United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
HUMBERTO TRUJILLO, KATARZYNA NOGA, MARY BOYLE, AND ARTHUR BALDUCCI, Plaintiffs,
ROCKLEDGE FURNITURE LLC d/b/a ASHLEY FURNITURE HOMESTORE, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge.
Humberto Trujillo (“Trujillo”), Katarzyna Noga,
Mary Boyle and Arthur Balducci filed a two-count complaint
against Defendant Rockledge Furniture LLC d/b/a Ashley
Furniture Homestore (“Rockledge”), alleging they
were discriminated due to their age in violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 to 624
(Count I) and the Illinois Human Rights Act
(“IHRA”), 775 ILCS 5/2-102 (Count II). (Dkt. No.
24.) Pursuant to the Court's participation in the
Mandatory Initial Discovery Pilot Project, Rockledge answered
and also filed a Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a
claim against Trujillo pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
(Dkt. No. 26.) The motion to dismiss is granted and Plaintiff
is given leave to file an amended complaint if possible.
following facts derive from the complaint and are accepted as
true for the purposes of this motion. See Olson v.
Champaign County, Ill., 784 F.3d 1093, 1095 (7th Cir.
2015). Also accepted are facts and documents provided in the
opposition to the motion to dismiss that are consistent with
the pleadings. See Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675
F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012).
Trujillo's Employment History with Rockledge
worked for Rockledge in some form of management between 2007
and 2016.(Dkt. No. 24, ¶¶ 13, 14.) The
Defendant is registered with the Illinois Secretary of State
as “Rockledge Furniture LLC, ” and is a
subsidiary of Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc., both of
which are located in Wisconsin. (Id. ¶¶
4-5.) Rockledge is also registered in Illinois under the
following assumed names: “Ashley Furniture Outlet,
” “Ashley Sleep, ” and “Ashley
Furniture HomeStore - Rockledge.” (Id. ¶
5.) In 2015, Rockledge underwent a corporate reorganization
that involved the hiring of new employees and reassigning or
removing some of its existing employees at the management
level. (Id. ¶¶ 10, 11.)
part of this reorganization, Trujillo alleges that Rockledge
wanted to hire millennials and younger individuals for
management-level positions “at the expense of older
managers - regardless of how successful the older managers
had been during their tenure at Ashley.” (Id.
¶ 10.) Trujillo also alleges that he was improperly
turned down for a promotion to Regional Manager within
Rockledge as ineligible despite meeting the prerequisites
listed in the job-posting and that Rockledge later removed
the job description from its computer system. (Id.
¶ 33.) Trujillo learned of Rockledge's desire to
hire younger managers at a December 2015 corporate meeting.
(Id. ¶ 16.) The meeting included presentations
by the President in charge of the Midwest market, the
Executive Vice President of Retail Operations for the entire
U.S. market, a hiring recruiter - with every one of their
presentations emphasizing the need to hire younger people,
(Id. ¶¶ 17, 18, 19.)
the same time, Rockledge transferred a young sales manager
(“Sales Manager”) to the same store where
Trujillo served as the Store Manager. (Id. ¶
23.) Trujillo alleges that from the onset of his supervision
over the Sales Manager she routinely failed to perform her
job responsibilities and failed to show up for work shifts.
(Id. ¶¶ 24, 25, 28.) He also alleges that
the Sales Manager communicated that “she didn't
care if she lost her job, ” and that on at least one
occasion she did not report to a meeting because she was
drinking the night before. (Id. ¶¶ 25,
26.) Trujillo raised these issues with Rockledge's
corporate management both verbally and in writing on more
than one occasion. (Id. ¶¶ 25, 29.)
Instead of a reprimand, the Sales Manager received a
promotion from Rockledge and then resigned a few days later.
(Id. ¶¶ 27, 28.) Then, in March 2016,
Rockledge's Human Resources office conducted a store
audit of Trujillo's location resulting in his termination
by Rockledge. (Id. ¶ 30.)
Trujillo's Employment Discrimination Charge with
March 16, 2016, Trujillo filed a charged of discrimination
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), which his counsel filed jointly with
the Illinois Human Rights Commission (“IHRC”),
and he received a Notice of a Right to Sue. (Id.
¶ 34.) The EEOC charge identified Trujillo's
employer as “Ashley Furniture HomeStore, ” and
listed the store address and phone number where Trujillo
worked. (Id., ¶ 34; Dkt. No. 30, at 2.) Instead
of investigating the address or the number listed on the form
provided by Trujillo, the EEOC forwarded the charge to a
Texas-based company that is also a licensed franchisee of the
Ashley Furniture HomeStore brand and, in June 2016, the Texas
company responded saying that Trujillo was never an employee.
(Dkt. No. 30, at 3.) Then, in April 2017, the EEOC contacted
Trujillo's attorney and asked for more information about
his employer, which resulted in the attorney sending in a
copy of Trujillo's paystub and his mentioning to the EEOC
that the employer was actually Rockledge. (Id.) In
the interim, the other three Plaintiffs in this case properly
filed employment discrimination charges with the EEOC and the
IHRC against Rockledge. (Id.) Regardless of the new
information, the EEOC dismissed Trujillo's charge on
April 21, 2017; indicating that the reason for doing so was
that he was never an employee of the Texas-based Ashley
Furniture HomeStore. (Id. at 3-4.)
filed this suit asserting claims of employment discrimination
and retaliation based on his age in violation of federal and
state law. (Dkt. No. 24, ¶¶ 74, 85-86.) He seeks
declaratory relief, as well as compensatory and punitive
damages. (Id. at 16.)
(b)(6) requires dismissal of complaints that fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). On a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a
court must accept as true all of the well-pled allegations in
the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor
of the plaintiff. See Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank,
507 F.3d 614, 619 (7th Cir. 2007). To state a claim upon
which relief may be granted, 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). “Detailed factual allegations” are not
required, but the plaintiff must allege facts that, when
“accepted as true … state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)) (internal quotations
omitted). In analyzing whether a complaint meets this
standard, the “reviewing court [must] draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at
678. When the factual allegations are well pled, the Court
assumes their veracity and then determines if they plausibly