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Burton v. Board of Education for City of Chicago

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 23, 2018

ANNE BURTON, Plaintiff,



         The Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) with prejudice. [16]. Because the Board of Education for the City of Chicago is the proper Defendant as Plaintiff's employer, the Court dismisses the State of Illinois, the School Directors of Dist. 299, and Cook County as named Defendants in this matter. See Hearne v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, 185 F.3d 770, 777 (7th Cir. 1999). All pending dates and deadlines are stricken. Civil case terminated.


         After granting Defendants' first motion to dismiss without prejudice, [1] on November 13, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Anne Burton filed the present First Amended Complaint against her former employer Defendant Board of Education, along with individual Defendants, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq. Plaintiff also brings a race discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 based on her former employment with the Board as a substitute teacher at Lane Technical High School in Chicago.

         Before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendants' motion with prejudice because Plaintiff cannot bring ADEA, ADA, Title VII, and Rehabilitation Act claims against the individual Defendants as a matter of law and the official capacity claims against them are redundant to her claims against the Board. Further, the Court grants Defendants' motion to dismiss with prejudice because the Court has already granted Plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint in which she failed to cure the deficiencies made in her original complaint. See Doe v. Columbia Coll. Chicago, No. 17-CV-00748, 2018 WL 497284, at *5 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 22, 2018).


         “A motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) challenges the viability of a complaint by arguing that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014); see also Hill v. Serv. Emp. Int'l Union, 850 F.3d 861, 863 (7th Cir. 2017). Under Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Pursuant to the federal pleading standards, a plaintiff's “factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Put differently, a “complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). When determining the sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard, courts must “accept all well-pleaded facts as true and draw reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs' favor.” Park Pet Shop, Inc. v. City of Chicago, 872 F.3d 495, 499 (7th Cir. 2017).


         Construing her pro se First Amended Complaint and EEOC Charge liberally, see Echols v. Craig, 855 F.3d 807, 812 (7th Cir. 2017), Plaintiff alleges that she began her employment with the Board of Education in September 2014 and her most recent position was substitute teacher at Lane Technical High School (“Lane Tech”) in Chicago. She further states that during her employment she was subjected to harassment and that Defendants discriminated against her because of her race, age, and disability. More specifically, in her First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff brings claims against the Board of Education, along with the following Defendants in their individual capacities: (1) Damir Ara, Assistant Principal at Lane Tech; (2) Mollie Hart, Human Resources; (3) Mary Ernesti, Human Resources; and (4) Gabriela Gonzalez, “Lunchroom Lady.” Plaintiff alleges that these individuals, along with the Board of Education, terminated her employment in November 2016, failed to reasonably accommodate her disabilities, failed to stop harassment, and retaliated against her because she did something to assert her rights protected by Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, the Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

         In particular, Plaintiff alleges that Assistant Principal Ara “committed egregious fraud and waste by using his government position.” Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that Assistant Principal Ara “intentionally and knowingly refused to ensure that a public school student receive[d] proper medical care for a bleeding complication, ensure that fire codes were not violated by the misuse of government property by the lunchroom personnel and to ensure the protection and safety operation of the building and personnel at Lane Tech.” She also alleges that Defendants “Ara and Gonzalez falsely imprisoned Plaintiff and more than 35 Chicago Public School children of color” and that “Lunchroom Lady Gonzalez contributed to the head injuries sustained by the female student on or about May 24, 2016 at Lane Tech High School[.]” Plaintiff asserts that “Lunchroom Lady Gonzalez further endangered the safety of the female student by obstructing her right to medical care[.]” Plaintiff states that Assistant Principal Ara “further endangered the safety of the students by leaving the Chicago Public School students unsupervised and exposing the other over 1, 000 children to further child endangerment” and that “he failed to provide medical care for the injured white female student for blood borne pathogens.”

         Plaintiff alleges that when she complained of these egregious violations, including fire code violations and violations of the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act, 325 ILCS 5/1, she was “fired, harassed, lied on, and called the ‘n' word.” Plaintiff maintains that the Board immediately suspended her because she invoked her civil rights under the federal constitution and then terminated her employment because she required disability medication. She explains that the Board's response was “a distraction from the real criminal activities that appeared to be instituted by Damir Ara and Lunch Lady Gonzalez.” Plaintiff further asserts that “Plaintiff and Chicago Public Schools children were confined to what seem like a cage, prison because of Plaintiff's race, disability and age.”

         Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Hart and Ernesti “appeared to have conspired with Defendant Gonzalez and Damir Ara by subjecting Plaintiff and the Chicago Public School children to Jim Crow an educational environment.” She further states that the “Board should not use federal, state and City of Chicago tax payer's revenue to represent the Defendant Damir Ara, Defendant Mollie Hart, Defendant Mary Ernesti, Defendant Gabriel Gonzalez whom Plaintiff believe[s] have committed criminal and Jim crow acts against children and children of color at Chicago Public School[s].” Plaintiff alleges that Defendants' “conduct has caused irreparable damages to Plaintiff and perhaps to Chicago Public School students.”


         I. ADEA, ADA, Title VII, and ...

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