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Degroot v. Village of Matteson

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

October 14, 2014

KURT DEGROOT, Plaintiff,
v.
VILLAGE OF MATTESON, Defendant.

ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

The Court grants Defendant Village of Matteson's motion to dismiss with prejudice [35] and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety. All pending dates and deadlines are stricken. Civil case terminated.

STATEMENT

After the Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant's original motion to dismiss on July 9, 2014, Plaintiff Kurt DeGroot filed the present one-count First Amended Complaint against Defendant Village of Matteson (the "Village") alleging a First Amendment association claim. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Court presumes familiarity with its July 9, 2014, Memorandum, Opinion, and Order. Before the Court is the Village's motion to dismiss DeGroot's First Amended Complaint brought pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant's motion with prejudice and dismisses this lawsuit in its entirety.

LEGAL STANDARDS

I. Standard Under 12(b)(1)

The standard the Court employs on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction depends on the purpose of the motion. See Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d 440, 443-44 (7th Cir. 2009); United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chem. Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003) (en banc), overruled on other grounds by Minn-Chem., Inc. v. Agrium, Inc., 683 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2012). If a defendant challenges the sufficiency of the allegations regarding subject matter jurisdiction, the Court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Apex Digital, 572 F.3d at 443-44; United Phosphorus, 322 F.3d at 946. If, however, the defendant denies or controverts the truth of the jurisdictional allegations, the Court may look beyond the pleadings and view any evidence submitted to determine if subject matter jurisdiction exists. See Apex Digital, 572 F.3d at 443-44; United Phosphorus, 322 F.3d at 946. "Where jurisdiction is in question, the party asserting a right to a federal forum has the burden of proof, regardless of who raises the jurisdictional challenge." Craig v. Ontario Corp., 543 F.3d 872, 876 (7th Cir. 2008).

II. Standard under Rule 12(b)(6)

"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

In his Amended Complaint, DeGroot alleges that in 2010, the Village commissioned the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners ("Fire and Police Commission") to conduct testing for candidates seeking original appointments as Village firefighters. (R. 31, Am. Compl. ¶ 6.) The Fire and Police Commission subsequently offered written and oral examinations to the firefighter candidates. ( Id. ¶ 8.) DeGroot alleges that he passed both examinations, and in December 2010, the Fire and Police Commission placed him on a "Final Eligibility List, " which remained valid for two years. ( Id. ¶ 9.)

On November 21, 2012, DeGroot received and accepted a "conditional offer of employment" from the Village. ( Id. ¶ 11.) As conditions precedent to his employment, DeGroot was required to pass psychological and physical examinations. ( Id. ) DeGroot alleges that he took and passed the psychological examination. ( Id. ¶ 12.) Before he took the physical examination, however, the Village ordered the Fire and Police Commission to discontinue the firefighter hiring process. ( Id. ¶¶ 12, 15-16.) On December 20, 2012, the Village withdrew its conditional offer of employment to DeGroot. ( Id. ¶ 18.) According to DeGroot, the Village halted the hiring of new firefighters to retaliate against the Village of Matteson Firefighters' Pension Fund Board of Trustees ("Pension Board"), which had threatened to sue the Village for failing to fund its pension obligations. ( Id. ¶¶ 14, 15, 17.)

Shortly after the Village withdrew Plaintiff's conditional offer of employment, the Final Eligibility List from which the Fire and Police Commission appoints new firefighters expired. ( Id. ¶ 19.) The Village posted a new Final Eligibility List in January 2013. ( Id. ¶ 23.) In March 2013, after resolving its conflict with the Pension Board, the Village voted to hire three firefighters from the new Final Eligibility List. ( Id. ¶ 24.) DeGroot turned 35-years-old on September 12, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 21.) Because he had not received an appointment before this date, the Fire and Police Commission regulations barred him from becoming a full-time firefighter. ( Id. ) DeGroot alleges that the Village denied him ...


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