United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
LISA R. WILSON, Plaintiff,
CITY OF GALESBURG, ILLINOIS, a municipal corporation; and DAVID W. JONES, Human Resource and Risk Management, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants.
DARROW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss, ECF No. 3.
For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED, although
not all of Plaintiff's claims are hereby dismissed.
Lisa Wilson, who is African-American, has worked for the City
of Galesburg (“the City”) since March 20, 1996.
She works as a secretary in the “Handivan
Division” of the City's Community Development
Department. She points out that although the Galesburg's
population is 11% African-American according to the 2013
census, less than 1% of the City's 237 employees (2 of
them) identify as African-American or black.
2012, Defendant Jones, who is white,  was hired by the City as its
Human Resource and Risk Manager. At some point after being
hired, Jones told an unspecified co- worker that since there
was another City employee besides Wilson whose first name was
“Lisa, ” he would call Wilson “the black
Lisa.” He did not refer to the other Lisa with a racial
February or March of 2014, Wilson was required by the City to
take a drug test. Jones represented that this was because
Wilson was classified as a dispatcher at the time (although
she was not), and the drug test was required for dispatchers.
Wilson asserts that no non-African-American employees working
as dispatchers or secretaries were required to take the
test. After the test results (impliedly
negative, although Wilson does not say) were delivered to the
City, Jones discussed these results with one of Wilson's
co-workers. He also asked Wilson's supervisor if she
thought that Wilson would pass the test. He also told one of
Wilson's other co-workers that the way to eliminate
undesirable employees was to give them a drug test. Wilson
was distressed by all of this conduct.
filed the instant lawsuit on February 2, 2016, bringing
claims under two Counts: (I) 42 U.S.C. § 1981, Compl. 3,
ECF No. 1, and (II) 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Compl. 3-4. She
alleges both Counts as to both defendants.
Defendants request that the complaint be dismissed in its
entirety, Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 9, ECF No. 4, they argue
only that: (1) Wilson fails to allege a municipal policy or
custom sufficient to support her § 1983 claim against
the City, id. at 3-5; (2) the claims against the
City under § 1981 must be dismissed because they rise or
fall with the § 1983 claim, id. at 5- 6; (3)
the freestanding § 1981 claim against Jones in his
individual capacity must be dismissed for the same reasons,
id. at 6-8; and (4) venue is not proper in Peoria,
where the suit was originally filed, id. at 8.
(Plaintiff conceded the final point, Mem. Supp. Resp. Mot.
Dismiss 8- 9, ECF No. 8, and the case has since been
transferred to the Rock Island division.) Since Defendants do
not argue that the § 1983 claim, or the § 1981
claim insofar as it is brought pursuant to § 1983,
against Jones in his individual capacity must be dismissed,
they have failed to support with argument the request for
dismissal of the entire case. The Court addresses below the
arguments Defendants do make.
Legal Standard on a Motion to Dismiss
reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court must accept as true
all well-pleaded facts in the complaint, and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Scanlan
v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841 (7th Cir. 2012). A court
will dismiss a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In
determining whether such a claim has been stated, a court
should first identify pleadings that “because they are
no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption
of truth.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). It should then take the remaining, well-pleaded
factual allegations, “assume their veracity[, ] and . .
. determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” Id. This means that a
complaint must provide “allegations that raise a right
to relief above the speculative level.” Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1084 (7th Cir. 2008).
42 U.S.C. § 1983 Claim Against the City
argue that Wilson's § 1983 claim against the City
does not allege that a municipal policy or custom gave rise
to her injuries, and thus must be dismissed under the rule of
Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S.
658 (1978), which requires the existence of such a policy or