United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Leave to Proceed
in forma pauperis filed by Plaintiff Gregory Cain
(Doc. 3). Cain initially filed this employment discrimination
lawsuit pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1967, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, and/or 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 on June 13, 2019 (Doc. 2). After preliminary
review of his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1),
the Court found Cain's factual allegations in the
Complaint were too bare bones to state a claim. Therefore,
the Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice and
granted Cain leave to file an amended complaint (Doc. 4). The
Court further reserved ruling on Cain's Motion for Leave
to Proceed in forma pauperis (Id.).
September 12, 2019, Cain filed an Amended Complaint alleging
Defendant Continental Tire discriminated against him on the
basis of his race, disability, and national origin (Doc. 5).
He also claimed Continental Tire created a hostile work
environment and is responsible for medical negligence
(Id.). Unfortunately, however, Cain failed to attach
his EEOC charge, his charge before the Illinois Department of
Human Rights, or the Notice of Right to Sue from the EEOC, as
previously directed by the Court. Accordingly, the Court
granted Cain leave to file a Second Amended Complaint
containing all relevant documents (Doc. 10).
has since filed a Second Amended Complaint containing the
relevant documents (Doc. 13). In his Second Amended
Complaint, Cain alleges he was injured while working at
Continental Tire on June 1, 2018, and was taken to the
nurses' station (Id. at p. 8). Cain stated that
he had pain in his right hand and that he thought it could be
a blood clot (Id.). Cain was told to fill out
paperwork and provide a urine sample for a drug test
(Id.). Tom Stoudt, whose position at Continental
Tire is unknown, told Cain he would have to drive himself to
the hospital (Id.).
continued working and was not put on light duty until June
30, 2018, when his right arm swelled up (Id.). Cain
subsequently saw the company doctor on July 12, 2018
(Id.). The doctor told him it was carpal tunnel and
released Cain back to full duty (Id.). The following
day, Cain again reported to health services and again was
told by Tom Stoudt that he had to drive himself to the
hospital (Id.). He also was required to take another
drug test (Id.). Cain asked if the EMT
“Tom” could take him to the hospital, but
“Tom” advised against it (Id.). Tom the
EMT also stated that the company would not pay workers'
compensation for his injuries of a supposed blood clot on his
right hand (Id.). Cain then drove himself to the
30, 2018, Cain received a cortisone shot and returned to work
on light duty (Id.). His carpal tunnel became
inflamed again, however, and he had to drive himself to the
hospital when Tom failed to give him an ice pack for his hand
(Id.). On September 4, 2018, Cain went to the
Orthopedic Center of Southern Illinois, where he was
diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel in his right hand and not a
blood clot (Id.). He also was diagnosed with
possible mild C6-7 radiculopathy (Id. at p. 9). In
late September 2018, Cain was released from care and returned
to full-duty work on the line as an Extruder Operator
October 15, 2018, Cain visited Dr. Paletta and Dr. Brown at
the Orthopedic Center of St. Louis for a second opinion
(Id.). He complained about both the left and right
sides of his arms, hands, and wrists and explained that his
job at Continental Tire requires him to lift up large forms
on and above his shoulders (Id.). Cain was diagnosed
with mild carpal tunnel on both his left and right side and
conservative treatment was recommended (Id.). Dr.
Brown further stated that Cain's work was the cause of
his mild carpal tunnel, while Dr. Paletta stated that the
pain in his shoulders was a result of his work
(Id.). Continental Tire and its workers'
compensation insurer, however, did not think further
treatment was necessary for Cain and questioned whether the
injuries were work related (Id.).
then filed an EEOC complaint claiming that Continental
refused to give him medical assistance and instead required
him to take a drug test because of his race. Cain asserted
that similarly situated non-Black employees were provided
medical assistance when injured on duty and were not required
to take a drug test (Id.). Cain claims Defendant was
not happy about the EEOC complaint, so it retaliated by
putting a halt to his treatment (Id.). Cain also was
forced to take short-term disability, as Continental stated
there was no work for Cain to do with his specific injuries
(Id. at p. 10).
March 18, 2019, the EEOC determined that it was unable to
conclude any violation of its statutes occurred based on the
information provided by Cain (Id. at p. 15). The
EEOC notified Cain that it had 90 days to file a lawsuit in
state or federal court based on his allegations
13, 2019, Cain timely initiated this lawsuit. In his Second
Amended Complaint, Cain brings claims of hostile work
environment and race and national origin discrimination under
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1967, as well as
discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(Doc. 13). Cain claims that Continental Tire discriminated
against him, caused him emotional distress and pain and
suffering, stopped workers' compensation, committed
medical negligence and retaliated against him by putting a
hold on further treatment to heal him, all because of his
“darker race” (Id.). In his initial
complaint, Cain also asserted that Continental Tire staff
harassed him by putting inappropriate things like a maxi-pad
on his locker and by sending him negative text messages (Doc.
2). He further claimed his supervisors made racist statements
(Id.). Those allegations, however, have been omitted
from the Second Amended Complaint. Cain now seeks to proceed
without prepayment of the required filing fees.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a federal court is authorized to
permit an indigent party to commence a civil action without
prepaying the required fees if the party submits an affidavit
that includes a statement of all assets he or she possesses
and that demonstrates the party is unable to pay such fees.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). Complete destitution is not
required to proceed in forma pauperis; an affidavit
demonstrating that the plaintiff cannot, because of his
poverty, provide himself with the necessities of life is
sufficient. Adkins v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours &
Co., 335 U.S. 331, 339-40 (1948).
Court has reviewed Cain's affidavit (Doc. 3) and finds
that he is indigent. Cain attests that he brings home around
$384 per week but that he owes $581 per month for rent, $325
per month for utilities, and a total of $1, 481 per month in
child support. He also claims no assets other than his
mother's car, and he has only $387 in his checking
account. Based on these facts, the Court finds Cain's
poverty level justifies granting him IFP status.
that does not end the inquiry. Under Section 1915(e)(2), the
Court must then screen an indigent plaintiff's complaint
and dismiss the complaint if it is clearly frivolous or
malicious, fails to state a claim, or is a claim for money
damages against an immune defendant. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B); see also Hoskins v. Poelstra, 320
F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir. 2003) (“District judges have
ample authority to dismiss frivolous or transparently
defective suits spontaneously, and thus save everyone time
and legal expense.”). Thus, resolution of the motion to
proceed IFP requires the undersigned to review the
allegations of the complaint.
reviewing the complaint, the undersigned is aware that courts
construe pro se claims generously. Buechel v.
United States, 746 F.3d 753, 758 (7th Cir. 2014). The
Court accepts the factual allegations as true, liberally
construing them in the plaintiff's favor. Turley v.
Rednour, 729 F.3d 645 (7th Cir. 2013). Conclusory
statements and labels, however, are not enough. The complaint
must allege enough facts to “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Alexander v. United
States, 721 F.3d 418, 421 (7th Cir. 2013). That means
“a plaintiff must do better than putting a few words on
paper that, in the hands of an imaginative reader, might
suggest that something has happened to her that might be
redressed by the law.” Swanson v. ...