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Davis v. Palos Health (Palos Community Hospital)

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

June 27, 2019

ALONZO DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
PALOS HEALTH (PALOS COMMUNITY HOSPITAL), Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA M. KENDALL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Alonzo Davis sued his former employer Palos Community Hospital (PCH) alleging it discriminated against him because of his race and age, then retaliated against him when he complained about it. (Dkt. 1-1.) The Court previously dismissed Davis's complaint because it failed to state a claim. (Dkt. 34.) Davis amended his complaint asserting his four original claims and adding factual content that he presumably believes makes his claims plausible. (Dkt. 35.)

         PCH again moved to dismiss arguing Davis failed to cure the deficiencies the Court identified in his original complaint. (Dkt. 39.) In his response, Davis voluntarily withdrew his intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) claim (Count III) and his request for certain damages associated with his Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claim. (Dkt. 47 at 5.) Because Davis's complaint was untimely, and his claims are still facially implausible, the Court grants PCH's motion to dismiss (Dkt. 39) with prejudice because any amendment would be futile.

         I

         The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the relevant facts as recounted in the first opinion dismissing Davis's complaint. See Davis v. Palos Health, No. 18 C 4345, 2019 WL 214916, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 16, 2019). Davis states three claims against PCH: age discrimination in violation of Title VII and the ADEA (Count I); race discrimination in violation of Title VII and Section 1981 (Count II); and retaliation in violation of Title VII (Count IV, incorrectly styled as Count VI).

         A

         Addressing a few preliminary matters at the top should streamline the legal analysis. First, Davis insinuates several times in his complaint that PCH discriminated against him based on gender-Davis is a man. (Dkt. 35 ¶¶ 5, 33-34.) But those allegations amount to conclusory statements, so they do not suffice. See Hernandez v. Nieves, 762 Fed.Appx. 325, 326 (7th Cir. 2019). What is more, Davis did not assert sex discrimination in his Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge; he did not style one of his counts as sex discrimination in violation of Title VII in his complaint; and he never alleged facts that suggest PCH terminated him- and then decided not to rehire him-because he is a man.

         The same goes for any disability (Dkt. 35 ¶¶ 15, 20) and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) (Dkt. 35 ¶ 25) discrimination that Davis mentions in passing but does not develop beyond speculation. Those are discrete forms of discrimination that several federal statutes protect against. Davis cannot continue to leave PCH and the Court guessing as to the basic reasons for his lawsuit. Davis did not state Title VII (based on sex), FMLA, or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claims, so the Court need not rule on them.

         B

         Second, Davis purports to allege an age discrimination claim under Title VII in Count I. (Dkt. 35 at 9.) That was a technical error, though Davis need not plead law. To clarify the issue, Title VII does not proscribe age discrimination; the ADEA does. Compare 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 (prohibiting discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin”), with 29 U.S.C. § 621 (banning discrimination based on “age”); see Donnelly v. Yellow Freight Sys., Inc., 874 F.2d 402, 408 (7th Cir. 1989), aff'd, 494 U.S. 820 (1990); Jennings v. Sallie Mae, Inc., 358 Fed.Appx. 719, 721 (7th Cir. 2009); Greer v. Bd. of Trustees of Univ. of D.C., 113 F.Supp.3d 297, 304-05 (D.D.C. 2015).

         As it happens, Congress considered and rejected adding age to Title VII's list of protected classes when it was deliberating the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See Smith v. City of Jackson, Miss., 544 U.S. 228, 232-33 (2005) (discussing the legislative history of Title VII and the ADEA). Of course, three years later, Congress passed the ADEA. See id.; see also Kleber v. CareFusion Corp., 914 F.3d 480, 496 (7th Cir. 2019) (en banc) (Hamilton, J., dissenting) (addressing the remarkable similarity of the two statutes). The Court will accordingly resolve PCH's motion to dismiss Count I under the ADEA.

         II

         Moving to the merits, PCH once again argues in its motion to dismiss that: (1) Davis's complaint was untimely; (2) certain allegations are outside the statutes of limitations; and (3) the discrimination claims are ...


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