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Denise Gatto v. Indian Prairie School District 204 et al.

March 26, 2012

DENISE GATTO
v.
INDIAN PRAIRIE SCHOOL DISTRICT 204 ET AL.



Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge James F. Holderman

Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons explained in the Statement section of the order, defendant Indian Prairie School District 204's "Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint" [40] is granted. Defendant's motion for a protective order [23] is denied as moot. Civil case terminated.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Denise Gatto filed an amended complaint on September 22, 2011 bringing claims against Indian Prairie School District 204 ("204") and its Superintendent Kathryn Birkett. (Dkt. No. 11.) On December 6, 2011, the court dismissed the complaint for improper service and gave Gatto until January 12, 2012 to complete service properly. (Dkt. No. 32.) Gatto properly served 204 (Dkt. No. 38), but failed to serve Dr. Birkett. Accordingly, Dr. Birkett is no longer a party to this action. Pending before the court is 204's motion to dismiss the complaint. (Dkt. No. 40.) Gatto has not formally responded to the motion to dismiss, but has filed twenty informal letters (Dkt. Nos. 42-49, 51-59, 63-65), which the court has considered before ruling.

BACKGROUND

Gatto's amended complaint alleges that she was employed at 204 as a student teacher and teacher's assistant until March 2006, when she was asked to resign. (Dkt. No. 11, at 5; see also Dkt. No. 40, Ex. 1.) Gatto alleges that 204 breached an oral contract by failing to promote her to teacher when several openings came up and instead terminating her in March 2006. She also alleges that 204 breached a contract by allowing "confidential information about [her] personnel file [to] slip out" in early 2011 (Dkt. No. 11, at 4-5.) Gatto next alleges that 204 first agreed to serve as a reference for her, but later, in 2011, stated that they would no longer serve as a reference. (Dkt. No. 5-6.) Finally, she alleges that 204 lied to prospective employers about her, thus preventing her from obtaining other employment (Dkt. No. 5.)

LEGAL STANDARD

Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint need contain only "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)). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, "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 v. Milwaukee Area Tech. Coll. Dist., 634 F.3d 901, 903 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Justice v. Town of Cicero, 577 F.3d 768, 771 (7th Cir. 2009)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). In ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court "construe[s] the . . . [c]omplaint in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, accepting as true all well-pleaded facts and drawing all possible inferences in his favor." Cole, 634 F.3d at 903.

ANALYSIS

Gatto's amended complaint does not plainly indicate the claims that she intends to raise. Her complaint includes, however, a right to sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), suggesting that she is raising a Title VII claim. Under Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer with more than fifteen employees "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). An employer also may not "limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(2).

Before bringing a Title VII claim, however, a plaintiff must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged unlawful employment practice. 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 2000e-5. Here, Gatto filed her charge of discrimination on June 10, 2011 (Dkt. No. 40, Ex. 1), five years after her employment at 204 ended. Any Title VII ...


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