United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. Aspen United States District Judge
Humphrey (“Humphrey”) filed a complaint against
The Cook County Sheriff's Office
(“Defendant”), alleging sex discrimination and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. We granted
Defendant's unopposed 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss
Humphrey's amended complaint on May 19, 2016. (Dkt. No.
36.) Presently before us is Humphrey's motion to vacate
that dismissal and extend her time to file a response (Dkt.
No. 37), and her motion for an extension of time to file her
reply brief instanter (Dkt. No. 47). For the reasons set
forth below, Humphrey's motion for an extension of time
to file a reply is granted, and her motion to vacate is
has worked for Defendant for twenty-three years and is now a
Lieutenant. (Am. Compl. ¶ 5.) As Lieutenant, Humphrey was
involved in numerous altercations with her supervisor,
Inspector Howell (“Howell”). (Id.
¶¶ 10, 14, 16, 19.) Humphrey describes numerous
instances in which Howell yelled, belittled, and insulted
her, both over the electronic communications system and in
person. (Id.) According to Humphrey, “[m]ale
officers of her rank and position would not be treated in a
similar humiliating manner.” (Id. ¶ 12.)
She alleges that Howell humiliated her and caused her extreme
emotional distress, anxiety, and panic attacks. (Id.
¶¶ 11, 33.) On January 28, 2014, Humphrey filed an
internal complaint with Defendant. (Id. ¶ 20.)
No internal action was taken in response to the complaint.
(Id. ¶ 21.) In October 2014, Humphrey filed
charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). (Id. ¶ 22.) The EEOC
issued Humphrey a right to sue letter on January 9, 2015.
(Id. Ex. 1, at 2.)
April 2015, Humphrey filed a complaint alleging: 1) sex
discrimination in violation of Title VII and 2) intentional
infliction of emotional distress. (Compl. ¶¶
21-30.) Defendant filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) on October 23, 2015. (Dkt. No. 12.) Humphrey failed
to file a response by the court ordered deadline on November
19, 2015 and did not file a motion for an extension of time
before the response was due. (Dkt. No. 17.) Nearly one month
after the response was due, Humphrey sought an extension,
which we granted on December 23, 2015. (Dkt. No. 21.)
Humphrey missed the extended response deadline and instead
filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint-one day after
the already extended deadline for responding to
Defendant's motion to dismiss. (Dkt. No. 22.)
February 3, 2016, we granted Humphrey's motion for leave
to file her amended complaint. (Dkt. No. 27.) Humphrey filed
the amended complaint on March 16, 2016 and Defendant moved
to dismiss the amended complaint. (Dkt. Nos. 28, 31.) On
April 11, 2016, we entered an order setting a briefing
schedule. (Dkt. No. 33.) Humphrey again failed to file a
response by the May 2, 2016 deadline and did not file a
motion for an extension of time. (Dkt. No. 35.) We entered an
order on May 13, 2016, requesting that Humphrey's
attorney appear in court on May 19, 2016 and report why no
response had been filed. (Id.) Humphrey's
counsel did not appear at the hearing on May 19, 2016, and we
granted Defendant's unopposed 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.
(Dkt. No. 36.) On May 19, 2016, Humphrey filed the present
motion to vacate the dismissal and extend the time to
respond. (Dkt. No. 37.)
Humphrey's motion is not clear as to the relief she is
seeking, we must first address whether her motion should be
treated as a motion to amend the judgment under Rule 59(e) or
a motion for relief under Rule 60(b)(1).
Plaintiff's Requested Relief
or amending a judgment according to Rule 59(e) is appropriate
where there is newly discovered evidence or there has been an
error of law or fact. Harrington v. City of Chi.,
433 F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006); Bordelon v. Chi. Sch.
Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000).
Rule 60(b)(1), by contrast, provides for discretionary relief
from a final judgment or order on the basis of
“mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable
neglect.” Harrington, 433 F.3d at 546.
Humphrey's motion as one based upon excusable neglect,
accordingly analyze it under Rule 60(b)(1). See Obriecht
v. Raemisch, 517 F.3d 489, 493 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing
Borrero v. City of Chi., 456 F.3d 698, 701-02 (7th
Cir. 2006)) (“Whether a motion filed within 10 days of
the entry of judgment should be analyzed under Rule 59(e) or
Rule 60(b) depends on the substance of the motion, not on the
timing or label affixed to it.”).
Rule 60(b): Relief from a Judgment or Order
60(b) allows a party to seek relief from a final judgment or
order for reasons of “mistake, inadvertence, surprise,
or excusable neglect.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 60(b)(1). Our
determination of what constitutes excusable neglect is
“at bottom an equitable one, taking account of all the
relevant circumstances surrounding the party's
omission.” Pioneer Inv. Servs. v. Brunswick Assocs.
Ltd. P'ship, 507 U.S. 380, 395 (1993); see also
Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 606 (7th Cir.
2006) (“We have held that Pioneer applies
whenever ‘excusable neglect' appears in the federal
procedural rules.”). Relief under Rule 60(b) is
“an extraordinary remedy and is granted only in
exceptional circumstances.” Dickerson v. Bd. of
Educ. of Ford Heights, Ill., 32 F.3d 1114, 1118 (7th
Cir. 1994) (quoting Harold Washington Party v. Cook
County, Ill. Democratic Party, 984 F.2d 875, 879 (7th
Cir. 1993)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thus, we are
“vested with discretion when determining whether an
attorney's neglect . . . is ‘excusable' for the
purposes of Rule 60(b)(1).” Harrington, 433
F.3d at 546 (alteration in original) (quoting Robb v.
Norfolk & W. Ry. Co., 122 F.3d 354, 363 (7th Cir. 1997))
(internal quotation marks omitted).
attributes her repeated failure to meet filing deadlines and
to timely request extensions to her attorney's ongoing
illness. (Mot. ¶ 2, 5.) She also explains that her
counsel's failure to appear at the May 19, 2016 status
hearing resulted from counsel's confusion regarding which
courtroom to appear in. (Mot. ¶ 4.) Concerning her
attorney's illness, Humphrey contends that counsel has a
history of serious health problems and yet ...