United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
LAWRENCE L. PICKETT, Plaintiff,
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.
CHARLES P. KOCORAS, DISTRICT JUDGE:
the Court is Defendant Chicago Transit Authority's (the
“CTA”) Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff Lawrence L.
Pickett's (“Pickett”) Complaint filed pro
se on May 23, 2016 (the “Complaint”) under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, this Court grants in part and denies in part the
purposes of the instant Motion, the following well-pleaded
allegations derived from the Complaint and the exhibits
attached thereto are accepted as true. Alam v. Miller
Brewing Co., 709 F.3d 662, 665-66 (7th Cir. 2013);
Ed Miniat, Inc. v. Global Life Ins. Grp., Inc., 805
F.2d 732, 733 (7th Cir. 1986); Dilallo v. Miller &
Steeno, P.C., et al., No. 16 C 51, 2016 WL 4530319, at
*1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2016). This principle does not apply
to legal conclusions; the Court will not consider conclusory
claims. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
The Court draws all reasonable inferences in Pickett's
favor and construes all allegations in the light most
favorable to him. Ed Miniat. Inc., 805 F.2d at 733;
Dilallo, 2016 WL 4530319, at *1.
the CTA hired Pickett on or about July 18, 2005. Pickett
asserts in the Complaint that the CTA discriminated against
him “on or about, or beginning on or about” April
18, 2013. On January 15, 2016, Pickett filed a charge against
the CTA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the
“EEOC”). At this time, Pickett was working as a
bus driver for the CTA. The EEOC charge first asserts age
discrimination. Second, it alleges disability discrimination.
Pickett, however, fails to describe his disability in the
EEOC charge, stating only that “Respondent is aware of
[his] disability.” Pickett further claims that he was
“subjected to different terms and condition[s] of
employment, than younger and older disabled employees,
including but not limited to being able to work light
duty.” Lastly, the EEOC charge alleges retaliation,
whereby Pickett argued that “[o]n or about December 21,
2015, [he] was not allowed to return back to work on light
duty.” On February 1, 2016, the EEOC issued Pickett a
dismissal and notice of right to sue. Thereafter, Pickett
filed the Complaint.
Complaint, Pickett alleges retaliation, and he brings claims
of discrimination against the CTA under the Age
Discrimination Employment Act (the “ADEA”), the
Americans with Disabilities Act or Rehabilitation Act (the
“ADA”), and on the basis of his race, color, or
national origin under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pickett also
asserts that the CTA “failed to reasonably
accommodate” his disabilities; “failed to stop
harassment;” and retaliated against him because he
“did something to assert rights protected by the”
ADEA and the ADA. The entirety of the facts that Pickett
alleges in the Complaint, in addition to those pled in the
EEOC charge, which is attached to the Complaint and the
Motion,  are as follows:
The Defendant has and continues to cause me to lose income by
refusing to allow me to work in any capacity, even though I
[have] been cleared to do so by their doctor and mine. The
Defendant has engaged in activity that has amplified my PTSD,
and I feel is harassment by filling my personnel file with
unjustified disciplinary write ups, suspensions and warnings.
now seeks dismissal of the Complaint in its entirety, which
we grant in part and deny in part, as discussed below.
Rule 12(b)(6) motion ‘tests the sufficiency of the
complaint, not the merits of the case.'”
McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., 694
F.3d 873, 878 (7th Cir. 2012). The allegations in a complaint
must set forth “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). A claim must be facially plausible,
meaning that the pleadings “allow[ ] the court to draw
the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. A
plaintiff need not provide detailed factual allegations;
however, he must offer enough factual support to raise his
“right to relief above the speculative level.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007). He must provide “sufficient detail to give the
defendant ‘fair notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests.'” EEOC v.
Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773,
776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, ”
are insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Importantly, however,
pro se complaints are to be liberally construed, and
pro se submissions are held “to a less
stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541,
546 (7th Cir. 2009).
the CTA points to Pickett's failure to comply with the
Local Rules. Pickett filed a Response Brief exceeding ten
pages, single spaced, in violation of Northern District of
Illinois Local Rule 5.2(c), and without seeking leave of the
Court, as required by Local Rule 7.1. However, “[t]he
Court has broad discretion to determine how and when to
enforce local rules.” Beauchem v. Rockford Prods.
Corp., No. 01 C 50134, 2002 WL 31155088, at *2 (N.D.
Ill. Sept. 27, 2002); see Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712
F.3d 1166, 1169 (7th Cir. 2013) (“[U]nless the district
court ‘enforce[s] (or relax[es]) the rules unequally as
between the parties, ' the decision ‘to overlook
any transgression [of the local rules] is left to the
district court's discretion.'”) (quoting
Stevo v. Frasor, 662 F.3d 880, 887 (7th Cir. 2011)).
This Court accepts Pickett's Response as filed.
Sufficiency of the Complaint
as the CTA argues, generally, “it is axiomatic that the
complaint may not be amended by the briefs in opposition to a
motion to dismiss.” Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford
Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1107 (7th Cir. 1984). However,
“facts alleged in a brief in opposition to a motion to
dismiss” and “factual allegations contained in
other court filings of a pro se plaintiff may be
considered when evaluating the sufficiency of a
complaint” if ...