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Jackson v. Northwestern University School of Law

December 15, 2010

JACKSON
v.
NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. than Assigned Judge

TITLE CASE DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons provided in this order, Defendant's motion to dismiss [18] is granted and Plaintiff's complaint [1, 7] is dismissed. Plaintiff is given until 1/7/2011 to inform the Court in writing whether she seeks leave to file an amended complaint.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff's complaint [1, 7] alleges that Defendant's refusal to admit her to its law school violated her rights under the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Federally Assisted Programs Act and Titles VI and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

On October 6, 2010, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss [18] pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Pursuant to this Court's order entered on October 7, 2010 [21], Plaintiff's response to Defendant's motion was due by November 4, 2010. Given that the deadline for a response passed more than a month ago and Plaintiff has not requested an extension of that deadline, the Court presumes that Plaintiff does not intend to file a response and therefore will proceed to a ruling on Defendant's motion.

I. Collateral Estoppel

In addition to the instant suit, Plaintiff has filed virtually identical complaints against six other law schools located in northern Illinois, all of whom denied her admission. (Def. Mot. To Supplement [22] at ¶ 2 and n.1) (citing Jackson v. DePaul College of Law (Case No. 10-CV-1982); Jackson v. Loyola University (Case No. 10-CV-1985); Jackson v. Chicago-Kent College of Law (Case No. 10-CV-1988); Jackson v. University of Chicago (Case No. 10-CV-1991); Jackson v. John Marshall Law School (Case No. 10-CV-1992); and Jackson v. Northern Illinois University (Case No. 10-CV-1994)). On November 9, 2010, Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her suit against Chicago-Kent College of Law (See doc. nos. 31, 32 in Case No. 10-CV-1988). Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her complaint against Northern Illinois University College of Law on December 7, 2010, after Judge Reinhard dismissed portions of that complaint with prejudice and others without prejudice (See doc. no. 33 in Case No. 10-CV-1994).

STATEMENT

The instant complaint filed against Northwestern is identical in all respects to the complaint filed against the University of Chicago except for the name of the defendant and the dates on which Plaintiff allegedly applied for admission and was rejected. (See Compl. [1], Compl., Jackson v. Univ. of Chi., No. 10-CV-1991 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 30, 2010)). On September 17, 2010, Judge Leinenweber dismissed Plaintiff's suit against the University of Chicago because Plaintiff alleged no "basis for her belief that [her gender, age, disability or race] factored in to the decision to deny her admission" and affirmatively alleged that defendant applied "normal admission standards" to her application and denied her admission because she had a low LSAT and a gap in her work history. (See Transcript of Proceedings in 10-CV-1991, at doc. no. [22]).

In light of Judge Leinenweber's order, on October 22, 2010, Judge Guzman dismissed Plaintiff's complaint against the DePaul College of Law on the grounds that defensive collateral estoppel barred her claims. (See doc. no. 38 in 10-CV-1982). Plaintiff's suit against Northwestern is subject to dismissal for the same reasons.

The doctrine of defensive collateral estoppel "forecloses a plaintiff from asserting a claim that [she] previously litigated and lost against another defendant." Wolverine Mut. Ins. v. Vance ex rel Tinsely, 325 F.3d 939, 943 n.3 (7th Cir. 2003). The doctrine applies if: "(1) the issue sought to be precluded [is] the same as that involved in the prior litigation, (2) the issue [was] actually litigated, (3) the determination of the issue [was] essential to the final judgment, and (4) the party against whom estoppel is invoked [was] fully represented in the prior action. Meyer v. Rigdon, 36 F.3d 1375, 1379 (7th Cir. 1994) (quotations omitted).

Plaintiff's allegations against Northwestern are identical to those she asserted against the University of Chicago. Because Judge Leinenweber determined on the merits that Plaintiff's rights had not been violated by the very conduct she alleges in ...


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