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Siddiqi v. Westaff

February 7, 2008

IDRIS IBRAHIM SIDDIQI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WESTAFF, INC., DAWN WIDEMAN AND MICHELLE SMITH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

On November 20, 2006, Idris Ibrahim Siddiqi ("Plaintiff") filed a pro se complaint in this Court against Westaff, Inc., Dawn Wideman and Michelle Smith ("Defendants"). (Doc. 2). . (Doc. 2). However, Plaintiff does not name any governmental entity in his complaint. (Doc. 2). On February 15, 2007, the Court entered an Order granting Plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis, but noted that while Plaintiff's complaint alleged that Defendants violated his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that, in fact, Plaintiff did not name any governmental entities in his complaint. The Court further noted that it appeared from the allegations in Plaintiff's complaint that Plaintiff was actually alleging that Defendants had discriminated against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. (Doc. 2). Despite this guidance from the Court, Plaintiff never sought to amend his complaint.

Now before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss filed on April 24, 2007. (Doc. 12.) Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion to dismiss on September 21, 2007 (Doc. 28), after this Court twice granted Plaintiff an extension of time to file his response.*fn1 (Docs. 24 and 26.) For the reasons set out below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 12.)

II. ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard

Previously, when ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), this Court assumed as true all facts well-pled plus the reasonable inferences therefrom and construed them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Fries v. Helsper, 146 F.3d 452, 457 (7th Cir. 1998). The question was whether, under those assumptions, the plaintiff would have a right to legal relief. This standard was articulated as such:

[U]nder 'simplified notice pleading,' ... the allegations of the complaint should be liberally construed, and the 'complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'

Lewis v. Local Union No. 100 of Laborers' Int'l Union, 750 F.2d 1368, 1373 (7th Cir. 1984) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 46-47 (1957)).

Just last year, the Seventh Circuit reiterated this liberal standard governing notice pleading:

Rule 8 was adopted in 1938, and Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed. 2d 80 (1957), stressed that it does not require fact pleading. It is disappointing to see a federal district judge dismiss a complaint for failure to adhere to a fact-pleading model that federal practice abrogated almost 70 years ago. As citations in the proceeding paragraphs show, however, this is among many similar dispositions that the Supreme Court and this court have encountered recently and been obliged to reverse.

Vincent v. City Colleges of Chicago, 485 F.3d 919, 924 (7th Cir. 2007) (footnote omitted); see also Duda v. Bd. of Educ. of Franklin Park Pub. Sch. Dist. No. 84, 133 F.3d 1054, 1057 (7th Cir. 1998); Kaplan v. Shure Brothers, Inc., 153 F.3d 413, 419 (7th Cir. 1998).

The Supreme Court, however, determined in a subsequent opinion issued on May 21, 2007, that Conley's famous "no set of facts" phrase "ha[d] earned its retirement." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, __ U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 (May 21, 2007). According to the Supreme Court, the threshold pleading requirement of FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 8 requires that a complaint allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face" in order to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. at 1974 (clarifying that a "heightened fact pleading of specifics" is not required) (emphasis added). In other words, the Supreme Court explained that it was "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief'" by providing "more than labels and conclusions," because "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do ..." Id. at 1964-65 (alteration in original) (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)). The plaintiff must plead factual allegations which show the right to relief exists beyond mere speculation by "rais[ing] a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" to substantiate the plaintiff's claims. Id. at 1965. Therefore, the Seventh Circuit has interpreted Bell Atlantic Corp. as imposing a two-prong test for a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion: (1) it "must describe the claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant 'fair notice' of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests" and (2) the "allegations must plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising the possibility above a 'speculative level.'" E.E.O.C. v. ...


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