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Williams v. Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers

August 21, 2007

JIMMY V. WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PEPSI-COLA GENERAL BOTTLERS, INC. DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jimmy Williams filed an amended complaint against Pepsi-Cola General Bottlers, Inc. ("PCGB") asserting race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. PCGB moves to dismiss as time-barred the race discrimination claim. It also seeks to strike the remainder of the complaint for failure to comply with Rule 10(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part PCGB's motion.

I. Background

For purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court takes as true the allegations in Williams' first amended complaint and also considers the documents attached to the first amended complaint.

Williams' employment with PCGB PCGB hired Williams, an African-American man, in December 2005. Williams worked as a dock worker and forklift operator on a contract basis. He was paid a lower hourly wage than full-time employees were paid.

In the spring of 2006, PCGB promoted other contract employees to full-time employment. Williams alleges that these individuals were less qualified than he and that they were not African-American. Williams further alleges that when he asked why he was passed over, PCGB managers told him that it was "a white man's world" and that they did not want any "Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King types trying to rally the brothers." Based on these incidents, on August 8, 2006, Williams filed a charge of race discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").

On August 23, 2006, PCGB informed Williams that he was being hired as a full-time employee, subject to a 60-day probationary period. At the end of the 60-day probationary period, PCGB terminated Williams' employment. On October 30, 2006, Williams filed a second charge of discrimination with the EEOC, this time asserting that he was discharged in retaliation for filing the earlier charge of discrimination.

Williams's Litigation

On August 23, 2006, Williams received from the EEOC his notice of right to sue on the August 8, 2006 charge of discrimination. On November 22, 2006, Williams presented the Clerk of Court with his complaint and a petition to proceed in forma pauperis. The Court granted the petition to proceed in forma pauperis. On or about February 10, 2007, Williams received from the EEOC,, his notice of right to sue on the October 30, 2006 charge of discrimination. Williams filed on May 4, 2007 a first amended complaint, in which he added a claim for retaliation.

II. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

The Court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. McCullah v. Gadert, 344 F.3d 655, 657 (7th Cir. 2003). A complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). A complaint need not provide detailed factual allegations, but mere conclusions and a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" will not suffice. Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-1965. A complaint must include enough factual allegations to "raise a right to relief above a speculative level." Twombley, 127 S.Ct. at 1965.

In considering a motion to dismiss, a court may not consider matters outside the pleadings without converting the motion to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). The pleadings include documents attached to the complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).

III. Discussion

Title VII sets out administrative requirements that must be met before one may file a discrimination complaint in federal court. The Supreme Court has explained that "strict adherence to the procedural requirements specified by the legislature is the best guarantee of evenhanded administration of the law." National R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 108 (2002) (quoting Mohasco Corp. v. Silver, 447 U.S. 807, 826 (1980))."[P]rocedural requirements established by Congress for gaining access to the federal courts are not to be disregarded by courts out of a vague sympathy for ...


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