United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JOY M. SCHAAD, Plaintiff,
CHICAGO METROPOLITAN AGENCY FOR PLANNING, an Illinois municipal corporation, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CASTILLO, Chief District Judge.
Joy M. Schaad ("Schaad") brings this action against
Defendant Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning
("CMAP"), alleging six counts relating to her
employment with and termination by CMAP. (R. 21, Second Am.
Compl.) Presently before this Court is CMAP's motion to
dismiss Count V for promissory estoppel and Count VI for age
discrimination in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment's
Equal Protection Clause, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 24-1, Def.'s Mot. at 1.) CMAP
argues that these Counts are barred by the applicable statute
of limitations. ( Id. ) For the reasons stated
below, CMAP's motion to dismiss is granted in part and
denied in part.
August 26, 2014, Schaad filed her initial complaint in the
Circuit Court of Cook County alleging three common law claims
for wrongful termination, retaliatory discharge, and breach
of contract. (R. 2-1, Compl.) In that complaint, Schaad
alleged in relevant part that on October 2, 2009, CMAP
reduced her salary in retaliation for filing a written
inquiry into adverse findings in her 2009 performance review.
( Id. Â¶ 21.) She also claimed that CMAP demoted her
and reduced her compensation without cause on June 28, 2013.
( Id. Â¶ 10.) Additionally, she alleged that CMAP
failed to treat her "in a same or similar manner as
other younger employees" by increasing the
"scrutiny, assignments, and pressure to perform on [her]
despite other employees at the same position level not having
any of the same scrutiny, assignments or pressure." (
Id. ) She further claimed that the company treated
her differently than younger employees by failing to
"conduct a full fiscal year 2013 performance review or
evaluation for [her] entire work effort in violation of CMAP
policy and in discriminate treatment from other employees at
the same position" in an effort to "manufacture
cause to terminate [her] employment." ( Id. )
According to Schaad, CMAP also violated its policies "by
retaliating against [her] for filing grievances and EEO
complaints." ( Id. )
April 20, 2015, Schaad filed her first amended complaint in
Cook County alleging four counts, including two procedural
due process claims under 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1983 ("Section
1983") and two state common-law claims for wrongful
discharge and promissory estoppel related to her dismissal.
(R. 2-1, First Am. Compl.) On May 15, 2015, CMAP removed this
action to federal court on the basis of federal question
jurisdiction. (R. 2, Notice of Removal Â¶ 6.)
November 18, 2015, Schaad filed her second amended complaint,
reiterating her four previous counts and adding two more. (R.
21, Second Am. Compl.) Count V for promissory estoppel is
based on Schaad's allegation that when CMAP reduced her
salary on October 2, 2009, it did so in direct contradiction
to a promise it made to her in September 2007. ( Id.
Â¶Â¶ 41-43.) Count VI for age discrimination in violation of
the Equal Protection Clause is based on Schaad's
allegations that she was treated differently than CMAP's
younger employees and retaliated against for filing
grievances to that effect. ( Id. at Â¶ 15.)
January 11, 2016, CMAP filed its answer to Counts I-IV, (R.
26, Answer), as well as its motion to dismiss Count V and
Count VI pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), arguing that both counts
are untimely, (R. 24-1, Def.'s Mot. at 1). Schaad
maintains that both counts relate back to her original August
2014 complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
15(c)(1)(B). (R. 28, Pl.'s Resp. at 2.)
federal pleading standards, a 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).
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges the sufficiency
of a complaint by "arguing that it fails to state a
claim upon which relief may granted." Firestone Fin.
Corp. v. Meyer, 796 F.3d 822, 825 (7th Cir. 2015)
(citation omitted). Thus, "[t]o survive a motion to
dismiss, 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 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 554, 570 (2007)). In deciding a Rule
12(b)(6) motion, the Court construes the complaint in the
light most favorable to the nonmovant, accepts all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true, and draws all
reasonable inferences in the nonmovant's favor.
Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 664-65 (7th
Seventh Circuit has cautioned that when a defendant raises
untimeliness in response to a complaint, "[d]ismissal
under Rule 12(b)(6) is irregular, for the statute of
limitations is an affirmative defense." Chi. Bldg.
Design, P.C. v. Mongolian House, lnc., 770 F.3d 610, 613
(7th Cir. 2014) (internal alteration and citation omitted);
see also Cancer Found., Inc. v. Cerberus Capital
Mgmt., LP, 559 F.3d 671, 674 (7th Cir. 2009)
("Dismissing a complaint as untimely at the pleading
stage is an unusual step, since a complaint need not
anticipate and overcome affirmative defenses, such as the
statute of limitations."). "[A] motion to dismiss
based on failure to comply with the statute of limitations
should be granted only where the allegations of the complaint
itself set forth everything necessary to satisfy the
affirmative defense." Chi. Bldg. Design, 770
F.3d at 613-14 (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). "In other words, the plaintiff must
affirmatively plead himself out of court; the complaint must
plainly reveal that the action is untimely under the
governing statute of limitations." Id.
(internal alteration, quotation marks, and citation omitted).
If this standard is not satisfied, "questions of
timeliness are left for summary judgment (or ultimately
trial), at which point the district court may determine
compliance with the statute of limitations based on a more
complete factual record." Sidney Hillman Health Ctr.
of Rochester v. Abbott Labs., Inc., 782 F.3d 922, 928
(7th Cir. 2015).
15(c)(1)(B) allows an amendment to relate back to the date of
the original pleading when "the amendment asserts a
claim or defense that arose out of the conduct, transaction,
or occurrence set out-or attempted to be set out-in the
original pleading." FED. R. CIV. P. 15(c)(1)(B). This
means that if a plaintiff "merely adds legal conclusions
or changes the theory of recovery" in an amended
complaint, then it will relate back to the filing date of the
earlier complaint. Henderson v. Bolanda, 253 F.3d
928, 931 (7th Cir. 2001). However, the new claim only relates
back if "the factual situation upon which the action
depends remains the same and has been brought to
defendant's attention by the original pleading."
Id. (citation omitted). This requires the court to
"consider whether the defendant had notice of the new
claim based on the facts as originally pled."
Cunliffe v. Wright, 51 F.Supp. 3d 721');">51 F.Supp. 3d 721, 733 (N.D.
Ill. 2014). Rule 15(c) should be "liberally construed to
effectuate the general purpose of seeing that cases are tried
on the merits and to dispense with technical procedural
problems." Id. (internal quotation marks
omitted) (quoting Staren v. Am. Nat'l Bank & Tr.
Co., 529 F.2d 1257, 1263 (7th Cir. 1976)). If the
defendant did not have notice of the new claim based on the
facts as originally pled, then the claim does not relate back
and the amended complaint's filing date will be used to
determine the timeliness of the claim. Henderson,
253 F.3d at 933.
argues that Counts V and VI of Schaad's second amended
complaint are barred by the applicable statutes of
limitations. (R. 24-1, Def.'s Mot. at 1.) The parties do
not dispute the applicable statutes of limitations. (R. 24-1,
Def.'s Mot. at 3; R. 28, Pl.'s Resp. at 1.)
Nonetheless, Schaad maintains that Counts V and VI relate
back to the August 2014 filing ...