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Anderson v. Guaranteed Rate, Inc.

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

May 28, 2013

JESSE ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
GUARANTEED RATE, INC., ROBERT STINES, ADAM KAMARAT Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

Plaintiff Jesse Anderson filed suit against Defendants Guaranteed Rate, Inc. ("GRI"), Robert Stines and Adam Kamarat for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. et seq., by retaliating against him for complaining about Defendant GRI's compensation practices. The Defendants moved to dismiss the Complaint, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), because Anderson's claim is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. For the reasons set forth below, the Defendants' motion is granted.

BACKGROUND[1]

GRI employed Anderson as a mortgage consultant. ( See Complaint, Doc. 1 at ¶ 5.) Stines and Kamarat served as Anderson's supervisors. ( Id. ) When he was employed, Anderson and GRI agreed to a sales compensation plan that set forth how Anderson's compensation would be calculated. ( Id. at ¶¶ 11-12.) In accordance with the plan, GRI was supposed to pay Anderson commission compensation for mortgage loans Anderson closed. ( Id. )

However, according to Anderson, GRI failed to compensate him properly because it failed to facilitate the processing and closing of his loans. ( Id. at ¶¶ 13-14.) Anderson repeatedly complained about this. ( Id. ) Specifically, on November 4, 2009, Anderson expressed his complaints during a sales floor meeting that was attended by GRI's mortgage consultants and supervisors. ( Id. at ¶ 14.) After expressing these concerns, Anderson alleges that he was treated differently than other similarly situated mortgage consultants and was retaliated against by the Defendants. ( Id. at ¶ 15.)

On November 6, 2009, Defendants Stines and Kamarat met with Anderson. Kamarat accused Anderson of "embarrassing him" during the November 4, 2009 sales floor meeting. ( Id. at ¶ 17.) Kamarat ordered Anderson to stop asking questions about loan processing and prohibited him from talking with loan processor Carolyn Pettengill. ( Id. at ¶ 18.) Other mortgage consultants were not prohibited from speaking with the loan processor. ( Id. at ¶ 19.) Stines and Kamarat also told Anderson that he better "shut up and be humble" or he would lose his job. ( Id. at ¶ 20.)

After this meeting Anderson attempted to transfer to a different team of mortgage consultants. ( Id. at ¶ 23.) This request was denied. ( Id. at ¶¶ 23-24.) Anderson contends that other similarly situated mortgage consultants who did not raise questions about GRI's compensation practices were not denied transfer requests. ( Id. at ¶ 25.) The Defendants then denied Anderson access to a sales assistant despite the fact the other mortgage consultants received them. ( Id. at ¶ 26.) Defendants also refused to provide compensation perks to Anderson that they provided to other mortgage consultants. ( Id. at ¶ 29.) Anderson was eventually forced to resign from GRI after working there for four months. ( Id. at ¶ 33.) He contends his forced resignation amounts to a constructive discharge. ( Id. at ¶ 34.) He did not earn any compensation during the entire period he worked at GRI. ( Id. at ¶ 35.)

After Anderson resigned, he filed a complaint against GRI, Stines and Kamarat in June 2010 that asserted claims that Defendants discriminated against Anderson on the basis of his age and race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1981. See Anderson v. Guaranteed Rate, Inc., et al., No. 10 C 3598 (N.D. Ill. filed June 11, 2010) (" Anderson I "). He specifically alleged that the Defendants retaliated against him for complaining about their compensation practices. Anderson subsequently amended the complaint to add claims against the Defendants for violations of the FLSA and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. ( See id. at Doc. 36.)[2]

This complaint contained the same factual allegations that are alleged in Anderson's instant complaint. For example, Anderson alleged that: (1) "GRI failed to process [Anderson's] client's loan applications in a timely manner"; (2) he complained about the delays to his supervisors; (3) he was verbally berated for his complaints; (4) he was denied a request to transfer to a different team; (5) he was forced to resign due to the treatment he received; and (6) that Defendants treated similarly situated mortgage consultants who did not complain about Defendants' compensation practices more favorably than him. ( See id. at ¶¶ 10, 11, 12, 13, 23, 24, 26, 31, 32, 34.) Anderson specifically alleged that he was constructively discharged as retaliation for his complaints in violation of Title VII and Section 1981. ( Id. at ¶¶ 23, 26, 34.) However, the FLSA claim was limited to a claim that Anderson was not properly compensated for the hours he worked.

GRI made an offer of judgment to Anderson pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 68 on Anderson's FLSA claim. This offer was accepted by Anderson and judgment was entered in favor of Anderson and against GRI on the FLSA claim on June 27, 2012. ( See id. at Doc. 114.) Subsequently, after the close of discovery and while summary judgment motions were pending, Anderson sought leave to amend his complaint to assert a claim for retaliation in violation of the FLSA against GRI, Stines and Kamarat. ( Id. at Doc. 156.) The court denied Anderson's motion to amend as untimely and unduly prejudicial on January 9, 2013. ( Id. at Doc. 181.) Anderson then filed the instant lawsuit on January 18, 2013 asserting a claim for retaliation in violation of the FLSA.

LEGAL STANDARD

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) the Court accepts as true all of the well-pled facts alleged in the complaint and construes all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 619 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006)); accord Murphy, 51 F.3d at 717. To state a claim upon which relief can be granted a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). "Detailed factual allegations" are not required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when "accepted as true... state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotations omitted). In analyzing whether a complaint meets this standard the "reviewing court [must] draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. When the factual allegations are well-pled the Court assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See id. at 679. A claim has facial plausibility when the factual content plead in the complaint allows the Court to draw a reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. See id. at 678.

Res judicata is an affirmative defense, and the plaintiff need not plead around affirmative defenses. See United States Gypsum Co. v. Indiana Gas Co., 350 F.3d 623, 626 (7th Cir. 2003); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(c). Still, a plaintiff "may plead himself out of court by alleging (and thus admitting) the ingredients of a defense." United States Gypsum, 350 F.3d at 626. Thus, the doctrine of res ...


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