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Collins v. State

March 27, 2007

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

On January 12, 2007, the Plaintiff filed her fourth amended complaint. Pending before the Court are several motions.

(1)

Defendant Jesse White, Secretary of State and the State Librarian for the State of Illinois, has moved to strike portions of the Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint. The Defendant alleges that paragraphs 1, 2 and 9 of the fourth amended complaint seek to recover for damages caused by the 2002 transfer of Plaintiff from the library. Claims related to this transfer have been dismissed by this Court, and that dismissal was affirmed in the Seventh Circuit's Order of March 4, 2005. In her response to the motion the Plaintiff states, "It is clear that these Pleadings are directed at the Union Defendants." Thus, the Plaintiff has acknowledged that none of these paragraphs are directed at any of the State Defendants.

The Defendant also alleges that paragraphs 4 and 13 raise new allegations that are outside the scope of the Seventh Circuit's order on remand. Paragraph 4 states:

Defendant State of Illinois and Illinois Secretary of State took Plaintiff double time her salary life insurance policy away from Plaintiff after Plaintiff injured her back while driving back from an authorized East St. Louis trip on February 23, 2002. Plaintiff doesn't believe that comparatives have lost this benefit due to work related injury.

Defendant was forced to move her office when she returned to work from her February 23, 2002 back injury on [sic] thus reinsured [sic] her back on April 10, 2002.

As the Defendant notes, it does not appear that the Plaintiff has raised this allegation previously. The Plaintiff does not even assert that she has raised the allegation. She states only that the claim occurred during the time frame of the complaint and is clearly within its scope. Because Plaintiff did not receive leave of court to add this allegation, the Court will strike paragraph 4 of her fourth amended complaint.

Paragraph 13 states, "On March 6, 2003, Plaintiff, Pro Se, Margaret Collins was forced to go without lunch because she had a patron and no one to replace her for lunch or break." The Defendant notes that the Plaintiff's third amended complaint included allegations about missing break times. Once again, the Plaintiff claims this occurred during the time frame and is within the scope of the complaint. Because the allegation goes beyond the scope of the Seventh Circuit's order on remand and because it previously has been stricken when Plaintiff did not obtain permission, the Court will strike paragraph 13 of the Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint.

(2)

State Defendants Jean Wilkins and Kathy Bloomberg have also moved to dismiss the Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint. Wilkins and Bloomberg are, respectively, the Illinois State Library's Director and Associate Director. These Defendants are Plaintiff's supervisors, but are not employers for purposes of Title VII. In support of their motion, the Defendants note that Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint consists of a single count brought under Title VII. Because the claims against these Defendants in their official capacities are identical to the claims against the Illinois Secretary of State and State Library, the proper Defendant for purposes of Title VII, Wilkins and Bloomberg request that the claims against them in their official capacities be dismissed with prejudice.

The Defendants acknowledge that although the Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint contains only one specific count made pursuant to Title VII, Plaintiff does make references to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and the First and Fourteenth Amendments. However, she does not indicate which claims are directed at which Defendants, in violation of the Court's previous order. The Defendants request that these claims be stricken on that basis. In the alternative, to the extent that the claims against them are not dismissed in their entirety, Wilkins and Bloomberg request the same relief as the Illinois Secretary of State and Librarian--that paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 9 and 13 be stricken.

The Plaintiff cannot maintain Title VII claims against her supervisors. To the extent that Plaintiff's fourth amended complaint alleges Title VII claims against Wilkins and Bloomberg, those claims are stricken. Given that the complaint at least mentioned sections 1981 and 1983, however, in deference to the Plaintiff's pro se status, the Court declines to strike those additional claims--even though Plaintiff violated the Court's previous order by failing to specify which claims are directed at which Defendants. At some point, this case has to move forward. However, the ...


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