United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
REBECCA R. PALLMEYER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
parties to this case are both in the business of providing
temporary workers to other businesses. Between July 2015 and
May 2017, Plaintiff Labor One, Inc. was a subcontractor for
Defendant Staff Management Solutions, Inc. Under the
parties' contract, Labor One provided temporary employees
to Staff Management's clients, including Defendants
Aramark Services, Inc. and Aramark Food and Support Services
Group, Inc. (collectively, Aramark). A billing dispute arose,
however, and Staff Management terminated the contract in May
2017. This lawsuit, between two Illinois entities, followed.
ruling last year, this court concluded that Plaintiff Labor
One's claims do not arise under federal law, and that
there is no other basis for federal jurisdiction. Labor
One, Inc. v. Staff Management Solutions LLC, No. 17 C
7580, 2018 WL 4110676 (N. D. Ill. Aug. 8, 2018). Labor One
has filed an amended complaint, but the court stands by its
conclusion that the parties' business dispute does not
give rise to claims under federal antitrust or civil rights
law. Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss  is
One's amended complaint  alleges the following: Staff
Management is a procurement manager for temporary labor
services. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 22.) It is also
"in the business of providing its own temporary workers
to other entities while performing centralized management
services" in connection with those workers. (Id.
¶ 13.) At some point, Aramark "retained Staff
Management as the procurement manager" for temporary
employees at McCormick Place, a venue in Chicago, Illinois.
(Id. ¶ 22.)
One, too, is in the business of providing temporary workers.
(Id. ¶ 13.) In what it calls a "Community
First Program," Labor One hires temporary employees from
"specifically targeted low-income neighborhoods" of
Chicago "to create local jobs." (Id.
¶¶ 15, 20.) In July 2015, Aramark "contacted
Labor One about providing temporary labor services at
McCormick Place" under the Community First Program.
(Id. ¶ 14.) At the time, Aramark "was
aware that Staff Management had its own preferred vendor list
for temporary workers" and that Staff Management
"did not want Labor One as the provider of temporary
labor services at McCormick Place." (Id.)
Nonetheless, on July 22, 2015, Labor One and Staff Management
entered into a contract under which Labor One would supply
temporary employees to Aramark-via Staff Management-for work
at McCormick Place. (Id. ¶ 22.) Because Labor
One planned to provide temporary workers from its Community
First Program, "most, if not all, of the temporary
workers to be supplied under the" contract were African
American. (Id. ¶ 20.) Indeed, in its original
complaint, Labor One alleged that it "only hired
African-American workers." (Compl.  ¶ 94).
Perhaps in response to the court's concern about that
allegation (see Memorandum Order  at 6-7), Labor One now
alleges it "has laborers from various ethnic and racial
backgrounds." (Am. Compl.  ¶
the contract between Labor One and Staff Management, Staff
Management would receive "a fee of 3% for providing
centralized management services" to Aramark in
connection with temporary employees that Staff Management
procured for McCormick Place. (Id. ¶ 22.) The
contract also required Staff Management to use a "Vendor
Managed System (VMS) . . . for the acquisition, tracking,
reporting and billing of Services for" Aramark. (Id.
¶ 24.) In addition, it required Labor One to
"enter its billing hours for temporary labor services
into the VMS system." (Id. ¶ 25.) Finally,
it required Staff Management to pay Labor One after Aramark
approved Labor One's billing entries. (Id.
¶ 26.) Staff Management, in turn, would
"receive a commission from all invoices created by Labor
One in the VMS system." (Id.)
2015 and 2017, Labor One "encountered technical issues
with the VMS system . . . in entering its billing
hours." (Id. ¶ 29.) Labor One made
repeated efforts to seek assistance from Staff Management
with these issues, but its efforts were "to no
avail." (Id. ¶ 31.) On some occasions,
Aramark participated in the negotiations between Staff
Management and Labor One. (See, e.g., Id.
¶¶ 36-46.) Staff Management, for its part, failed
to timely pay Labor One for the services it provided.
(See Id. ¶¶ 28, 34.)
this billing dispute arose, Staff Management "began to
raise concerns about the honesty and quality of Labor
One's temporary workers." (Id. ¶ 41.)
At one point, Staff Management "accused Labor One's
temporary workers of 'stealing time and hours' when
assigned to a job with Aramark" and stated that the
workers' conduct in this regard "was the reason for
the delay in payment of the invoices." (Id.
¶ 42.) In addition, "[a]s a result of Labor
One's efforts to get paid for its services, Staff
Management began to request [repeated] background checks and
drug tests for all of its temporary laborers working at
McCormick place." (Id. ¶ 44; see also
Id. ¶ 46 (alleging that Staff Management started
requesting "full-scale drug testing . . . even though
the [contract with Labor One] provided for random
testing").) And in a meeting around November 2016, Staff
Management asked Labor One to "stop providing 'those
people'"-meaning workers from the Community First
Program-to Aramark at McCormick Place. (Id. ¶
45.) Staff Management tried to force Labor One to instead
"hire temporary workers from Staff Management's
parent company or transition [Labor One's] temporary
workers to Staff Management's preferred vendor
list." (Id. ¶ 98; see also Id.
¶ 45.) Around the same time, "Aramark
employees" disclosed to Labor One supervisors that Staff
Management was withholding payment from Labor One "in an
attempt to force [it] to terminate the Contract and get rid
of Labor One's workers from the Community First
Program." (Id. ¶ 46.) In a letter dated
May 26, 2017, "Staff Management unilaterally
terminated" the contract with Labor One and
"claim[ed] that the termination was due to Labor
One's failure to enter time correctly in the VMS
system." (Id. ¶ 48.)
to Labor One, Staff Management still owes it $48, 063.75.
(Id. ¶ 49.) Labor One asserts claims against
Staff Management for breach of contract (Count I);
intentional interference with prospective economic relations
(Count II); negligent interference with economic relations
(Count III); violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act, 15
U.S.C. § 2 (Count V); violation of Illinois' unfair
competition law (Count VI); commercial disparagement under
Illinois common law (Count VII); and violation of the Civil
Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Count VIII). Labor One
asserts a claim against Aramark for unjust enrichment (Count
Labor One's original complaint, only two of the counts in
the amended complaint invoke federal law: Count V, which
asserts a claim arising under the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C.
§ 2, and Count VIII, which asserts a claim arising under
the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. To survive Staff
Management's motion to dismiss these counts, Labor
One's amended complaint must include enough factual
detail to give Staff Management fair notice of the claims and
the grounds upon which they rest, and the allegations must
amount to a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). To
state a plausible claim, Labor One must allege enough factual
matter, taken as true, to "raise a right to relief above
the speculative level" and "nudge [its] claims
across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell
Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007). In
determining whether Labor One meets this test, the court
accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of Labor One. Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679. The court does not, however, accept as true
legal conclusions couched as factual allegations.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action supported by conclusory
statements are insufficient. Id. at 678; see
also Tamburo v. Dworkin, 601 F.3d 693, 699 (7th Cir.
2010) (affirming dismissal of antitrust claims that were
"pleaded in a wholly conclusory fashion" and
"appear[ed] to sweep in the entire gamut of federal
antitrust violations"); Swanson v. Citibank,
N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 405 (7th Cir. 2010) (in general,
antitrust claims "will require more detail, both to give
the opposing party notice of what the case is all about and
to show how . . . the dots should be connected").
court will explain, Labor One's allegations that Staff
Management violated the Sherman Act and the Civil Rights Act
do not meet these pleading standards.