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Collins v. State

December 8, 2006

MARGARET J. COLLINS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS; ILLINOIS SECRETARY OF STATE AND STATE LIBRARIAN, JESSE WHITE; ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY; JEAN WILKINS, DIRECTOR OF ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY, INDIVIDUALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY; KATHLEEN BLOOMBERG, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF ILLINOIS STATE LIBRARY, INDIVIDUALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY; ILLINOIS FEDERATION OF TEACHERS; JEAN REEDER; AND GARY LEACH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge

OPINION

This case is before the Court on the motion of some Defendants to strike and/or dismiss the Plaintiff's third amended complaint or for a more definite statement.

I. BACKGROUND

The motion before the Court is brought by Defendants State of Illinois, Illinois State Library, Illinois Secretary of State, Jesse White, Jean Wilkins, and Kathy Bloomberg. Plaintiff Margaret Collins is an African-American employee of the Illinois State Library, which is a Department of the Secretary of State. The Illinois Secretary of State is Jesse White. Jean Wilkins is the library's Director; Kathleen Bloomberg is its Associate Director. The Plaintiff is a member of Union Defendant, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, of which Union Defendant Jean Reeder is a field representative and Union Defendant Gary Leach is the Director.

The State Defendants' motion was filed on September 19, 2006. Although the Plaintiff requested and was given an extension of time until November 24, 2006 in which to file a response to the motion, she did not file a response.

In an Order dated March 4, 2005, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit remanded this case for consideration of the following claims asserted by the Plaintiff: (1) her three-day suspension in December 2003; (2) low scores on performance evaluations; (3) assignment of duties which were inappropriate for her position; (4) denial of credit for overtime; (5) placement on proof status at various times; (6) denial of promotional opportunities; (7) receipt of punishment more severe than similarly situated co-workers; and (8) restricted use of technical staff. This Court directed the Plaintiff to file an amended complaint consistent with the Seventh Circuit's mandate. The Plaintiff then filed a five-count second amended complaint wherein she alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII); Title VI; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution.

The State Defendants note that, more specifically, the Plaintiff has alleged that since being transferred, she had many of her job classification responsibilities and privileges taken away from her and was assigned some clerical tasks, such as shelving books. Moreover, the Plaintiff contends that the Library refused to allow her to attend the meetings of the Illinois Systems and Directors and the Illinois State Library Committee. Finally, the Plaintiff claims that the Defendants discriminated and/or retaliated against her by (1) curtailing her travel; (2) not allowing her to perform duties as set forth in her job description; (3) disciplining her more harshly than similarly situated Caucasian employees; (4) giving her verbal and written warnings; (5) not permitting her to use technical staff; (6) giving her a negative performance evaluation; (7) denying her the opportunity to receive overtime or flex time; (8) placing her on proof status; and (9) imposing a three-day suspension against her, effective December 16-18, 2003.*fn1

The State Defendants note that in an Order entered on January 27, 2006, this Court granted in part their previous motion to dismiss. Specifically, the Court struck claims related to the 1998 and 1999 suspensions, the 2000 written warning, the 2002 transfer from the library, the Title VII claims against her supervisors in their individual capacities, the ADA claims, and the section 1983 claims against the State.

On August 4, 2006, the Plaintiff was granted leave to file an "Amended Complaint joining the Local Labor Union and the National Labor Union." The State Defendants assert that the Plaintiff's third amended complaint re-alleges all of the allegations in the second amended complaint, including those that were struck by the Court's January 27, 2006 Order. The Plaintiff also added several new allegations against the State Defendants, including that her daughter was not permitted to use the Patent Trademark Deposition Library, that Plaintiff frequently misses breaks, and that Plaintiff was interviewed by an SOS police officer.

II. ANALYSIS

(A)

In considering a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a court accepts the allegations in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Ledford v. Sullivan, 105 F.3d 354, 356 (7th Cir. 1997). A complaint should not be dismissed unless "it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Id. (citations omitted). A plaintiff basically needs only to plead claims for relief. See Doe v. Smith, 429 F.3d 706, 708 (7th Cir. 2005). "[F]actual details and legal arguments come later." Id.

(B)

The State Defendants articulate several reasons why the Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed or stricken. First, they claim that the complaint should be stricken in its entirety because the Plaintiff continues to improperly raise claims which are beyond the scope of the Seventh Circuit's mandate and have been stricken by the Court, and the Court has not granted her leave to add new allegations. Second, the State Defendants allege that the Plaintiff's Title VII claims are time-barred, an assertion that the Court has already rejected. Third, the State Defendants contend that allegations in the subject complaint relating to denial of overtime, denial of vacation and sick time, the three-day suspension, the Plaintiff's daughter's access to the library, and the interview by the SOS police are beyond the scope of the prior EEOC charges. Fourth, the Plaintiff failed to obtain a right-to-sue letter from the EEOC with respect to race discrimination claims occurring after March 31, 2003. Fifth, the Plaintiff's claims relating to the June 2002 reprimand and denial of overtime are barred by res judicata and collateral estoppel. Sixth, the Plaintiff's ADA, section 1981 and section 1983 claims against the State of Illinois, the State Library, and Defendants White, Bloomberg and Wilkins for acts within their official capacity are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Seventh, Plaintiff's claims against Defendants White, Bloomberg and Wilkins are insufficient as a matter of law because those individuals are not employers under section 1981, Title VII ...


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