United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
LOREN D. PETTIT, Plaintiff,
CITY OF SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, a municipal corporation, KENNY WINSLOW, Chief of the Springfield Police Department, individually and in his official capacity, LIEUTENANT CHRISTOPHER MUELLER, individually and in his official capacity, and LIEUTENANT GREGORY WILLIAMSON, individually and in his official capacity, Defendants.
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is the Motion to Dismiss (d/e 6) filed by
Defendants City of Springfield, Illinois, a municipal
corporation, Kenny Winslow, Christopher Mueller, and Gregory
Williamson pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED
IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Count I of Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to state a cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981. Count II of Plaintiff's Complaint fails to
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant
City of Springfield, Illinois. Count III of Plaintiff's
Complaint fails to state a cognizable claim under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against Defendants Winslow,
Mueller, and Williamson. All other claims brought by
Plaintiff Loren D. Pettit survive Defendants' Motion to
following facts come from Plaintiff's Complaint. The
Court accepts them as true at the motion to dismiss stage.
Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.
an African-American, was employed by the Springfield Police
Department from 2004 until his termination on June 10, 2014.
Defendant Winslow, the Chief of Police for the Springfield
Police Department, notified Plaintiff on or about November
14, 2013, that Plaintiff was being temporarily suspended and
placed on administrative assignment pending the completion of
an internal affairs investigation. During that investigation,
Defendants Mueller and Williamson, Lieutenants with the
Springfield Police Department, conducted or directed a search
of Plaintiff's home. The search was conducted without
Plaintiff's knowledge or consent, and the police officers
who searched Plaintiff's home did not have a valid search
warrant at the time of the search. The investigation which
led to the search of Plaintiff's home was authorized by
5, 2014, Defendant Winslow informed Plaintiff that the
Springfield Police Department intended to file formal charges
against Plaintiff for allegedly violating City of Springfield
Civil Service Rule 6.1(I) by using alcohol or other
controlled substances on the job or reporting to work under
the influence of such substance. Despite having performed his
duties as a police officer in a competent and satisfactory
manner, Plaintiff was informed by Defendant Winslow on July
10, 2014, that he was being terminated from his employment as
a police officer with the Springfield Police Department.
Plaintiff alleges that he was discharged because he is
African-American. Officers charged with violating Service
Rule 6.1(I) or committing similar misconduct who were not
African-American were not terminated.
March 16, 2016, Plaintiff filed a three-count Complaint
against Defendants. Count I contains claims brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1981. Count II contains claims brought under 42
U.S.C. § 1983, presumably based on an alleged violation
of Plaintiff's rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments. Count III contains race discrimination claims
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e et seq. Defendants filed their Motion
to Dismiss and their Memorandum in Support of Motion to
Dismiss (d/e 7) on May 16, 2016, arguing that Plaintiff had
failed to state claims upon which relief could be granted.
Although it is not expressly stated, the wording of the
Complaint suggests that each of Plaintiff's claims is
directed at all four Defendants, and the Court has conducted
its analysis of the Complaint and the Motion to Dismiss under
Court has original jurisdiction over Plaintiff's claims
brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because they are claims
to “redress the deprivation, under color of any State
law, statute, ordinance, regulation, custom or usage, of any
right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution of
the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 1343(a)(3).
Additionally, the Court has jurisdiction over all of
Plaintiff's claims because they all arise under federal
statutes. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (“The
district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil
actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of
the United States.”).
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). Plausibility means
alleging factual content that allows a court to reasonably
infer that the defendant is liable for the alleged
misconduct. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 547 (2007). A plaintiff's complaint must
suggest a right to relief, “raising that possibility
above a speculative level.” Kubiak v. City of
Chicago, 810 F.3d 476, 480 (7th Cir. 2016). “The
required level of factual specificity rises with the
complexity of the claim.” McCauley v. City of
Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616-17 (7th Cir. 2011). When
faced with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
“accept[s] as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in favor of
the plaintiff.” Roberts v. City of Chicago,
817 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016). “[L]egal conclusions
and conclusory allegations merely reciting the elements of
the claim are not entitled to this presumption of
truth.” McCauley, 671 F.3d at 616.
Count I of Plaintiff's Complaint Does Not State a
Cognizable Claim Under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.
1977, Congress enacted a law stating that “[a]ll
persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall
have the same right in every State and Territory . . . to the
full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the
security of persons and property as is enjoyed by white
citizens . . . .” 42 U.S.C. § 1981. This statutory
provision “affords a federal remedy against
discrimination in private employment on the basis of
race.” Runyon v. McCrary, 427 U.S. 160, 172
(1976). However, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 “does not create
a private right of action against state actors.”
Campbell v. Forest Pres. Dist. of Cook Cnty., Ill.,
752 F.3d 665, 671 (7th ...