United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter comes before the Court on the defendants' motion
to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) (Doc. 10). Plaintiff William Gibson has responded to
the motion (Doc. 17).
Standard for Dismissal
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all allegations in the complaint.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To avoid dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure
to state a claim, a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). This
requirement is satisfied if the complaint (1) describes the
claim in sufficient detail to give the defendant fair notice
of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and
(2) plausibly suggests that the plaintiff has a right to
relief above a speculative level. Bell Atl., 550
U.S. at 555; see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009); EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., 496
F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl.,
550 U.S. at 556). “Determining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will . . . be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
worked as a police officer for the Village of East Cape
Girardeau, Illinois, (“Village”) beginning in
October 2013. In the summer of 2014, while a police officer,
Gibson filed a complaint with the Illinois Attorney
Registration and Disciplinary Commission of the Illinois
Supreme Court (“ARDC”) charging that two
attorneys who represented the Village engaged in a conflict
of interest because they drafted a liquor control ordinance
for the Village while simultaneously representing clients who
would be seeking liquor control licenses. Later, Gibson filed
two more ARDC complaints charging that another attorney who
represented the Village, Matthew Farrell, had a conflict of
interest when he represented suspects arrested by Gibson
while also doing work for the Village.
Dave Fager, Bob Porter, Doris Quick, Donnie Smith and Jason
Tubbs were on the Village's Board of Trustees, and
defendant Joe Aden was the Village Mayor. At a Board meeting
on July 14, 2015, Aden reported that Gibson had filed the
ARDC complaint against Farrell. In the course of the meeting,
Tubbs moved to terminate Gibson's employment, and the
Trustees approved the motion. Gibson believes he was
terminated in retaliation for his complaint to the ARDC about
December 2016, Gibson filed this lawsuit. In the Complaint,
Gibson asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
the individual defendants for violating his First Amendment
rights by retaliating against him for engaging in
constitutionally protected speech (Count 1). He also asserts
a claim against the Village under the Illinois Whistleblower
Act, 740 ILCS 174/1 (Count 2).
their motion to dismiss, the defendants ask the Court to
dismiss Aden since he was not personally involved in moving
to terminate Gibson or in voting on the motion. They also ask
the Court to dismiss the individual defendants from Count 2
because there is no individual liability under the
Whistleblower Act, only employer liability, and because they
are entitled to immunity under the Illinois Tort Immunity
Act, 745 ILCS 10/2-201. They also ask the Court to dismiss
the individual defendants from Count 1 in their official
capacities as redundant of Gibson's claim against the
Village. And finally, they argue the claim for damages under
the Illinois Whistleblower Act is barred by the one-year
statute of limitations in 745 ILCS 10/8-101, although the
claim for injunctive relief may not be.
response, Gibson contends he has sufficiently pled Aden's
involvement in the decision to terminate him to keep him in
Count 1 and offers other allegations that he could plead to
show Aden's personal involvement. He also argues that the
individual defendants should be kept in Count 1 in their
official capacities for the purpose of providing equitable
relief in the form of reinstatement. With respect to Count 2,
Gibson points out that he has not sued the individual
defendants under the Whistleblower Act so there is no need to
dismiss them from that count, and he concedes that he has
brought Count 2 beyond the statute of limitations to the
extent it seeks money damages.
appears that the parties agree that Count 2, to the extent it
seeks money damages, should be dismissed with prejudice.
Therefore, the Court need only address the parties'
arguments regarding Count 1.
Failure to State Claim Against Aden
claims Gibson has not pled sufficient facts to show he was
personally involved in the decision to terminate Gibson.
“[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 . . .
requires personal involvement in the alleged constitutional
deprivation. The plaintiff must demonstrate a causal
connection between (1) the sued officials and (2) the alleged
misconduct.” Co ...