Name of Assigned Judge Amy J. St. Eve Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge than Assigned Judge
The Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss  without prejudice. The Court grants Phillips leave to file a Second Amended Complaint in accordance with this order and in compliance with her Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 obligations on or before 11/15/10. Status hearing set for 12/14/10 is stricken and reset to 11/23/10 at 8:30 a.m.
O [For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.
On August 9, 2010, Plaintiff Diane Phillips filed the present pro se Amended Complaint of Employment Discrimination against Defendant ITT Educational Services, Inc. ("ITT") based on violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. Before the Court is ITT's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss without prejudice. More specifically, because Phillips does not allege that she has a disability as defined by the ADA and because she fails to allege any background facts or circumstances that ITT had a reason to discriminate against her because she is American, the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss regarding Phillips' ADA claim and Title VII claim based on Phillips' national origin. The Court further grants Phillips leave to file a Second Amended Complaint in accordance with this order and in compliance with her Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 obligations on or before November 15, 2010.*fn1 Phillips' failure to do so may result in the dismissal of her ADA and national origin claims. Finally, the Court directs Phillips' attention the district court's self-help assistance program available to pro se litigants. Information on this program is found on the court's website at www.ilind.uscourts.gov.
"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be granted." Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). This short and plain statement must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957)). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007); McGowan v. Hulick, 612 F.3d 636, (7th Cir. 2010) (courts accept factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor). Finally, Courts construe pro se pleadings liberally. See McGee v. Bartow, 593 F.3d 556, 565-66 (7th Cir. 2010).
Construing her pro se Amended Complaint liberally, Phillips alleges that in September 2009 she applied for the position of Adjunct Professor at ITT Technical Institute's School of Criminal Justice. (R. 22-1, Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) In October 2009, Phillips presented a lecture at a seminar conducted by ITT as part of the application for the Adjunct Professor opening. (Id.) In particular, Phillips presented a mock lecture or "Chalk Board Exercise" entitled "The Facts Associated with How the United States Congress Functions, As Illustrated by the Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety Through Recidivism Prevention." (Id.) Phillips also alleges that following the seminar, Dr. Eric Walker offered her the Adjunct Professor position contingent on the approval of Dr. Gayla Audia, Dean of the Academic Affairs Department. (Id.)
Phillips further maintains that Dr. Audia "stripped Walker of all his authority" to hire her and acted "intentionally, with malice" and "a clear discriminatory animus, when she reneged on the proprietary school's promise to employ [her] as an Adjunct Professor, in violation" of the "federal civil and human rights laws that were enacted by U.S. Congress and enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission." (Id. ¶ 3.) Philips further alleges that ITT treated other candidates for the Adjunct Professor position, who were not members of a protected class, more favorably because ITT hired these candidates. (Id. ¶ 4.)
On March 9, 2009, Phillips filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") alleging that ITT discriminated against her based on her race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability. (R. 1-1, Appendix at 31, EEOC Charge.) Specifically, Phillips states that she believes she was discriminated against "because of my race, Black, sex, Female, national-origin-American, color, Dark Skinned, and religion, Christian, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended." (Id.) Further, Phillips maintains that "I believe I have been discriminated against because of my age, 58 [ ], in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967." (Id.) Phillips also states in her EEOC charge that "I believe I have been discriminated against because of my disability, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended." (Id.) On March 19, 2010, the EEOC issued Phillips a right to sue letter. (Appendix at 30, 3/19/10 Right to Sue Letter.)*fn2