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Freeman v. Travelers Cos., Inc.

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

August 8, 2014

CORINA M. FREEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
TRAVELERS COMPANIES, INC., Defendant

Page 868

For Corina M. Freeman, Plaintiff: Michael T. Smith, Michael T. Smith & Associates, Roselle, IL.

For Travelers Companies, Inc., Defendant: Michael H. Cramer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Katherine A. Manuel, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., Chicago, IL.

Page 869

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Honorable Edmond E. Chang, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Corina Freeman alleges that Defendant The Travelers Indemnity Company discriminated against her and retaliated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. [1] R. 1, Compl. Travelers has moved to dismiss Freeman's complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 7, Mot. Dismiss. It argues that Freeman's claims are time-barred because she did not file a complaint within ninety days of receiving her first right-to-sue letter from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Id. For the reasons explained below, Travelers' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

In evaluating a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts the complaint's factual allegations as true and draws reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, ___ U.S. ___, 131 S.Ct. 2074, 2079, 179 L.Ed.2d 1149 (2011). Freeman was employed by Travelers, most recently as a Nurse Case Manager, from about 1998 until 2012. R. 8, Def.'s Br. at 1-2. On October 3, 2012, Travelers fired Freeman for alleged poor performance. Compl. ¶ 15. Freeman, who suffers from anxiety and depression, Compl. ¶ 8, filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on October 19, 2012. R. 8-1, First EEOC Charge. Her charge alleged that Travelers had engaged in retaliation and disability-based discrimination against her. Id. Specifically, Freeman laid out the particulars of her claim as follows:

I began my employment with Respondent in or around September 1998. My most recent position was Nurse Case Manager. During my employment, I was subjected to discipline; subsequently, I was discharged.
I believe I have been retaliated against because of my disability, and in retaliation for engaging in protected activity, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended.

Id. The EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter on March 26, 2013. R. 8-2, First Right to Sue. The letter informed Freeman that, based upon its investigation, the EEOC could not conclude that Travelers had violated the law, but that Freeman was free to pursue her own claims against Travelers. Id. It warned in prominent lettering, " Your lawsuit must be filed WITHIN 90 DAYS of your receipt of this notice; or your right to sue based on this charge will be lost." Id. (underlining in original).

Rather than file suit as directed within ninety days, Freeman instead filed a second charge of discrimination with the EEOC on May 10, 2013. R. 1-1, Second EEOC Charge. Like the first charge, this one alleged that Travelers had engaged in retaliation and disability-based discrimination. See id. Also like the first charge, this one listed October 3, 2012 (the date

Page 870

Freeman was fired) as the latest date discrimination took place. See id. ; First EEOC Charge. Unlike the first charge, however, Freeman checked the " continuing ...


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