United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey United States District Judge
case involves a dispute between Plaintiff Martrice Campbell
(“Plaintiff”) and Defendants Scott Ando
(“Defendant Ando”) and the City of Chicago
(“the City”). Plaintiff brings two causes of
action: (1) First Amendment retaliation pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 (Count I); and (2) retaliatory discharge under
Illinois common law (Count II). Compl. . On October 19th,
2016, Defendants filed a joint motion to dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. Defs.' Mot. Dismiss . For the reasons
explained below, Defendants' motion is granted in part
and denied in part.
Complaint  sets forth the following relevant facts, which
the Court accepts as true for the purposes of Defendants'
motion. Plaintiff is a former investigator at the City of
Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority
(“IPRA”), an agency created to investigate
allegations of misconduct by Chicago police officers. Compl.
 ¶¶ 4-9. At all times relevant to
Plaintiff's Complaint, Defendant Ando served as either
First Deputy Chief Administrator or Acting Chief
Administrator of IPRA. Id. ¶ 5.
January 10, 2013, Plaintiff observed her coworker, Brian
Lockhart (“Lockhart”), display certain behavior
near Plaintiff's workstation. Id. ¶¶
13-14. Specifically, Lockhart appeared visibly upset and
spoke of killing his supervisors and himself. Id.
¶ 15. In response, Plaintiff escorted Lockhart into an
interview room, searched him for weapons, and questioned him
regarding his threatening statements. Id. ¶ 16.
During this discussion, Lockhart disavowed any intent to harm
anyone at IPRA. Id. ¶ 19. By the end of the
conversation, Plaintiff was convinced that the only danger
Lockhart posed was to himself. Id. As a result,
Plaintiff contacted the City of Chicago's Employee
Assistance Program, and, at their suggestion, drove Lockhart
to the hospital for further treatment. Id. ¶
alleges that when Defendant Ando learned of Lockhart's
behavior, however, Defendant Ando contacted the Chicago
Police Department and requested that Lockhart be arrested and
prosecuted. Id. ¶ 22. Lockhart was later
charged with threatening public officials and went to trial
in state court. Id. ¶¶ 23-24.
was subpoenaed by the government as a witness in
Lockhart's trial. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff
testified on October 16, 2014. Id. ¶ 26.
Lockhart was acquitted on October 31, 2014. Id.
¶ 28. Plaintiff claims that although she testified
truthfully, Defendant Ando sought to have Plaintiff charged
with perjury because he was angry over Lockhart's
acquittal. Id. ¶¶ 27, 29-30. Plaintiff further
alleges that, as a result of her truthful testimony,
Defendant Ando fired Plaintiff on June 8, 2015. Id.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) “challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted.” Gen. Elec.
Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074,
1080 (7th Cir. 1997). A motion to dismiss tests the
sufficiency of a complaint, not the merits of a case.
Autry v. Northwest Premium Servs., Inc., 144 F.3d
1037, 1039 (7th Cir. 1998). To survive a motion to dismiss, a
complaint must first provide a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), such that the
defendant is given “fair notice” of what the
claim is “and the grounds upon which it rests.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)).
the complaint must contain “sufficient factual
matter” to “state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). That is, the allegations must raise the possibility of
relief above the “speculative level.”
E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs. Inc., 496 F.3d
773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). A claim has facial plausibility
“when the pleaded factual content allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The
plausibility standard “is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Williamson v. Curran, 714 F.3d
432, 436 (7th Cir. 2013). The “amount of factual
allegations required to state a plausible claim for relief
depends on the complexity of the legal theory alleged,
” but “threadbare recitals of the elements of a
cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do
not suffice.” Limestone Dev. Corp. v. Vill. Of
Lemont, 520 F.3d 797, 803 (7th Cir. 2008). In evaluating
the complaint, the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations
as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of
Plaintiff. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
brings two causes of action in response to her termination:
(1) First Amendment retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendant Ando (Count I); and (2) retaliatory
discharge under Illinois common law against both Defendant
Ando and the City (Count II). The Court discusses each claim
First Amendment Retaliation (Count I)
adequately plead a First Amendment retaliation claim,
Plaintiff must allege that: (1) her speech was
constitutionally protected; (2) she suffered a deprivation
likely to deter free speech; and (3) her speech was at least
a motivating factor in Defendants' actions. Spalding
v. City of Chicago, 24 F.Supp.3d 765, 775 (N.D. Ill.
the first element, while public employees “do not
surrender all of their First Amendment rights by reason of
their employment, ” Morales v. Jones, 494 F.3d
590, 595 (7th Cir. 2007), such rights “are not without
limit.” Mescall v. Rochford, No. 75-cv-3913,
1976 WL 1672, at *3 (N.D. Ill. May 3, 1976); Garcetti v.
Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410, 417 (2006) (holding that the
First Amendment protects a public employee's right to
speak only “in certain circumstances”). To
“ensure that public employee speech is afforded the
proper constitutional protections, ” Sigsworth v.
City of Aurora, Ill., 487 F.3d 506, 509 (7th Cir. 2007),
the Seventh Circuit applies the balancing test first
announced by the Supreme Court in Pickering v. Board of
Education, 391 U.S. 563, 568 (1968), and clarified in
Connick v. Myers,461 U.S. 138, 147-48 (1983). Under
the Connick-Pickering test, a public employee's
speech is constitutionally protected if: (1) she made the
speech as a private citizen; (2) the speech addressed a
matter of public concern; and (3) her interest in expressing
that speech was not outweighed by ...