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Riley-Jackson v. Casino Queen

May 15, 2008


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


I. Introduction

On September 4, 2007, Plaintiffs filed a three-count employment discrimination action against Defendant, Casino Queen, Inc., under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., as amended, the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/1-109, et seq., and under state common law based upon this Court's pendent jurisdiction. The action now proceeds on Plaintiffs' second amended complaint ("the complaint"), filed November 12, 2007, which contains 151 counts.

Plaintiffs, who are African-American employees and former employees of Defendant, allege that they were subjected to unlawful racial discrimination, harassment and a hostile work environment as a result of Defendant's unlawful conduct. Plaintiffs seek an award of compensatory damages for past and future pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses. Plaintiffs also seek punitive damages.

Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiffs' complaint, filed November 12, 2007, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 26). Defendant also asserts that Plaintiffs have failed to meet the factual requirements of notice-pleading under FED. RULE CIV. P. 8(a). The matter is fully brief and ready for disposition.

II. Applicable Legal Standards

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) and 12(b)(6) govern motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim. To satisfy the notice pleading requirements of Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint need only include a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief. In other words, a plaintiff must provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief by saying enough "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, -- U.S. --, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965-66 (2007).

In Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, the United States Supreme Court "retooled federal pleading standards," and retired the oft-incanted standard from Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957), that a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appeared "beyond doubt" that the plaintiff could prove "no set of facts in support of his claim" which would entitle him to relief. Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007).

In assessing whether a complaint states a claim upon which relief can be granted (thereby escaping Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal), the district court accepts all well-pleaded allegations as true and draws all favorable inferences in plaintiff's favor. Id.See also Erickson v. Pardus, -- U.S. --, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007).

Bell Atlantic called into question dicta contained in (and abrogated the holdings of) cases such as Kolupa v. Roselle Park District, 438 F.3d 713, 715 (7th Cir. 2006), which had declared Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal proper only "when it would be necessary to contradict the complaint in order to prevail on the merits."*fn1 No longer does it suffice for a complaint to avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief; the complaint must indicate that the plaintiff has a right to relief. EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 777 (7th Cir. 2007).

Specific facts are not necessary for a complaint to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Jervis v. Mitcheff, -- F.3d --, 2007 WL 4355433 (7th Cir. Dec. 13, 2007). But labels and conclusions alone will not suffice. Rather, the complaint must contain enough facts to state a claim that is plausible on its face, and the complaint must give the defendants "fair notice" of the grounds on which plaintiff's claim rests. Killingsworth, 507 F.3d at 618.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) requires a court to dismiss an action when it lacks subject matter jurisdiction.United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chemical Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003). "If subject matter jurisdiction is not evident on the face of the complaint, the motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) would be analyzed as any other motion to dismiss, by assuming for purposes of the motion that the allegations in the complaint are true." Id. The burden of proof in regards to a Rule 12(b)(1) motion is "on the party asserting jurisdiction." Id. (citing Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass'n, 549 F.2d 884 (3d Cir. 1977).

III. Analysis

A. Timely Filing of EEOC Charges (Counts III, XI, XVI, ...

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