Name of Assigned Judge Harry Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge D. Leinenweber than Assigned Judge
For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [DKT 24] is converted to a motion for partial summary judgment, and granted in part and denied in part. Status hearing set for 9/12/2012 at 9:00 a.m.
O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
Plaintiff Cynthia Gresham-Walls sues her former employer, Dorothy Brown, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County in her official capacity for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). Plaintiff alleges that she is legally disabled by her Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and Conversion disorder (which causes her to lose her voice during periods of extreme anxiety).
Briefly, Plaintiff alleges that she worked for Defendant from 1998-2009. On August 18, 2008, she experienced a panic attack and lost her ability to speak; paramedics were called but Plaintiff evidently did not go to the hospital. Thereafter, she received a letter stating that because a recurring condition may be impairing her ability to perform her job, she needed a medical examination to determine fitness to retain her position. She was cleared to return to work on October 15, 2008 (remaining on FMLA leave until that time). She contends that after she returned, she was assigned to the traffic division, at which point her workload increased. She claims that she discussed her condition with her supervisor, Beena Patel, in July 2009, and asked for an accommodation in the form of reallocating some of her "marginal duties" to other employees. Plaintiff argues that she did not receive that accommodation, nor did her employer engage in any interactive process to assess what accommodations might be available.
On October 15, 2009, Plaintiff was taken from work to the hospital after experiencing another panic attack and again losing her voice. On or around October 28, 2009, she claims that she requested intermittent FMLA leave (from November 17, 2009 to May 15, 2010)to permit her to seek counseling for her condition. That request was approved. Plaintiff experienced another attack on February 22, 2010, and evidently suffered a prolonged period of lost speech, which rendered her unable to return to work until March 10, 2010. Patel allegedly signed off on Plaintiff's request to return to work on March 10, 2010. Plaintiff was terminated without warning on April 2, 2010. She was told that she was terminated because she was at-wIll, and her services were no longer needed.
Plaintiff attached to her Complaint her complaint form for the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"), which, it appears undisputed, simultaneously functions as a complaint with the EEOC. Cf. Davis v. Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority, No. 11 C 9018, 2012 WL 2576356, at *9 (N.D. Ill. July 3, 2012)(describing the IDHR-EEOC workshare agreement). The Complaint lists the respondent as the Circuit Court of Cook County, not its Clerk. Plaintiff received a notice of right to sue from the IDHR on July 14, 2011, and a right to sue letter from the EEOC on December 9, 2011. In the complaint, she alleges that she was discharged based on her mental disability, and that her "disability is unrelated to [her] ability to perform the essential functions of [her] job duties with or without a reasonable accommodation." See Compl., Ex. A, at 1-2.
Plaintiff filed suit against the Circuit Court of Cook County on February 27, 2012, and then filed an amended complaint on May 7, naming Dorothy Brown as the Defendant. Plaintiff then filed a second amended complaint to correct typographical errors which continued to describe the original, rather than current, Defendant.
Defendant now moves to dismiss some of Plaintiff's claims. First, she moves to dismiss on the grounds that Dorothy Brown was not identified as the respondent in the underlying IDHR/EEOC charge, and therefore lacked notice of the charge or an opportunity for conciliation. Furthermore, Defendant seeks to dismiss Plaintiff's failure-to-accommodate claim under the ADA, also on the grounds that it was not listed in the IDHR/EEOC charge, nor is it "like, or reasonably related to" the listed charge. (In her reply, Defendant argues that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case under the Rehabilitation Act; raised for the ...