaintiff files suit in federal court, that plaintiff bears the burden of establishing that the jurisdictional requirements have been met. See Kontos v. United States Dept. of Labor, 826 F.2d 573, 576 (7th Cir. 1987). When a party moves for dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), the nonmoving party must support its allegations with competent proof of jurisdictional facts. See Thomson v. Gaskill, 315 U.S. 442, 446 (1942).

Dismissal Pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) governs motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the Court accepts the plaintiff's allegations as true, and construes all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof. Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is warranted only when "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle to him to relief." Mattice v. Memorial Hosp. Of South Bend, Inc., 249 F.3d 682, 684 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). Accord Hishon, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is appropriate only if "it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations.").

Under the liberal notice pleading requirements of the federal rules, all that is required to state a claim "is a short statement, in plain ... English, of the legal claim." Kirksey v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 168 F.3d 1039, 1041 (7th Cir. 1999). Thus, Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal should be denied, "if any facts that might be established within those allegations would permit a judgment for the plaintiff." Duda v. Board of Education of Franklin Park Public School District No. 84, 133 F.3d 1054, 1057 (7th Cir. 1998).

C. Analysis

In their motion to dismiss, Defendants assert seven arguments for dismissal. The Court considers each in turn.

Holliday's ADA Claims

Defendants first argue that Holliday's ADA claims in Counts III and V are barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. Consequently, Defendants assert, this Court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate these claims and should dismiss them pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1).

The Eleventh Amendment acts as a jurisdictional bar to suits against a state in federal court, absent that state's consent to the suit. Edelman v. Jordan, 415 U.S. 651, 678 (1974). The Amendment reads, in part: the "Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the States by citizens of another State..." U.S. CONST. amend. XI. Although the text of the Amendment refers only to suits brought against "States," the Supreme Court has long held that this reference encompasses not only actions in which a State is actually named as a defendant, but also actions against state agents and state instrumentalities. Regents of the Univ. Of California v. Doe, 519 U.S. 425, 429 (1997), citing Smith v. Reeves, 178 U.S. 436, 438-439 (1900); Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury of Ind., 323 U.S. 459 (1945). SIU and the SIUE Board are recognized as state instrumentalities under Illinois law. See Yack, 57 Ill.App.3d at 747 ("[a] state university and its Board of Trustees are arms of the State and are not independent or autonomous of the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.