United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
I. Schenkier United States Magistrate Judge.
Khesi Pillows and Tiffany Wilson are former employees of
defendant Cook County Recorder of Deeds Office (the
"Recorder's Office"). On November 13, 2018,
plaintiffs filed a two-count complaint against the
Recorder's Office and defendant Cook County, alleging
that the Recorder's Office violated consent decrees
entered in Shakman v. Democratic Organization of Cook
County, No. 69 cv 2145 (N.D. 111.)
(“Shakman Decrees") and requesting
indemnification from Cook County (doc. # 1: Compl.). On April
11, 2019, after obtaining an extension of time to respond,
defendants moved to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint with
prejudice under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6)
(doc. # 12; doc. # 14: Defs.' Mot. to
Dismiss). Defendants' motion is now fully
briefed. For the reasons set forth below, we grant
defendants' motion to dismiss, but do so without
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges the sufficiency of a
complaint. Bonnstetter v. City of Chicago, 811 F.3d
969, 973 (7th Cir. 2016). A complaint must contain enough
information, in the form of "a short and plain statement
of the claim," to give the defendant "fair
notice" of the claim and its basis. Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2); Bell Atl Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). Notice alone, however, is insufficient to survive
a motion to dismiss; a complaint must also "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 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570); Adams v. City of
Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 728-29 (7th Cir. 2014).
Indeed, "the Supreme Court's decisions in
Twombly and Iqbal ushered in a requirement
that civil pleadings demonstrate some merit or plausibility
in complaint allegations to protect defendants from having to
undergo costly discovery unless a substantial case is brought
against them." United States v. Vaughn, 722
F.3d 918, 926 (7th Cir. 2013).
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In
determining the plausibility of a claim, a court must
"accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the
complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
plaintiff." Kubiak v. City of Chicago, 810 F.3d
476, 480-81 (7th Cir. 2016). By contrast, a court does not
consider "legal conclusions and conclusory allegations
merely reciting the elements of the claim," as they
"are not entitled to [the] presumption of truth."
McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 616 (7th
Cir. 2011). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a
'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than
a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The
Seventh Circuit has interpreted the "plausibility"
standard as requiring "a nonnegligible probability that
the claim is valid[.]" In re Text Messaging
Antitrust Litig., 630 F.3d 622, 629 (7th Cir. 2010). In
applying this standard, a court must "draw on its
judicial experience and common sense." Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679.
allege the following in their complaint, and we accept as
true all well-pleaded, non-conclusory allegations in deciding
their motion to dismiss. See McCauley, 671 F.3d at
616. Ms. Pillows began working for the Recorder's Office
in February 1999, and Ms. Wilson began working for the
Recorder's Office in February 2001 (Compl., ¶¶
9-10). At all relevant times, both plaintiffs were employed
as a "Systems Analyst III" and performed their jobs
according to the legitimate expectations of the
Recorder's Office (Id., ¶¶ 5-6,
November 6, 2012, Karen Yarbrough was elected Recorder of
Deeds, and she took office in December 2012 (Compl., ¶
14). The Recorder's Office believed that plaintiffs were
politically affiliated with Eugene Moore, who preceded Ms.
Yarbrough as Recorder of Deeds and who was also Ms.
Pillows's godfather (Id., ¶
The Recorder's Office was further aware that plaintiffs
were not politically affiliated with Ms. Yarbrough
(Id., ¶ 22). Shortly after Ms. Yarbrough took
office, Deputy Recorder of Deeds William Velazquez prepared a
document indicating that the Recorder's Office should
"Let go Tiffany Wilson . . ." and other individuals
believed to be politically connected to Mr. Moore
(Id., ¶ 15).
about August 1, 2016, Ms. Pillows was reassigned
"again" on a temporary basis from her training
coordinator duties to timekeeping duties (Compl., ¶
On November 28, 2016-the same day that Ms. Pillows's
temporary reassignment ended-both plaintiffs were notified
that their positions would be eliminated as of December 2,
2016 as part of a layoff (Id., ¶¶ 17, 18).
Plaintiffs allege that their employment was terminated
because they were not politically affiliated with Ms.
Yarbrough and based on their perceived affiliation with Mr.
Moore (Id., ¶¶ 23, 26, 27).
the Recorder's Office stated that plaintiffs' layoffs
were due to budgetary reasons, plaintiffs allege that this
justification "was false and merely pretext for illegal
discrimination" (Compl., ¶¶ 20, 21). The
Recorder's Office hired at least two other individuals in
October and November 2016 with salaries similar to
plaintiffs' salaries (Id., ¶ 20). Moreover,
plaintiffs were not given 30-days' notice for their
layoffs as were all other individuals who were laid off in
Cook County in 2016, and their supervisors were not notified
of their layoffs (Id., ¶¶ 19-20). Each
plaintiff also performed necessary and crucial tasks in their
positions (Id., ¶ 20).
filed a complaint with the Cook County Inspector
General's Office ("IGO") and received a
decision from the IGO (Compl., ¶ 4)-plaintiffs'
complaint here, however, does not disclose the results of the
IGO investigation. Plaintiffs also completed the IGO's
settlement procedure with the Recorder's Office, but the
parties did not come to a resolution (Id.).
of plaintiffs' complaint alleges that the Recorder's
Office violated the Shakman Decrees by terminating
plaintiffs' employment based on their non-affiliation
with Ms. Yarbrough, who was elected Recorder of Deeds in
2012, and their perceived affiliation with the previous
Recorder of Deeds, Mr. Moore (Compl., ¶¶ 14,
25-28). Count II seeks indemnification from Cook County for
damages resulting from the Shakman Decree violations