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Wrenn v. Exelon Generation, LLC

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

November 22, 2019

Mallory Wrenn, Plaintiff,
v.
Exelon Generation, LLC, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          THOMAS M. DURKIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Mallory Wrenn alleges that her former employer, Exelon Generation, LLC, discriminated against her based on: (1) her sex in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Count I); and (2) her disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (Count III).[1] Defendant has moved to dismiss Count I for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 49.[2] That motion is denied.

         Legal Standard

         A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the “sufficiency of the complaint.” Berger v. Nat. Collegiate Athletic Assoc., 843 F.3d 285, 289 (7th Cir. 2016). A complaint must provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to provide defendant with “fair notice” of the claim and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations” are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). “‘A 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.'” Boucher v. Fin. Sys. of Green Bay, Inc., 880 F.3d 362, 366 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). In applying this standard, the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Tobey v. Chibucos, 890 F.3d 634, 646 (7th Cir. 2018).

         Background

         I. Wrenn Alleges a Co-Worker Stalked Her

         Wrenn is a woman who worked for Exelon as a nuclear equipment operator at a nuclear power plant. R. 38 ¶ 7. John Zura is a man who also works for Exelon as a nuclear equipment operator at the same plant as Wrenn. Id. ¶ 8. Wrenn alleges that in February and March of 2017, Zura began texting Wrenn that he was attracted to her. Id. ¶ 9. Zura also “followed” and “liked” Wrenn on social media. Id. Wrenn contends that she told Zura multiple times that she was not interested and to leave her alone. Id. Undaunted, Zura approached Wrenn in the plant's parking lot and told her: “I know I am making you uncomfortable, but I've been crazy about you for years.” Id. Wrenn again told Zura to keep away from her, and Zura said he would. Id. Nevertheless, on March 8, 2017, Zura visited Wrenn's home to give her a bag of gifts, including wine and stuffed animals. Id.

         Wrenn reported Zura's behavior to her union steward on March 10, 2017 because she was “extremely anxious and frightened by Zura's behavior.” Id. ¶ 10. The union steward told Wrenn the union would try to handle the situation before involving Exelon's human resources department by telling Zura to leave Wrenn alone and moving him off of her crew. Id. But that same day, Zura approached Wrenn in the parking lot and asked if she was alright. Id. ¶ 11. Wrenn yelled at Zura to leave her alone. Id. ¶ 11. Five days later, the union steward told Wrenn that he reported the situation to human resources.

         Through the rest of March and April, Wrenn had ongoing discussions with the union and the human resources department about her desire that she and Zura not work on the same crew. When Zura was again on Wrenn's crew on April 7, 2017, she sent an email to human resources asking why they were continuing to be assigned together. Id. ¶¶ 18-19. Human resources told Wrenn that they had not finished their investigation of her allegations and that they did not believe Exelon could move Zura because of his seniority. Id. Nevertheless, human resources told Wrenn to submit a written request that Zura be moved off her crew. Id.

         On April 24, 2017, Wrenn sought a restraining order against Zura in Illinois state court. Id. ¶ 22. After a hearing on June 5, 2017, the court granted the request, ordering Zura to stay 200 feet away from Wrenn at all times. Id. ¶ 27-28.

         II. Wrenn's Mental Health

         Four days before seeking the restraining order in April, Wrenn's physician referred her for mental health treatment for her “stress and anxiety occasioned by Zura's stalking and [Exelon's] failure to take any decisive action.” Id. ¶ 20. Then around May 18, 2017, Wrenn was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) and placed on anti-anxiety medication. Id. ¶ 24.

         Wrenn's employment is subject to “fitness for duty” requirements provided in the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (“NRC”) regulations. Id. ¶ 52. In accordance with these regulations, Exelon made a mandatory referral to its Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) regarding Wrenn's PTSD diagnosis. Id. ¶ 25. As a result, Wrenn “was put on FMLA leave and later short-term disability and would not be permitted to work until August 2017.” Id. ¶ 26.

         Wrenn also alleges that Exelon was required by the NRC regulations to report the restraining order against Zura. Id. ¶ 54 (citing 10 C.F.R. § 73.56(g) (requiring reporting of “any legal action(s) . . . that requires a court appearance”)). Wrenn alleges on “information and belief” that Exelon did not report Zura in accordance with the regulations. Id. ...


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