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Gregory Douglas v. Patrick Quinn

December 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge

Tuesday, 14 December, 2010 03:47:22 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION Plaintiff Gregory Douglas (Douglas) is an employee of the State of Illinois (the State) who has sued Defendants Patrick Quinn, Erin Davis, Lisa Madigan, James Sledge, Barry Maram and Erwin McEwen (the Defendants) for injuries arising from his failure to be promoted. The Defendants are the Governor of Illinois, the State Attorney General and various State employees. They have collectively filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (d/e 28)(Motion). For the reasons stated below, the Defendants' Motion is ALLOWED.


Douglas alleges that he is a 53-year old "Native American man" who has been employed by the State since 2001. He was transferred to Central Management Services (CMS), a State agency, in 2001. In 2005, Douglas applied for jobs within CMS, and three other State agencies: Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS), Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS).

According to Douglas, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) International Labor Agreement (hereinafter the Agreement) was "the Law" with respect to job qualifications. See Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (d/e 23) (Amended Complaint), at Ex. 1, p. 9 (Douglas' April 6, 2006, email to Mr. Huertas) and p. 11 (Douglas' May 1, 2006, Letter to P. Campbell).*fn1 The Agreement stated that: "[s]election for promotion and/or voluntary reduction shall be in the following order of priority from among employees certified in their current position classification . . . ." Id. at Ex. 1, p. 11, Item 4.

When the jobs Douglas sought were ultimately filled by outside consultants who were not current State employees, Douglas sent emails and letters to numerous people complaining about this "violation" of the Agreement. See, i.e., Amended Complaint, at Ex. 1., p. 11. Douglas asserts that he had a duty under his "Ethics Training" to disclose "violations" of the Agreement. Id. at p. 9 (April 6, 2006, email to Mr. Huertas). However, while he sent emails and letters about alleged violations of the Agreement to numerous people, there is nothing in the record to show that he contacted any of the Defendants.

Following Douglas' complaints, DCFS director Barry Maram suspended him for fifteen days. See Amended Complaint, at p. 3. Douglas contends that he was suspended because he spoke out about the "illegal activities" -- unspecified instances of "theft, fraud, gambling" and a cover up. See Amended Complaint, at pp. 1, 3. He contends that Maram issued the 15-day suspension in retaliation for his disclosures. Id. at p. 3. However, other than Maram's signature on the suspension, Douglas provides nothing to show that any Defendant knew about his complaints or suspension. Still, he claims that all the Defendants are liable for violations of the First, Seventh and Fourteenth Amendments as well as violations of the "Whistle Blowers Act" and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. See Amended Complaint, at pp. 1, 3-4.


The federal questions posed by Douglas' claims give this Court subject matter jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Personal jurisdiction and venue requirements are satisfied because the relevant acts occurred in this judicial district. See World-Wide Volkswagen Corp. v. Woodson, 444 U.S. 286, 297 (1980) (personal jurisdiction exists where a defendant "purposefully avail[ed] [himself or herself] of the privilege of conducting activities" in the forum state); see 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) (venue in non-diversity cases is proper in a judicial district where any defendant resides, if all defendants reside in the same State).


When reviewing a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a court looks at the sufficiency of the complaint, not whether the plaintiff has a winning claim. McCormick v. City of Chicago, 230 F.3d 319, 323-26 (7th Cir.2000). Still, a complaint must do more than merely "avoid foreclosing possible bases for relief." Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008)(quotation omitted). It "must actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (quotation omitted). "Rule 12(b)(6) should be employed only when the complaint does not present a legal claim." Smith v. Cash Store Mgmt., Inc., 195 F.3d 325, 327 (7th Cir.1999)(quotation omitted).


Douglas filed his original Complaint on December 2, 2009, and subsequently filed Plaintiff's June 30, 2010, Amended Complaint. See d/e 1 and 23, respectively. "[W]hen a plaintiff files an amended complaint, the new complaint supersedes all previous complaints and controls the case from ...

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