United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
KEIRAND R. MOORE, Plaintiff,
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
JONATHAN E. HAWLEY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
before the Court are the Defendant's Motion for Judgment
on the Pleadings as to Moore's So-Called “EEOC
Violation” & State Law Wrongful Termination Claims
(Doc. 65) and its Motion for Summary Judgment on Moore's
Breach of Contract Claim (Doc 67). The Motions are fully
briefed and for the reasons set forth below, the
Defendant's Motions are GRANTED.
February 3, 2015, Plaintiff Keirand R. Moore (Moore) filed
his Complaint (Doc. 1) against Defendant State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm) raising various
potential claims as identified by the Court in its previous
orders. See, e.g., 2/2/2016 Order (Doc.
27); 5/22/2017 Order (Doc. 57). The general thrust of his
Complaint was that he was discriminated against because he is
black and he was subjected to retaliation for complaining
about racism within the company. The Court previously
identified as potential claims, among others, an Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) violation, wrongful
termination, and a violation of State Farm's internal
policies. State Farm moves for judgment on the pleadings as
to the claims of an EEOC violation and wrongful termination.
State Farm moves for summary judgment as to Moore's state
law breach of contract claim based upon a violation of State
Farm's internal policies. The Court will address each
Motion in turn.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) permits a party to move for
judgment after the parties have filed the complaint and
answer. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) (“After the pleadings are
closed - but early enough not to delay trial - a party may
move for judgment on the pleadings); N. Ind. Gun &
Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of South Bend, 163 F.3d 449,
452 (7th Cir. 1998). Rule 12(c) motions are reviewed under
the same standard as a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2014).
Thus, the question is whether the complaint states a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face. Id. at 728.
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief about the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In other
words, “[T]he plaintiff must allege ‘more than a
sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.'” McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch &
Co., 694 F.3d 873, 885 (7th Cir. 2012), quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
State Farm first essentially argues that Moore does not state
a plausible claim for relief where there is no such
recognized claim for EEOC violations in the first instance.
State Farm argues that there is no right of action for an
EEOC violation because the Commission enforces Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq., and does not impose obligations independent of
Title VII on State Farm as concerns Moore's employment.
State Farm is entitled to judgment on the pleadings as to
Moore's EEOC violation claim.
Moore does not offer any argument relevant to the question of
whether there is a right of action for an EEOC violation.
Instead, Moore offers a continued narrative on the
circumstances underlying his lawsuit. In the
“Conclusion” section of his Response to the
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Moore states,
“The big question in this case is: Can an employer fire
someone “at will”, [sic] even when it is in
violation of EEOC laws regarding retaliation and
discrimination?” Plf's Resp (Doc. 75 at pg. 28). He
basically concedes he claims violations of Title VII
rather than violations of the procedures implemented for the
enforcement of Title VII. Second, long ago the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals explained that “[i]t is
settled law, in this and other circuits, that Title VII does
not provide an express or implied cause of action against the
EEOC to challenge its investigation and processing of a
charge.” McCottrell v. E.E.O.C., 726 F.2d 350,
351 (7th Cir. 1984). Moore's claim for an EEOC violation
is dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted.
state law wrongful termination claim must also be dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted. State Farm argues that Moore's wrongful
termination claim is preempted by the Illinois Human Rights
Act (IHRA) and Title VII which are the exclusive means by
which claims of racial discrimination and retaliation for
opposing such discrimination are adjudicated. Moore does not
argue otherwise but only asserts that “[t]his is a
clear case of wrongful termination” where he has been
subjected to “racial bigotry” and retaliation.
IHRA preempts court claims where the basis for the claim
arises from a matter covered under the Act, unless the
plaintiff can establish a basis for imposing liability on
defendants independent of the Act.” Nelson v.
Realty Consulting Servs., Inc., 431 F.
App'x 502, 506 (7th Cir. 2011). Here, Moore's
Complaint makes clear that he rests his allegations of
wrongful termination upon State Farm's alleged racial
bigotry and its retaliation against him for filing charges of
racial discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human
Rights (IDHR). Thus, none of his allegations or argument in
opposition to State Farm's Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings suggest that he can establish a basis for imposing
liability on State Farm independent of the IHRA. See More
v. Roadway Express, Inc., No. 97 C 6661, 1998 WL 292417,
at *7 (N.D. Ill. May 19, 1998) (“Where . . . Illinois
provides a statutory remedy for the particular type of
misconduct that violates public policy, no independent common
law tort is recognized; the person instead must proceed under
the statute”). Stated more simply, “Allegations
of retaliation for opposing race-based discrimination are not
only covered by the IHRA, but are also covered by Title
VII.” Jones v. Sabis Educ. Sys., Inc., No. 98
C 4252, 1999 WL 1206955, at *10 (N.D. Ill.Dec. 13, 1999).
Moore's wrongful termination claim is, as State Farm puts
it, an unnecessary addition to his claim that State Farm
violated the IHRA and Title VII when his employment was
Motion for Summary Judgment, State Farm argues two points: 1)
Moore's state law breach of contract claim based upon a
violation of State Farm's internal policies fails as a
matter of law because the home page of those policies
contains a disclaimer that employees are employed at-will and
that State Farm's internal policies do not constitute a
contract; and 2) State Farm's non-retaliation and equal
employment opportunity policies reiterate pre-existing legal
duties and do not constitute an independent basis for an
award of contract damages if violated.
single undisputed fact is that at the end of Moore's
employment on or about April 5, 2014 (per his Complaint),
State Farm's Human Resources Policy Manual contained ...