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Linzie J. Ledbetter v. Good Samaritan Ministries

September 22, 2011

LINZIE J. LEDBETTER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
GOOD SAMARITAN MINISTRIES,*FN1 DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Now before the Court are defendant Good Samaritan Industries- A Project of the Carbondale Interfaith Council's motions to dismiss plaintiff Linzie J. Ledbetter's complaint (Doc. 15) and to strike plaintiff's motion for district court to denied [sic] motion by defendant to dismiss plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 20).

Also pending before the Court are plaintiff's motions for leave to filed [sic] a supplemental brief to denied [sic] motion by the defendant to strike plaintiff's motion for district court to denied [sic] motion by defendant to dismiss plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 26) and for leave to strike defendant's response to plaintiff's motion for leave to filed [sic] a supplemental brief (Doc. 30).

For the following reasons, defendant's motion to dismiss (Doc. 15) is GRANTED. Defendant's motion to strike plaintiff's response (Doc. 20) is DENIED. Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a supplemental brief (Doc. 26) is DENIED. Plaintiff's motion for leave to strike defendant's response to plaintiff's motion for leave to file a supplemental brief (Doc. 30) is DENIED as MOOT.

Introduction and Background

Plaintiff alleges defendant unlawfully terminated and simultaneously rehired plaintiff based on his race and sex (See Doc. 1). On June 21, 2010, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (Doc. 1, p. 9). The EEOC filed plaintiff's claim with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). On June 28, 2010, the EEOC issued plaintiff a dismissal and notice of suit rights. On September 24, 2010, plaintiff filed a pro secomplaint alleging various claims of race and sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.(Title VII) and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Section 1981) (Doc. 1, p. 2). Plaintiff alleges seven counts of discrimination. Plaintiff is a general staff member at defendant's not-for-profit corporation (See Doc. 1).

On December 15, 2010, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the instant action (Doc. 15). On January 12, 2011, plaintiff filed his response (Doc. 19). Although plaintiff titled the document as a motion, the Clerk of the Court filed the document as a response to defendant's motion. Defendant filed a motion to strike plaintiff's response on January 19, 2011 (Doc.20). Plaintiff then filed a document titled plaintiff's motion to the district court for leave to filed [sic] a supplemental brief to denied [sic] motion by the defendant to strike plaintiff's motion for district court to denied [sic] motion by defendant to dismiss plaintiff's complaint on January 31, 2011 (Doc. 26). Defendant timely responded to this motion on February 4, 2011 (Doc. 28). Finally, plaintiff filed a motion titled plaintiff's motion [to] the district court for leave to strike defendant's response to plaintiff's motion for leave to filed [sic] a supplemental brief on February 16, 2011 (Doc. 30).

Law and Application

1.Preliminary Matters

a.Defendant's Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Response is Denied

Before reaching the merits of defendant's motion to dismiss, the most pertinent motion currently pending in this matter, the Court must address motions both parties filed subsequent to defendant's motion to dismiss. First, defendant's motion to strike plaintiff's response to defendant's motion to dismiss. Defendant argues that although the Clerk of the Court filed the document as a response, despite its title of motion, plaintiff' fails to respond to any of the matters raised in defendant's motion to dismiss. However, it is well settled that "[w]hen determining the character of a pro se filing . . . courts should look to the substance of the filing rather than its label." U.S. v. Antonelli, 371 F.3d 360, 361 (7th Cir. 2004). Further, "district courts must construe pro se pleadings liberally." Hudson v. McHugh, 148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing Haines v. Kerner, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972)). Application of less stringent standards to pro se pleadings is required as they are drafted without the assistance of counsel. Duncan v. Duckworth, 644 F.2d 653, 655 (7th Cir. 1981).

Defendant is incorrect in stating plaintiff fails to respond to any of the matters raised in its motion to dismiss. Although plaintiff does not specifically address every matter defendant put forth with clarity, he does attempt to follow the form and substance of defendant's arguments. In looking to the substance of plaintiff's document, as opposed to its title, the Court finds the document is a response. Moreover, in affording plaintiff the liberal pleading standard allowed all pro se litigants, the Court denies defendant's motion to strike. However, the Court notes plaintiff asserts numerous facts in his response not alleged in his complaint. To that extent, the Court will not rely on plaintiff's response.

b.Plaintiff's Motion to the District for Leave to File a Supplemental Brief is Denied

It is also necessary to dispose of plaintiff's motion for leave to file a supplemental brief before reaching the merits of defendant's motion to dismiss. Presumably, plaintiff moves to supplement his response to defendant's motion to dismiss. Under local rule 7.1(c), If a party believes it is necessary to supplement its brief with new authority due to a change in the law or facts that occurred after the filing of its brief, the party must seek leave of court to file a supplemental brief. The supplemental authority shall be filed in accordance with the supplemental authority provisions found in Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 28(j).

SDIL-LR 7.1(c). Thus, pursuant to local rule 7.1(c) and FEDERAL RULE OF

APPELLATE PROCEDURE 28(j), a motion for leave to file a supplemental brief must set forth reasons necessitating supplemental authority; such as a change in law or facts since the filing of its response.

Plaintiff's motion for leave to file a supplemental brief does not describe a change in the law or facts of his case after the filing of his response to defendant's motion to dismiss. Further, it does not state reasons necessitating the filing of a supplemental brief. Plaintiff merely elaborates on the allegations of his complaint. Thus, plaintiff asserts numerous facts known to him prior to the filing of his response. As plaintiff has not met the requirements of local rule 7.1(c), his motion for leave to file a supplemental brief is denied. Further, as plaintiff's motion to file a supplemental brief is denied, his motion for leave to strike defendant's response to his motion for leave to file a supplemental brief is denied as moot.

2.Defendant's Motion to Dismiss

Defendant's motion to dismiss raises alternative arguments for dismissal; failure to exhaust administrative remedies and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 12(b)(6).

I.Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

a.Legal Standard

Plaintiff's claims of racial and gender discrimination are brought pursuant to both Title VII and Section 1981 (Doc 1, p. 2). Title VII prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees based on race. See 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e-2(a)(1). Title VII also prohibits retaliation or discrimination against an employee "because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). Section 1981 prohibits racial discrimination and retaliation against employees when a contractual relationship exists between the employer and employee. See Thompson v. Mem. Hosp. of Carbondale, 625 F.3d 394, 402-03 (7th Cir. 2010); Hobbs v. City of Chi., 573 F.3d 454, 460 (7th Cir. 2009). Although the statutes differ in the types of discrimination proscribed, "the methods of proof and elements of the case are essentially identical." McGowan v. Deere & Co., 581 ...


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