United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
RICHARD MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Ali Naqvi asserts a number of
claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
42 U.S.C. §2000e, in addition to various state law
is the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
allowed in part, denied in part.
times relevant to this case, Plaintiff Ali Naqvi was the
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of
Defendant Illinois Health and Science (“IHS”), an
Illinois not-for-profit corporation; Decatur Memorial
Hospital (“DMH”), an Illinois not-for-profit
corporation; and Zevacor Pharma, Inc., n/k/a Zevacor
(“Zevacor Pharma”), a Virginia corporation
registered as a foreign corporation in Illinois. Zevacor
Molecular n/k/a Global Isotopes, LLC, is an Illinois limited
is of South Asian descent and is non-white. Naqvi believes he
was the first non-white executive hired in the 100-year
history of DMH. According to the amended complaint, Naqvi was
exposed to a work place environment that was tainted by
overtly discriminatory animus and hostilities toward
non-white employees, including Naqvi.
DMH are governed by various boards of directors and
committees. The Boards of Directors of IHS and DMH proscribed
rules, regulations, policies, directives and procedures to
govern the operations of IHS, DMH and Zevacor.
Timothy D. Stone, Jr. served as Executive Vice President and
administrator of DMH until approximately November 5, 2015. On
or about November 6, 2015, Stone was named President and
Chief Executive Officer of DMH. Additionally, Stone served as
ex-officio member of the Board of Directors of DMH.
Roy Mosser is Chairman of the Boards of Directors of IHS and
DMH. Mosser is also a supplier to DMH.
Ron Drane is a Director on the Board of Directors of Zevacor.
Additionally, the financial institution that primarily
employed Drane provided financing to DMH.
Robin King is a Director on the Boards of Directors of IHS
Defendant John Funk is a Director on the Boards of Directors
of IHS and DMH. Former Defendant Scott Fredericksen is a
Director on the Board of Directors of IHS. Former Defendant
Ken Smithmier is the President and CEO of DMH, IHS and
Zevacor. Additionally, Smithmier was an ex-officio member of
the Boards of Directors of IHS and DMH.
further alleges that DMH has a Board of Directors who oversaw
operations of DMH and the aforementioned directors also
served on the Boards of Directors of IHS, DMH and Zevacor.
claims he has complied with all administrative requirements
and timely filed his complaint.
Defendants allege there are a number of deficiencies with
Naqvi's amended complaint, including the failure to
exhaust administrative remedies.
Defendants also assert Naqvi fails to state a claim and the
action is barred under the statute of frauds.
stage, the Court accepts as true all of the facts alleged in
the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences therefrom.
See Virnich v. Vorwald, 664 F.3d 206, 212 (7th Cir.
2011). “[A] complaint must provide a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, which is sufficient to provide the defendant with
fair notice of the claim and its basis.” Maddox v.
Love, 655 F.3d 709, 718 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Courts must consider whether the
complaint states a “plausible” claim for relief.
See Id. The complaint must do more than assert a
right to relief that is “speculative.” See
Id. However, the claim need not be probable: “a
well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a savvy
judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable, and
that a recovery is very remote and unlikely.” See
Independent Trust Corp. v. Stewart Information Services
Corp., 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556
(2007)). “To meet this plausibility standard, the
complaint must supply ‘enough fact to raise a
reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal
evidence' supporting the plaintiff's
Count I, Naqvi asserts claims of racial discrimination,
disparate treatment and hostile work environment against
Defendants IHS, DMH and Zevacor. Naqvi was hired on November
18, 2013 and remained employed with IHS, DMH and Zevacor
until November 5, 2015, when those entities terminated his
Defendants allege Count I should be dismissed as to certain
Defendants for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
They note that the Plaintiff defines Zevacor to include
Zevacor Molecular and Zevacor Pharma, Inc., now known as
Global Isotopes, LLC. Paragraph 34 of the Complaint states
that Naqvi “has complied with all administrative
prerequisites by timely filing Charges of Discrimination with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) against Defendants, IHS, DMH and
Zevacor.” It further provides that Naqvi has received
right to sue letters as to each filing.
Defendants assert, however, that the actual EEOC charge does
not even reference all entities that the Complaint now
defines as “Zevacor.” Moreover, the
“Particulars” of the charge contain no reference
to any Zevacor entity at all. There is no allegation in the
charge that Zevacor engaged in any discriminatory conduct and
even no allegation that Naqvi was ever employed by Zevacor.
Accordingly, the Defendants assert Zevacor should be
dismissed as a Defendant in Count I because Naqvi failed to
exhaust administrative remedies as to Zevacor.
VII plaintiff is not permitted to raise a claim that has not
been raised in his EEOC charge, “unless the claim is
reasonably related to one of the EEOC charges and can be
expected to develop from an investigation into the charges
actually raised.” Whitaker v. Milwaukee County,
Wisconsin, 772 F.3d 802, 812 (7th Cir. 2014). There must
be a factual relationship between the claims in order for
them to be “reasonably related to one another.”
See id. “This means that the EEOC charge and
the complaint must, at minimum, describe the same
conduct and implicate the same
individuals.” Id. at 812-13 (internal
quotation marks omitted).
to Naqvi's complaint are three right-to-sue letters from
the EEOC referencing each administrative filing. As reflected
in Exhibit C, one of these right-to-sue letters pertains to
Zevacor Molecular aka Zevacor Pharma.
as Exhibit A to Naqvi's response to the Defendants'
motion to dismiss is a copy of his submission letter sent to
the EEOC with Naqvi's charge of discrimination as well as
correspondence from counsel for the Defendants, acknowledging
the three charges of discrimination filed by Naqvi, including
the charge filed against Zevacor, and a copy of the notice of
filing of an EEOC charge of discrimination sent to Kevin
Horvath, Chief Financial Officer of Zevacor.
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court generally does not
look outside the pleadings. “[H]owever, the court may
take into consideration documents incorporated by reference
to the pleadings and may also take judicial notice of matters
of public record.” Milwaukee Police Assoc. v.
Flynn, 863 F.3d 636, 640 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal
quotation marks omitted). The Court hereby takes judicial
notice of the EEOC charge and right-to-sue letters that have
been incorporated by reference to the pleadings.
Plaintiff alleges that to the extent the allegations of the
charge of discrimination filed against Zevacor mirrored the
allegations of the charges of discrimination filed against
IHS and DMH, the actions arise out of the same set of facts
and circumstances giving rise to the actionable conduct
alleged in Naqvi's charges of discrimination, thereby
meeting the requirement that a plaintiff exhaust
administrative remedies prior to instituting a Title VII
the record establishes that Naqvi filed an administrative
action against Zevacor and it is alleged that the allegations
of the charge mirror the allegations of the charges of
discrimination against IHS and DMH, the Court concludes that
Naqvi has exhausted administrative remedies as to the Zevacor
entities as well.
motion to dismiss Count I will be denied.