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Jowers v. Village Green Apartments, LLC

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division

September 9, 2014

JESSIE JOWERS and DEMETRY PARKER, Plaintiffs,
v.
VILLAGE GREEN APARTMENTS, LLC; FAWCETT CORPORATION; CPM STAFFING SERVICES, LLC, and VILLAGE GREEN HOUSING PARTNERS, L.P., Defendants.

ORDER

SARA DARROW, District Judge.

Plaintiffs Jessie Jowers and Demetry Parker claim Defendants Fawcett Corporation, CPM Staffing Services, LLC ("CPM"), and Village Green Housing Partners, L.P. ("VGHP"), terminated their employment on the basis of race and age in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. , and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq . This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 20. In light of the filing of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint, ECF No. 18, is MOOT. See Local Rule 7.1(E). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint.

BACKGROUND[1]

I. Factual History

Defendant VGHP, an Illinois-based limited partnership, owns the Village Green Apartments housing complex in Peoria, Illinois. Defendant CPM, a Missouri-based limited liability company, provides staffing services at Village Green Apartments. Defendants VGHP, CPM, and Fawcett Corporation share common offices, management, equipment, employees and ownership. Charles Fawcett, Jr., is president of VGHP, Inc., which is general partner of VGHP.

Defendants employed Jessie Jowers, a 57-year-old African-American man, as a maintenance worker at Village Green Apartments for at least one year before they terminated him on March 8, 2013. Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 11, 13. Defendants employed Demetry Parker, a 36-year-old African-American man, as a maintenance worker at Village Green Apartments for at least seven years before laying him off on March 8, 2013. Id . ¶¶ 5, 12, 14. Jowers and Parker met Defendants' legitimate job expectations and did not engage in any misconduct during their employment. Id. ¶¶ 15, 16. They claim that their immediate supervisor, Charlie Pich, created a workplace atmosphere hostile to African Americans.

Defendants informed Jowers and Parker that their positions were terminated due to a "large decrease in the recent work load." Defendants hired several less-qualified white workers shortly after March 8, 2013, however, and Plaintiffs therefore maintain that the stated reason for their termination was merely a pretext to cover racial discrimination. In addition to race, Jowers claims that age discrimination motivated his termination.

II. Procedural History

On March 21, 2013, Jowers filed a Charge of Discrimination on EEOC Form 5 with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's ("EEOC") Chicago District Office, in which he alleged that "Village Green Apartments" discriminated against him on the basis of race and age. The same day, the EEOC sent a Notice of Charge of Discrimination to "Chief Executive Officer, Village Green Apartments." Defs.' Mem. in Supp. Mot. Dismiss First Am. Compl., Ex. 2, ECF No. 19-2.[2] On March 26, 2013, the EEOC mailed a Notice of a Right to Sue to Jowers, cc'ing "Village Green Apartments."

Parker submitted a typed statement to the EEOC on March 14, 2013, stating that he sought to "file formal charges against Village Green Apartments/aka/Fawcett Corporation/aka/CPM Staffing" for racial discrimination. He filed a formal charge on EEOC Form 5, naming only CPM, on June 28, 2013. Defs.' Mem. in Supp. Mot. Dismiss First Am. Compl., Ex. 3, ECF No. 19-3. On July 9, 2013, the EEOC sent a Notice of Charge of Discrimination to "Charles Fawcett, CEO, CPM Staffing Services, LLC." Id. On August 6, 2013, the EEOC sent Parker a Notice of Right to Sue, cc'ing Charles Fawcett, Jr., twice-as president of CPM and as president of "Village Green Apartments/Fawcett Corp."

Jowers filed the instant suit, alleging employment discrimination in violation of Title VII and the ADEA by Fawcett Corporation, CPM, and "Village Green Apartments, LLC, " on June 25, 2013. Compl., ECF No. 1. After obtaining the Court's leave, Jowers filed the First Amended Complaint on October 2, 2013, adding Parker as a plaintiff and VGHP as a defendant. First Am. Compl., ECF No. 11. Plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed Village Green Apartments, LLC, on November 22, 2013, due to their inability to "discern an appropriate agent upon which to affect service." Notice Vol. Dismissal, ECF No. 17; Pls.' Mem. in Opp. Mot. Dismiss Second Am. Compl. 2, ECF No. 26.

On December 2, 2013, Defendants moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, or obtain a more definite statement, on that grounds that Jowers and Parker: (1) failed to allege that they were employees of Defendants as required under Title VII and the ADEA; (2) failed to exhaust their administrative remedies, and (3) could not maintain Parker's ADEA claim because Parker was too young to qualify for ADEA protection, see 29 U.S.C. § 631(a) ("The prohibitions in this chapter shall be limited to individuals who are at least 40 years of age.") Defs.' Mot. Dismiss First Am. Compl, ECF No. 18; Defs.' Mem. in Supp. Mot. Dismiss First Am. Compl., ECF No. 19.

On December 16, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint that alleged they were Defendants' employees and omitted Parker's ADEA claim. Rather than renewing their first motion, Defendants now move to dismiss most of Jowers's and Parker's claims on the grounds that their EEOC charges failed to name all appropriate Defendants. Defs.' Mot. Dismiss ...


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