United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JORGE ALONSO United States District Judge
the Court are defendants' motions to dismiss
plaintiff's Complaint ,  pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the
Office of the Chief Judge's motion  is granted in
part and denied in part. Defendants Alexander, Das, and
Patterson's motion  is granted. Plaintiff is given an
opportunity to amend his complaint by July 10, 2018
consistent with this opinion if he chooses to do so. Status
hearing previously set for June 21, 2018 is stricken and
reset to July 12, 2018 at 9:30 a.m.
Jason Smith is a probation officer for the Office of the
Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County
(“Office of Chief Judge”). He has worked as a
probation officer since April 3, 2003.
about November 9, 2016, Smith filed a Charge of
Discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights,
alleging a claim of retaliation. Smith alleged that he
engaged in various protected activities from 2012 through
2014 while serving as Vice President of the Local Union,
including appearing as a witness in a discrimination case.
Smith claimed that, on or about July 8, 2016, defendants
retaliated against him by denying him a flex-time schedule-a
schedule that was not denied to similarly situated employees
who did not participate in protected activities. On October
19, 2017, Smith received a right-to-sue letter.
November 17, 2017, plaintiff, proceeding pro se,
filed suit against “Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of
Cook County, ” Dennis Alexander, Avik Das, and William
Patterson, alleging claims of discrimination and retaliation.
He alleges that defendants denied him a flex-time schedule
but approved a similar schedule for a white probation
officer. He attaches a copy of his Charge of Discrimination
and his right to sue letters.
asserts the following claims against the Office of the Chief
Judge: unlawful color, national origin, and race
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 (“Title VII”) and 42 U.S.C.
§1981 (“§1981”); unlawful sex
discrimination in violation of Title VII; retaliation; and
unlawful race, color, and national origin discrimination in
violation of 42 U.S.C. §1983 (“§1983”).
The Office of the Chief Judge moves to dismiss, arguing that
plaintiff's §§1981 and 1983 claims are barred
by the Eleventh Amendment. Additionally, the Office of the
Chief Judge argues that plaintiff's claims of
discrimination based on color, national origin, race, and sex
under Title VII fail because plaintiff did not exhaust his
defendants Alexander, Das, and Patterson, plaintiff asserts
the following claims: unlawful color, national origin, and
race discrimination in violation of Title VII and §1981;
unlawful sex discrimination in violation of Title VII; and
retaliation. Defendants Alexander, Das, and Patterson move to
dismiss the Title VII claims, arguing that individual
liability does not exist under Title VII.
purpose of a Rule 12(b) motion to dismiss is to test the
sufficiency of the complaint, not decide the merits of the
case. Derfus v. City of Chi., 42 F.Supp.3d 888, 893
(7th Cir. 2014). To survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to
Rule 12(b)(6), a pleading that purports to state a claim for
relief must “state a claim to relief that is plausible
on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim satisfies this standard when
its factual allegations “raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555-56; see also Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d
400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[P]laintiff must give enough
details about the subject-matter of the case to present a
story that holds together.”). For purposes of a motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts “as true all of the
well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of the plaintiff.” Platt v.
Brown, 872 F.3d 848, 851 (7th Cir. 2017). “A
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed,
… and a pro se complaint, however inartfully
pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal
pleadings drafted by lawyers. Beal v. Beller, 847
F.3d 897, 902 (7th Cir. 2017).
Office of the Chief Judge argues that plaintiff's
§§1981 and 1983 claims should be dismissed because
the Office of the Chief Judge is not a person for purposes of
plaintiff's §§1981 and 1983 claims and because
the Eleventh Amendment shields the Office of the Chief Judge
Eleventh Amendment provides: “The Judicial power of the
United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in
law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the
United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or
Subjects of any Foreign State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI.
“If properly raised, the amendment bars actions in
federal court against a state, state agencies, or state
officials acting in their official capacities.”
Ind. Prot. & AdvocacyServs. v. Ind. Family
& Soc. Servs. Admin., 603 F.3d 365, 370 (7th Cir.
2010). A state agency cannot be sued under §§1981
and 1983 unless an exception to immunity applies. See
Will v. Mich. Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66
(1989) (“neither a State nor its official acting in
their official capacities are ‘persons' under
§1983”); see also Carter v. Ill. Dep't of
Commerce and Cmty. Affairs, 600 F.Supp. 583 (N.D. Ill.
1984); Titus v. Ill. Dep't of Transp., 828
F.Supp.2d 957, 967 (N.D. Ill. 2011). “An official
capacity suit is the same as a suit against the entity of
which the officer is an agent.” DeGenova v. Sheriff
of DuPage Cty., 209 F.3d 973, 975 n.1 (7th Cir. 2000).
State officials named in their official capacities may not be
sued for monetary damages in federal court. See Milazzo
v. O'Connell, 925 F.Supp. 1331, 1336 n. 1 (N.D. Ill.