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Rosado v. Chicago Transit Authority

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 24, 2014

FROILAN ROSADO, Plaintiff,
v.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

The Court grants Defendant Chicago Transit Authority's motion to dismiss without prejudice [35] and grants Plaintiff leave to file a Second Amended Complaint on or before 8/25/14, in accordance with this Order. Status hearing set for 8/18/14 is stricken and reset to 8/28/14 at 8:30 a.m.

STATEMENT

On March 19, 2014, Plaintiff Froilan Rosado filed a four-count First Amended Complaint[1] against his former employer Defendant Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") and certain individual Defendants for employment discrimination and retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, as well as a state law claim for retaliatory discharge. Before the Court is the CTA's motion to dismiss Counts I, II, and IV brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court grants the CTA's motion to dismiss without prejudice and grants Plaintiff leave to file a Second Amended Complaint in accordance with counsel's Rule 11 obligations.

LEGAL STANDARD

"A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether the complaint states a claim on which relief may be granted." Richards v. Mitcheff, 696 F.3d 635, 637 (7th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must "give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "In reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, [courts] accept the well-pleaded facts in the complaint as true, Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013), and draw "reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiffs." Teamsters Local Union No. 705 v. Burlington No. Santa Fe, LLC, 741 F.3d 819, 823 (7th Cir. 2014).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an Hispanic man of Puerto Rican descent, began working for the CTA in 1997 as a track maintenance crew member. ( Id. ¶¶ 5, 7.) Plaintiff alleges that from 2011 until the date of his termination on February 14, 2013, the CTA subjected him to a pattern of employment terms and conditions that was less favorable than those that the CTA offered to non-Puerto Rican and non-Hispanic individuals in the same position as Plaintiff. ( Id. ¶¶ 9, 15.) More specifically, despite being the senior-most member of his crew, Plaintiff maintains that the CTA (1) denied him overtime, (2) assigned him less favorable work, (3) denied him a promotion, and (4) unreasonably disciplined him. ( Id. ¶ 10.)

Also, Plaintiff alleges that he overheard CTA foremen making derogatory statements about Puerto Ricans. ( Id. ¶ 11.) He also alleges that he observed other CTA employees discriminate against other Puerto Rican and Hispanic employees, including his father. ( Id. ¶ 12.) According to Plaintiff, he reported to CTA Coordinator Defendant Scott Brown that he was being treated differently, but Brown took no action. ( Id. ¶ 13.)

In February 2013, the CTA suspended Plaintiff for five days for allegedly allowing his cousin access to the restroom at the CTA Clark Tower on February 7, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 14.) Following his suspension, the CTA terminated Plaintiff's employment on February 14, 2013, for alleged misconduct arising out of the February 7, 2013 occurrence. ( Id. ¶ 15.) Further, Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that other non-Puerto Rican and non-Hispanic CTA employees allowed non-CTA employees access to CTA restrooms, but the CTA did not similarly discipline, suspend, or terminate those employees. ( Id. ¶ 16.)

ANALYSIS

I. Section 1981 Discrimination and Retaliation Claims - Counts I and II

A. Municipal Liability

First, the CTA asserts that Plaintiff has failed to sufficiently allege a claim for municipal liability in Counts I and II under the federal pleading standards. To state a claim against the CTA, Plaintiff must frame his claim under the well-established standard set forth in Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. of the City of New York, 436 U.S. 658, 692, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 56 L.Ed. 611 (1978). See Belbachir v. County of McHenry, 726 F.3d 975, 983 (7th Cir. 2013) (a municipality cannot "be liable merely by virtue of the doctrine of respondeat superior"). Plaintiff can demonstrate municipal liability through: (1) an actual official policy; (2) a practice or custom that, although not officially authorized, is widespread ...


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