United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge.
The Court grants in part without prejudice and denies in part Defendants' motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) . Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint is due on or before July 15, 2015. Status hearing set for August 4, 2015 is stricken and reset to July 20, 2015 at 8:30 a.m.
On March 12, 2015, Plaintiffs Paul Schmidt, Daniel Fisher, and Glenn White filed a five-count First Amended Complaint against Defendants Village of Glenwood ("Glenwood" or the "Village"), Illinois; Kerry Durkin, the Mayor of Glenwood; and Demitrous Cook, Glenwood's Chief of Police. In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege a claim under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. (Count I), a First Amendment retaliation claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count II), an equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count III), and reverse discrimination claims based on 42 U.S.C. §1981 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000, et seq. (Counts IV and V). Before the Court is Defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss Counts II through V of the First Amended Complaint. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part without prejudice and denies in part Defendants' motion. The Court grants Plaintiffs leave to file a Second Amended Complaint in accordance with this ruling. Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint is due on or before July 15, 2015.
Defendant Glenwood employs Plaintiffs Schmidt, Fisher, and White, who are white males, as patrol police officers. (R. 25, First Am. Compl. ¶¶ 6, 9, 12, 15.) On or about May 7, 2013, the Village promoted three patrol police officers other than Plaintiffs to the rank of Sergeant. ( Id. ¶¶ 50, 51.) Plaintiffs allege that, at that time, they were all in good standing with the Village and the labor union, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police, Chapter No. 612 ("MAP #612"). ( Id. ¶¶ 22, 23.) In addition, Plaintiffs Fisher and White served as MAP #612's Recording Secretary and President, respectively. ( Id. ¶¶ 25, 26.) Plaintiffs also claim that they were eligible for promotion from the rank of patrolman to Sergeant during the relevant time period. ( Id. ¶ 22.) According to Plaintiffs, the Village denied their promotions because Plaintiffs engaged in protected speech and actions against their employer's promotional process. ( Id. ¶¶ 71, 73.) Plaintiffs further allege that Glenwood subjected them to race-based discrimination by depriving them of the promotion to the rank of Sergeant. ( Id. ¶¶ 79, 90.)
Glenwood maintains a list of patrolmen eligible for promotion to Sergeant ("Sergeant's List") according to the policies and procedures of the Village and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Village and MAP #612. ( Id. ¶ 27.) Prior to expiration of a Sergeant's List, the Village traditionally conducts a promotional examination and interviews to create an updated Sergeant's List. ( Id. ¶ 31.) The Board of Fire and Police Commissioners of the Village ("BFPC") outlines the promotional examination process in its Rules and Regulations ("BFPC Rules & Regulations"). ( Id. ¶ 28.) According to the BFPC Rules & Regulations, the promotional examination score is determined by the following three components: (1) written test score (45%), (2) oral test score (45%), and (3) merit and efficiency score, commonly known as "Chief's Points" (10%). ( Id. ¶¶ 28, 29.) In addition, BFPC Rules & Regulations require Glenwood to make all promotions by selecting the three individuals with the highest rating, which in this case is based on their promotional examination and seniority scores. ( Id. ¶ 28.)
Defendant Demitrous Cook, an African-American and the Chief of Police for the Glenwood Police Department, created a productivity measuring system for calculating the Chief's Points portion of the promotional examination. ( Id. ¶¶ 18, 33.) Cook first collected productivity data for all officers completing the promotional examination. ( Id. ¶ 36.) Cook then calculated an average score and awarded 10 Chief's Points to each officer whose productivity score was above the average and zero points to each officer whose productivity score was below the average. ( Id. ¶ 37.) Defendants Cook and Kerry Durkin, Glenwood's Mayor, exercised final authority in determining and implementing the Chief's Points portion of the promotional exam. ( Id. ¶¶ 17, 34.) Plaintiffs allege that Cook and Durkin designed the system of awarding Chief's Points based on race, rather than merit. ( Id. ¶ 35.)
On or after December 1, 2012, the Village administered a promotional examination to create a new eligibility list for the rank of Sergeant. ( Id. ¶¶ 31, 32.) Cook awarded zero Chief's Points to all three Plaintiffs. ( Id. ¶ 39.) On or about January 29, 2013, the Village posted the results of the examination. ( Id. ¶ 44.) Plaintiffs allege that prior to posting the results, Cook and/or Durkin made statements relating to "a need to have some black Sergeants" and other similar comments. ( Id. ¶ 42.) Plaintiffs also allege that Cook expressed an interest in having more African-American supervisory officers in the police department. ( Id. ¶ 43.) Several months later, the Village promoted three patrol officers to the rank of Sergeant from the list posted on or about January 29, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 50.) Two of the three officers promoted to the rank of Sergeant were African-American and none of the Plaintiffs were promoted to the rank of Sergeant. ( Id. ¶¶ 51, 86.)
Plaintiffs Fisher and White allege that Defendants knowingly deprived them of the opportunity to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant because of their protected speech and actions. ( Id. ¶¶ 73, 74.) Fisher and White specifically contend that as the union's representatives, they sought redress before the Illinois Labor Relations Board regarding the Village's promotional process, including the system of determining Chief's Points. ( Id. ¶¶ 67, 71.) Also, Fisher and White objected to the Village's terms on a successor collective bargaining agreement and demanded arbitration to resolve the impasse. ( Id. ¶ 72.) Fisher and White claim that their speech is a matter of public concern because the promotional process of police officers directly affects the public safety of the Village. ( Id. ¶ 68.) Also, Plaintiffs Fisher and White contend that Cook designed the system of awarding "Chief's Points" to promote officers on a racial basis, which is also of public concern. ( Id. ¶ 69.)
Plaintiffs Schmidt, Fisher, and White further allege that they belong to a vulnerable class of public employees who spoke out or took action on matters of public concern. ( Id. ¶ 79.) Plaintiffs maintain that the Village treated them unjustly and unreasonably based on their membership in the class and based on their race. ( Id. ¶¶ 79, 82.) According to Plaintiffs, Defendants manipulated the promotional process to ensure the promotion of African-American candidates rather than Plaintiffs. ( Id. ¶ 84.) Moreover, Plaintiffs assert that Defendants intentionally and arbitrarily discriminated against them, motivated by a purpose to increase the number of African-American Sergeants. ( Id. ¶¶ 81, 85.) Based on these allegations, Plaintiffs seek promotion to the rank of Sergeant, back-pay, compensatory damages, and attorney's fees and costs.
"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 ...