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Schindler v. Marriott International, Inc.

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

April 25, 2018

ROBERT J. SCHINDLER, Plaintiff,
v.
MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL, INC. Defendant.

          ORDER

          AMY J. ST. EVE, United States District Court Judge

         The Court grants in part and denies in part Defendant's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. [21]. Also, the Court grants Defendant's Rule 12(f) motion to strike. Status hearing set for May 31, 2018 is stricken and reset to May 15, 2018 at 8:30 a.m. Plaintiff is given leave to participate in the status hearing via telephone. Plaintiff is directed to provide the courtroom deputy with his contact telephone number by May 14, 2018.

         STATEMENT

         On August 9, 2017, pro se Plaintiff Robert Schindler filed the present employment discrimination lawsuit against Defendant Marriott International, Inc. (“Marriott” or “Defendant”) pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.[1] Before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) and Rule 12(f) motion to strike. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court also grants Defendant's Rule 12(f) motion to strike. The remaining claims in this lawsuit include: (1) Plaintiff's failure to hire claim; and (2) his retaliation claim.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         “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 accept all well-pleaded facts as true and draw reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Forgue v. City of Chicago, 873 F.3d 962, 966 (7th Cir. 2017). Moreover, courts construe pro se filings liberally. Echols v. Craig, 855 F.3d 807, 812 (7th Cir. 2017).

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff has filed numerous lawsuits in this district, including Schindler v. Marriott Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel, Case No. 14 C 4392 (N.D. Ill. June 12, 2014) (the “2014 lawsuit”).[2] His 2014 lawsuit was based on an EEOC Charge dated May 17, 2013, and corresponding right-to-sue letter dated March 13, 2014. Judge Pallmeyer was the presiding judge in this earlier lawsuit brought pursuant to the ADA, and on July 16, 2015, she dismissed the case without prejudice based, in part, on pro se Plaintiff's refusal to respond to Defendant's written discovery requests. In a July 16, 2015 minute order, Judge Pallmeyer directed pro se Plaintiff to file a motion to reinstate the case within fourteen days, but required Plaintiff to provide “full and complete responses to the discovery requests and interrogatories” when doing so. Instead of moving to reinstate the case, Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal on July 22, 2015. On May 6, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued an order affirming the judgment of the district court. In that order, the Seventh Circuit warned pro se Plaintiff that “pursuit of additional frivolous litigation in this court may subject him to monetary sanctions.”

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff filed the present lawsuit on August 9, 2017 based on an EEOC Charge dated September 22, 2016, and a corresponding right-to-sue letter dated May 8, 2017. (R. 12, Compl. ¶ 7.1(i), Attach. 9-10.) Construing pro se Plaintiff's allegations liberally, in the present Complaint, Plaintiff sets forth the same allegations that he brought in his earlier 2014 lawsuit, including that in the fall of 2012, he applied for a bar attendant position with Defendant's Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center Hotel and was hired. Plaintiff, who is visually impaired, alleges that Defendant did not conduct a proper orientation for him and that in January 2013, Defendant terminated his employment. Plaintiff alleges additional facts in relation to his termination in January 2013 - which was the subject of his earlier 2014 lawsuit.

         Nonetheless, Plaintiff's new lawsuit and 2016 EEOC Charge concern Defendant's failure to hire him based on his disability - as recently as August 26, 2016. He also brings a retaliation claim based on his earlier-filed 2013 EEOC Charge and 2014 lawsuit. Plaintiff maintains that he has applied for over a thousand jobs via Defendant's corporate website, along with sending resumes and cover letters to Marriott properties across the Chicago area, yet Defendant did not hire him. He seeks $2 million in damages.

         ANALYSIS

         In bringing this lawsuit, pro se Plaintiff used the Northern District of Illinois' form for employment discrimination cases, and in doing so, he checked the box that Defendant had terminated his employment, along with the failure to hire, retaliation, and reasonable accommodation boxes. According to Plaintiff's first lawsuit and corresponding 2013 EEOC Charge, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment on January 1, 2013 - which was the subject of Plaintiff's 2014 lawsuit. Thus, Plaintiff's termination claim in the present lawsuit is not within the scope of his 2016 EEOC Charge. See Sommerfield v. City of Chicago, 863 F.3d 645, 648 (7th Cir. 2017); Huri v. Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook Cnty., 804 F.3d 826, 832 (7th Cir. 2015). Also, the Court dismisses Plaintiff's termination claim based on issue preclusion due to the earlier 2014 lawsuit. Sanchez v. City of Chicago, 880 F.3d 349, 357 (7th Cir. 2018) (“courts, in the interest of ...


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