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Montenegro v. Cook County Juvenile Probation & Court Services Administration

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

January 5, 2015

OSCAR MONTENEGRO, Plaintiff,
v.
COOK COUNTY JUVENILE PROBATION & COURT SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge.

Before us is Defendants' partial motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, filed by Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), which, for the reasons stated below, we grant and deny in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Oscar Montenegro filed a complaint against Defendants Cook County Juvenile Probation and Court Services Administration ("JPCSA"), as well as JPCSA's Director Michael Rohan ("Rohan"), its Deputy Director Charles Young ("Young"), its Director of Human Resources Rose Marie Golden ("Golden"), and unknown persons (collectively, "Defendants"). He alleges violations of: (1) Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (2) 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985; and (3) the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA"). (Compl. ¶¶ 30, 34, 37.) Plaintiff claims that Defendants, his employers, discriminated against him on the basis of his disability.

Plaintiff was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis ("MS") in the 1990s. ( Id. ¶ 11.) He worked as a juvenile probation officer at JPCSA from 2004 until June 2013, when he stopped working due to Defendants' alleged discriminatory conduct. ( Id. ¶¶ 11, 25.)

Plaintiff is a "qualified individual with a disability" whose condition does not pose a direct threat to his or others' health and safety, as defined by 29 C.F.R. 1630.2. ( Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) His doctor informed Defendant Golden that Plaintiff's disability does not prevent him from performing the functions of his positions, but that he would have to be absent from work two to three times per year for approximately ten days each time due to MS flare-ups. ( Id. ¶ 15.) Until 2009, Plaintiff's employer granted him medical accommodations based on letters from his doctor to his supervisor. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff was consistently rated as "meeting standards" in performance evaluations from 2006 to 2013. ( Id. ¶ 16.)

In 2010, however, Defendant Golden did not accept the doctor's request to continue a previously granted accommodation allowing Plaintiff to work 7 A.M. to 3 P.M., and informed Plaintiff that employees requesting medical accommodations must be evaluated by the County Medical Office. ( Id. ¶¶ 17-18.) Then, when Plaintiff was absent from work during a MS flare-up in 2012, Defendant Golden, with approval from Defendants Rohan and Young, informed Plaintiff that he would need to request a Return to Work Certification from the County Medical Office prior to returning to work. ( Id. ¶ 19.) In January 2013, Defendant Golden reprimanded Plaintiff and threatened disciplinary action because she saw him waiting for the PACE bus fifteen minutes prior to the end of Plaintiff's workday schedule. ( Id. ¶ 20.) Plaintiff alleges that he leaves his work station "some minutes earlier" than 3 P.M. so that he does not miss the 3 P.M. PACE bus. ( Id. ) He also claims that in February 2013, he developed bladder and bowel complications at work and requested a coworker's assistance to get to the bathroom quickly. ( Id. ¶ 21.) He was subsequently absent from work for about four days, and, upon returning, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Young told him he was a liability to his coworkers and could not return to work until receiving a fitness for duty letter from the County Medical Doctor. ( Id. )

Plaintiff filed a grievance as a result of these actions, challenging the need for multiple fitness evaluations. ( Id. ¶ 24.) At a meeting regarding the grievance in March 2013, Defendant Rohan said that he was being pressured to hire able-bodied people and that Plaintiff was performing a quarter of the work of other officers. ( Id. ) Defendants denied the allegations in Plaintiff's grievance and Plaintiff completed the required fitness evaluation. ( Id. ¶¶ 24-25.) Upon returning to work in April 2013, however, Plaintiff alleges that he noticed Defendants Young or Golden walk by his work station every day and pause to watch him, which made him feel uncomfortable and under unreasonable scrutiny. ( Id. ¶ 25.) As a result of Defendants' previous and ongoing actions, Plaintiff's health allegedly deteriorated and he suffered emotional distress and an MS flare-up that led him to stop working in June 2013. ( Id. )

Plaintiff received a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on February 8, 2014. ( Id. ¶ 3.) He filed this action on May 9, 2014.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is meant to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits of the case. Gibson v. City of Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). To survive a motion to dismiss, the 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). Specifically, "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 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 540 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964-65 (2007)). The plausibility standard "is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. Thus, while a complaint need not give "detailed factual allegations, " it must provide more than "labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 540 U.S. at 545, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65; Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank Nevada, N.A., 507 F.3d 614, 618-19 (7th Cir. 2007). The statement must be sufficient to provide the defendant with "fair notice" of the claim and its basis. Twombly, 540 U.S. at 545, 127 S.Ct. at 1964 (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102 (1957)); Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008). In evaluating a motion to dismiss, we must accept all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Thompson v. Ill. Dep't of Prof'l Reg., 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002).

DISCUSSION

Defendants argue in their partial motion to dismiss that: (1) one of the named Defendants is not the proper suable entity; (2) Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing his complaint; (3) there is no individual liability under the ADA or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation ...


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