United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Z. LEE United States District Judge
teacher for the Chicago Public Schools (“CPS”),
Mark Thompson was the subject of number suspensions and
transfers. He eventually was terminated on August 13, 2002.
Since that time, Thompson has brought no less than seven
lawsuits in state and federal court challenging these
actions. Defendants have moved to dismiss the Second Amended
Complaint based, in large part, on res judicata and
absolute immunity. As explained below, the Court grants the
motions  and dismisses the case.
Factual & Procedural Background
Thompson is an African-American teacher who worked for the
CPS from 2001 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2013. CPS is governed
by the Defendant Board of Education of the City of Chicago
(“Board”), . 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 99.
times relevant to the complaint, Defendant James Sullivan was
the Board's Inspector General, id. ¶ 18,
Defendant Linda Brown was the Board's Director of
Investigations, id. ¶ 9, and Defendant Thomas
Krieger was the Board's Director of Office of Employee
Relations, id. ¶ 16. Defendant Forrest Claypool
was CPS's CEO, id. ¶ 12, and Defendant
Harold Ardell was CPS's law department investigator.
Finally, Defendant Alicia Winckler was CPS's Chief Talent
Officer, and Defendant Reginald Evans worked for CPS as the
principal of Harlan High School. Id. ¶ 13.
Illinois State Board of Education (“ISBE”)
enforces state education regulations. Id. ¶ 8.
Defendant Dan Nielsen was employed by ISBE as the hearing
officer that presided over Thompson's dismissal hearing.
Id. ¶ 17.
addition to teaching for the CPS, Thompson provided private
athletic training to Defendant Jane Doe. Id. ¶
15. Doe and her mother, who is also a defendant, lived
outside of Cook County, and Jane did not attend a CPS school.
Id. ¶¶ 14-15. Jane Doe received mental
health treatment from Defendant Dr. Claudia P. Welke, a
psychiatrist, through Defendant Northshore University Health
System (“NUHS”). Id. ¶¶ 9, 19.
Thompson's Lawsuit that Forms the Basis for his Title VII
December 20, 2010, Thompson filed a lawsuit in the Circuit
Court of Cook County, 2010 L 014372. Id. ¶ 33.
That lawsuit, which was eventually removed to federal court
and heard by Judge Ronald A. Guzmán, No. 11 C 1712,
was brought against the Board, Keith Brookshire, Deborah
Edwards-Clay, and Reginald Evans, claiming gender and race
discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981. Thompson also asserted a violation of the
Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 174 et
seq., breach of contract, tortious interference with
contract, negligent supervision, libel per se, intentional
infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy. No.
11 C 1712, 5th Am. Compl., ECF No. 178.
subject matters of the lawsuit were Thompson's suspension
and termination from various coaching positions and physical
education teaching positions as well as his transfer to a
history teacher position, all of which occurred in 2010 while
he worked at Harlan High School. Id. Thompson had
not yet been fired when he filed the complaint.
Guzmán entered summary judgment in favor of the
defendants on most of the claims, but he permitted Thompson
to proceed on his claim that he had been suspended in
retaliation for filing certain EEOC complaints. See
Thompson v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi, No. 11 C 1712,
2014 WL 1322958, at *9 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 2, 2014). Thompson and
the defendants settled the case in January 2015.
The End of Thompson's Tenure with CPS
provided private athletic training to Jane Doe for several
months. 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 15. Doe told local authorities
that Thompson had stalked her, but the Board declined to
investigate the claim in May 2010. Id. ¶ 32.
Doe also told her psychiatrist, Dr. Welke, in April 2011,
that Thompson had raped her when she was 17. Id.
¶ 19. Dr. Welke, in turn, reported Doe's account to
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
(“DCFS”). Id. ¶ 35.
claims that the Board solicited Doe, through her mother, to
falsely accuse him of rape in retaliation for his prior suit
against the Board and its employees. Id. ¶ 34.
Thompson also alleges that Doe, her mother, and the Board
conspired to have his employment terminated. Id.
of the investigation into Doe's complaint, in August
2011, unbeknownst to Thompson, the Board subpoenaed and
obtained Thompson's confidential AOL email records from
January 2009 to December 2010. Id. ¶ 41.
Thompson also alleges that the Board obstructed justice and
prevented him from learning about Doe's allegations
against him until January 24, 2012. Id. ¶ 36.
According to Thompson, the Board then interviewed Thompson
and obtained his training schedule so that Doe and her mother
could use it to file a false police report in February 2012.
Id. ¶ 45.
21, 2012, Defendant Evans gave Thompson an
“unsatisfactory” evaluation. Id. ¶
51. The Board removed him from the classroom in June 2012.
Id. ¶ 52. Thompson alleges the
“unsatisfactory” evaluation was concocted by the
Board as a pretext to terminate his employment in order to
conceal the Board's retaliatory motive. Id.
¶ 53. According to Thompson, the Board allowed him to
continue teaching students while it was investigating
Doe's accusations because the Board knew the accusations
were false. Id.
on the investigation into Doe's claims, the Board
suspended Thompson without pay on September 13, 2012, pending
the ISBE dismissal hearing. Id. ¶ 52. The Board
refused to turn over any related investigatory records to
Thompson. Id. ¶ 58. In response to court
orders, the Board turned over investigatory files on February
25, 2013, but, according to Thompson, the files it provided
were incomplete, fabricated, and altered. Id. ¶
60. Thompson asserts that the Board relied on these files to
terminate his employment on August 16, 2013, and during the
ISBE hearing on December 9, 2013. Id. ¶¶
68-70; see Board's Mem. Supp., Ex F, Opinion
to filing the instant lawsuit, Thompson also sued the Board,
its employees, Jane Doe, Jane Doe's mother, and others in
the Circuit Court of Lake County (“No. 13 L
879”).Board's Mem. Supp., Ex. B, 13 L 879
Compl. That case, filed in November 2013, asserted twelve
state-law tort and statutory claims related to the Doe
investigation, including claims that the Board and CPS
employees had subjected him to negligent infliction of
emotional distress, and that the Board, Doe, and her mother
had conspired (1) to conceal Doe's allegations from him;
(2) to fabricate, alter, and destroy evidence; (3) to
illegally obtain his confidential communications; and (4) to
terminate Thompson's employment. The circuit court denied
Thompson's motion to add a Title VII claim, in part,
because it found that Thompson had waited too long to add the
claim causing undue prejudice to the defendants. See
Pl.'s Mem. Supp., Ex. F, 8/26/14 Order in No. 13 L 879.
defendants filed a motion to dismiss, which the state court
granted in August 2014. See Board's Mem. Supp.,
Ex. C, Opinion. And Thompson filed a timely appeal in state
appeal, the Illinois appellate court affirmed the judgment in
all respects and, in particular, affirmed the denial of the
motion to add the Title VII claim. See Id. Thompson
petitioned for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court,
which was denied, see id., Ex. D, PLA denial,