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Vernatine Massenberg v. A&R Security Services

May 11, 2011

VERNATINE MASSENBERG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
A&R SECURITY SERVICES, INC., AND MICHAEL NEWBERRY, INDIVIDUALLY AND OFFICIALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman, Chief Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On February 25, 2011, plaintiff Vernatine Massenberg ("Massenberg") filed a First Amended Complaint against defendants A&R Security Services, Inc. ("A&R") and Michael Newberry ("Newberry"), individually and in his official capacity, asserting the following claims: "Violation, Title VII Race Discrimination" against A&R (Count I); "Violation, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual) and Hostile Work Environment, Title VII" against A&R (Count II); "Violation, 42 U.S.C. 1981 (Section 1981)" against A&R and Newberry (Count III); "Violation, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual) and Hostile Work Environment, Section 1981" against A&R and Newberry (Count IV); and "Violation, State of Illinois Human Rights Act, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual)" against A&R and Newberry (Count V). (Dkt. No. 18 ("1st Am.

Compl.") ¶ ¶ 39-81.) Currently before the court is defendants A&R and Newberry's (collectively "Defendants") "Rule 12(b)(1) and (b)(6) Motion to Dismiss" (Dkt. No. 20 ("Defs.' Mot.")). For the reasons explained below, Defendants' Motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

On February 11, 2008, Massenberg filed a charge of discrimination ("Charge") against defendant A&R before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In the Charge, Massenberg checked the boxes indicating she was discriminated against based on race, sex, religion, and retaliation occurring between April 17, 2007, and January 18, 2008. (Charge (attached as Ex. A to Dkt. No. 10-1 ("Defs.' Mem.")).)*fn1 Massenberg additionally provided the following description of her claim:

I began employment with Respondent on or about December 08, 2000. . . . During my employment, I was subjected to race-based derogatory comments and different terms and conditions of employment. I complained of discrimination to Respondent. Subsequently, I was laid off and hired at a new location. I was discharged on January 18, 2008.

I believe that I have been discriminated against because of my race, Black, my sex, female, and my religion, Baptist, and retaliated against for engaging in protected activity, in violation of Title VII of [the] Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. (Charge.)

The EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue letter on August 9, 2010 ("Notice") (attached as Ex. A to 1st Am. Compl.), and Massenberg received the Notice on August 12, 2011 (1st Am. Compl. ¶ 5). On November 6, 2010, Massenberg filed a complaint against A&R, Newberry, individually and in his official capacity, and Chuck Howell ("Howell"), individually and in his official capacity. After those defendants filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 10), Massenberg filed a First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 18), which dismissed Massenberg's claims against Howell.

In the First Amended Complaint, Massenberg asserts the following claims: "Violation, Title VII Race Discrimination" against A&R (Count I); "Violation, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual) and Hostile Work Environment, Title VII" against A&R (Count II); "Violation, 42 U.S.C. 1981 (Section 1981)" against A&R and Newberry (Count III); "Violation, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual) and Hostile Work Environment, Section 1981" against A&R and Newberry (Count IV); and "Violation, State of Illinois Human Rights Act, Harassment (Sexual and non-sexual)" against A&R and Newberry (Count V). (1st Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 39-81.) Defendants filed a "Rule 12(b)(1) and (b)(6) Motion to Dismiss" (Dkt. No. 20), seeking to dismiss all of Massenberg's claims with the exception of Massenberg's Title VII racial discrimination claim (Count I), to the extent that claim relies on alleged events occurring after April 17, 2007.

LEGAL STANDARD

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint need only contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). Although the complaint need not contain "detailed factual allegations," "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must "include sufficient facts 'to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.'" Cole, 634 F.3d at 903 (quoting Justice v. Town of Cicero, 577 F.3d 768, 771 (7th Cir. 2009)). In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Id.; Evers v. Astrue, 536 F.3d 651, 656 (7th Cir. 2008).

ANALYSIS

I. Title VII Race Discrimination Claim (Count I)

Under Title VII, an employer is prohibited from "discriminat[ing] against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, ...


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