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Lutes v. Loni Corporation

May 14, 2010

NAOMI LUTES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LONI CORPORATION, INC., DOING BUSINESS AS RED APPLE RESTAURANTS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Loni Corporation, Inc.'s (hereinafter "Loni") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 4). Specifically, Loni seeks a dismissal of Count I, alleging quid pro quo sexual harassment, and Count II, alleging hostile work environment, of the operative Complaint (Doc. 2). Plaintiff Naomi Lutes (hereinafter "Lutes") filed a Response (Doc. 9), to which Loni filed a Reply (Doc. 12).

For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the instant motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Facts

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, courts must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Tricontinental Indus., Ltd. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 475 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2007). The Court, accepting all of Lutes' factual allegations as true and drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor, finds as follows:

In 1997, Loni, doing business as Red Apple Restaurants, hired Lutes as a waitress at its Maryville, Illinois location. Although Lutes would excel in this position, her tenure with Loni was less than pleasant.

Shortly after starting at the restaurant, Lutes became the subject of harassment, sexual comments, and physically unwanted touching by most of her male co-workers. On a daily basis, the restaurant's male employees made sexually derogatory comments, slapped the female employees, including Lutes, on the buttocks, and generally demeaned their female counterparts. This conduct was solely motivated by gender, as evidenced by the fact that no comparable action was taken against any male employee. The harassment of Lutes reached new heights on April 4, 2009, when she was working with a male dishwasher named Muhammed Beluli (hereinafter "Beluli"). While in the kitchen together, Beluli, without warning and without consent, inserted his finger into Lutes' body. Lutes was forced to quit the restaurant nine days later.

During Lutes' twelve-year career with Loni, her direct supervisor was Adem Rushiti (hereinafter "Rushiti"), the manager of the Maryville restaurant. Despite the fact that the aforesaid harassment was common knowledge at Loni and despite the fact that Lutes continuously reported said conduct to Rushiti, who personally witnessed much of it, Rushiti chose not to discipline the antagonists. Lutes eventually decided to take matters into her own hands and bring legal action against Loni.

II. Relevant Procedural Posture

On April 21, 2009, Lutes filed a charge of discrimination form with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (hereinafter "EEOC"). (See Doc. 2-2). Following completion of the administrative process, Lutes received a right to sue notice from the EEOC.

On January 25, 2010, Lutes timely filed a lawsuti with this Court, alleging various claims against Loni under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (hereinafter "Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Specifically, Lutes alleges the following three claims: quid pro quo sexual harassment (Count I); hostile work environment (Count II), and; negligent supervision (Count III). Shortly thereafter, Loni filed the instant motion to dismiss, which seeks to dismiss Counts I and II with prejudice. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) serves as the basis of said motion for purported failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

ANALYSIS

Following a general overview of the law governing motions to dismiss and federal notice pleading, the Court will delve into the relevant law surrounding quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment claims, especially in the context ...


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