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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Phil Vinar Furniture

March 9, 2010

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PHIL VINAR FURNITURE, INC., D/B/A ASHLEY FURNITURE HOMESTORE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

Now before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss by Defendant Phil Vinar Furniture, Inc., d/b/a/Ashley Furniture Homestore ("Ashley Furniture"). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#7] is DENIED.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343 (a)(4), as the claims asserted in the Complaint present federal questions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq ("Title VII") and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12112(d) and 12203(a) ("ADA").

BACKGROUND

Jacqueline Foster ("Foster") filed charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") against Ashley Furniture, alleging violations of the American with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Plaintiff then commenced this lawsuit, specifically asserting that Defendant subjected Foster to harassment because of her disability and refused to provide her a reasonable accommodation, discriminated against Foster and a class of female employees by subjecting them to harassment because of their sex, retaliated against Foster for engaging in protected activity, refused to hire a class of African-American and Hispanic applicants because of their race and national origin, and violated Title VII record keeping requirements.

Ashley Furniture has now moved to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The matter is fully briefed, and this Order follows.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint 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." E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). The court must evaluate whether the Complaint includes "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face". Hecker, 556 F.3d at 580. (citations omitted). For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff; its well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and all reasonably-drawn inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).

DISCUSSION

Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Complaint is so conclusory and lacking in factual basis that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted based on the pleading standards articulated in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). Ashley Furniture states that upholding the sufficiency of the Complaint would "strip the Defendant of important procedural protections against expensive, time consuming, and complex litigation where many of the allegations concern persons and issues which were never even part of the original charge against the Defendant". (Def. Mem at 3). Ashley Furniture specifically attacks the following sections of the Complaint:

7. More than thirty (30) days prior to the institution of this lawsuit, Charging Partyfiled a charge of discrimination with the Commission alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the ADA by Defendant. All conditions precedent to the institution of this lawsuit have been fulfilled.

8. Since at least 2005, Defendant has engaged in unlawful employment practices at its store in Moline, Illinois, in violation of Title I of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ยง12112(d) and 42 U.S.C. ...


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