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Winesberry v. OSI Industries LLC

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

November 9, 2016

RONALD WINESBERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
OSI INDUSTRIES, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Ronald Winesberry submitted -a pro se Complaint, alleging employment discrimination on the basis of race and color in violation of Title VII. Defendant OSI Industries moves to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that Complaint is untimely [30]. For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants the motion.

         Background

         Plaintiff Ronald Winesbeny submitted a pro se complaint to the Clerk's Office of the U.S. District Court on January 28, 2016. The Complaint was stamped "received" and docketed. The original complaint was not accompanied by payment of the filing fees or a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. This Court set the case for status on March 7, 2016, when Winesberry failed to appear the Court dismissed the Complaint for want of prosecution. On March 16, 2016, this Court granted Winesberry's motion to reinstate. That same day, Winesberry filed an in forma pauperis petition and motion to appoint counsel. The Court granted Winesberry's request to proceed in forma pauperis on April 14, 2016, and denied without prejudice Winesberry's motion for counsel. Defendant OSI Industries moved to dismiss the Complaint on July 6, 2016. The Court entered a briefing schedule and thereafter recruited counsel to represent Winesberry.

         Legal Standard

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 62, 678 (2009). The plaintiff does not need to provide detailed factual allegations, but must provide enough factual support to raise her right to relief above a speculative level. BellAtl. Corp. v. Twomblj, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all well-pleaded factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs favor. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Pisciota v. Old Nat. Bancorp, AA9 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007).

         Discussion

         OSI Industries argues that the Complaint is time-barred because it was not "filed" within 90 days of Winesberry receiving a notice of right to sue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). A lawsuit claiming violation of Title VII must be filed within 90 days of the plaintiff receiving notice from the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). Winesberry received his notice of right to sue from the EEOC on November 15, 2015. OSI Industries contends that the Complaint is untimely because it was not technically deemed "filed" until this Court granted Winesberry's in forma pauperis petition on April 14, 2016. Thus, the question before the Court is when is a Complaint "filed" for purposes of the statute of limitations in a Title VII claim.

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 3 states that "[a] civil action is commenced by filing a complaint with the court." Rule 5(d)(2) provides that "[a] paper is filed by delivering it: (A) to the clerk." Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(d)(2)(A). "The clerk must not refuse to file a paper solely because it is not in the form prescribed by these rules or by a local rule or practice." Fed.R.Civ.P. 5(d)(4). The Local Rules of the Northern District of Illinois provide further guidance on how and when a Complaint is deemed to have been filed when a plaintiff is seeking in forma pauperis status. Local Rule 3.3(b) provides:

Any document submitted for filing for which a filing fee is required must be accompanied either by the appropriate fee or an IFP petition. Notwithstanding this provision, the clerk will file any document including a complaint in a civil action... without prepayment, but such filings shall be subject to the sanctions set forth in section (e) of this Rule.

N.D. Ill. L.R. 3.3(b) (emphasis added).

         Section (e) provides:

Upon denial of an IFP petition, the clerk shall notify the person filing the documents of the amount of fees due. If the required fees are not paid within 15 days of the date of such notification, or within such other time as may be fixed by the court, the clerk shall notify the judge before whom the matter is pending of the nonpayment. The court ...

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