IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION
September 2, 2010
VERNETTA WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
NICASA NFP, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Vernetta Williams ("Williams") has filed a self-prepared Complaint of Employment Discrimination*fn1 against her ex-employer, which her case caption lists as "NICASA NFP" ("NICASA"*fn2 ), using the form of such Complaint provided by this District Court's Clerk's Office for pro se plaintiffs. Williams has accompanied her Complaint with two other documents, again using Clerk's-Office-supplied forms: an In Forma Pauperis Application ("Application") and a Motion for Appointment of Counsel ("Motion"). This memorandum opinion and order is being issued contemporaneously with the issuance of this Court's customary initial scheduling order.
To begin with, the Application demonstrates Williams' inability to pay the initial filing fee, so the Application is granted. In addition, the Motion reports a substantial number of efforts by Williams to obtain counsel on her own, and with all of those efforts having been unsuccessful, this Court has obtained the name of this member of the trial bar to provide Williams with legal representation pro bono publico:
Dennis H. Stefanowicz, Jr.
Holman & Stefanowicz, LLC 233 South Wacker Drive Suite 5620 Chicago IL 60606 (312)258-9700
To turn to the Complaint, this Court has noted that it was filed on September 1, 91 days after the June 2 date when Williams received EEOC's right-to-sue letter according to Complaint ¶8(b).*fn3 Like other courts, our Court of Appeals (and this Court following its lead) have found even one day's tardiness enough to require dismissal of a Title VII employment discrimination case unless the defendant does not raise the issue--but in this instance this Court finds Williams' lawsuit viable because her identification of alleged race-based discrimination in Complaint ¶9(e) invokes 42 U.S.C. §1981 ("Section 1981") as well as Title VII, and a Section 1981 claim is not subject to any administrative precondition (see, e.g., Tyson v. Gannett Co., 538 F.3d 781, 783 (7th Cir. 2008)).
Accordingly, in conjunction with the earlier-mentioned appointment of pro bono counsel, he will be expected (1) to arrange for service of process on NICASA and (2) to comply with the provisions of this Court's scheduling order in advance of the initial status hearing date. That should enable counsel for both parties to be present at that time to provide a progress report.