Budzyn v. KFC et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: The Court grants plaintiff leave to amend her complaint in accordance with this ruling and her Rule 11(b) obligations 67 . Accordingly, the Court need not address plaintiff's arguments in relation to Rule 54(b). Signed by the Honorable Sharon Johnson Coleman on 8/2/2022. Mailed notice. (ym, )
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
KFC CORPORATION, et al.,
Case No. 21 C 4152
Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On March 30, 2022, the Court granted defendant KFC Corporation’s motion to dismiss with
prejudice because plaintiff Jasmine Budzyn had already amended her complaint once. Before the
Court is Budzyn’s motion for reconsideration, which the Court construes as a motion for leave to
amend her complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2). For the following
reasons, the Court, in its discretion, grants Budzyn’s motion for leave to amend her Title VII hostile
work environment and negligence claims. Budzyn’s second amended complaint is due by
September 2, 2022.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a) takes a “liberal approach to granting leave to amend.”
Association of Am. Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. v. American Bd of Medical Specialties, 15 F.4th 831, 835 (7th
Cir. 2021) (citation omitted). Specifically, Rule 15(a)(2) states the “court should freely give leave
when justice so requires,” although courts may deny a proposed amendment if it would be futile.
Always Towing & Recovery, Inc. v. City of Milwaukee, 2 F.4th 695, 707 (7th Cir. 2021).
In her first amended complaint, Budzyn brought a hostile work environment claim under
Title VII, along with state law claims, in relation to her employment at a Kentucky Fried Chicken
(‘KFC”) franchise in Romeoville, Illinois against defendant KFC Corporation, among others.
Budzyn alleges she worked for the KFC fast food restaurant in Romeoville as a server and
dishwasher. While she was employed at the Romeoville franchise, one of her managers, defendant
James Johnson, sexually harassed her while they were at work. Budzyn alleges that she complained
about Johnson’s sexual harassment to the restaurant manager, Tiffany Ollie, and requested a
schedule change, yet nothing happened. On December 28, 2019, Johnson raped Budzyn while they
were at work. Budzyn alleges she reported the rape to Ollie and Mario Perea, a regional director.
Budzyn stopped working at KFC Romeoville in January 2020.
The Court stayed these civil proceedings against Johnson due to his criminal prosecution in
Will County based on the December 2019 sexual assault of Budzyn. The Court also granted
defendant franchise owners’ motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the parties’ arbitration
agreement, and stayed the federal proceedings against the franchise owners pending arbitration.
Defendant KFC Corporation was not a party to that arbitration agreement.
In her first amended complaint, Budzyn brought the following claims against KFC
Corporation: (1) a Title VII hostile work environment claim based on sexual harassment under 42
U.S.C. § 2000e; (2) a negligent retention claim; (3) a willful and wanton supervision/retention claim;
(4) an intentional tort claim of assault and battery; (5) an intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim; and (6) a false imprisonment claim. Budzyn’s torts claims were based on Johnson being an
employee of KFC Corporation.
In the March 2022 ruling, the Court concluded Budzyn had failed to adequately allege her
hostile work environment claim because she had not set forth sufficient facts that KFC Corporation
was her employer under Knight v. United Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 950 F.2d 377, 378–79 (7th Cir.
1991). As to her negligent retention and supervision claims, Budzyn had not sufficiently alleged that
KFC Corporation and Johnson had an employment relationship.
As to Budzyn’s intentional tort claims, the Court concluded Budzyn could not bring these
claims because Illinois case law is “clear that as a matter of law acts of sexual assault are not within
the scope of employment.” Powell v. City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 192145, ¶ 25, 2021 WL
2717159, at *4 (1st Dist. 2021); see also Aleman v. McDonald’s Corp., No. 20-cv-6925, 2021 WL
3418857, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 5, 2021) (Seeger, J.) (“Sexual harassment and assault are not within the
scope of employment.”). Any attempt to bring these claims in Budzyn’s Second Amended
Complaint would be futile because they fail as a matter of law.
In the March 2022 ruling, the Court dismissed Budzyn’s claims with prejudice because she
had already amended her complaint once. In the present motion, the Court is persuaded by
Budzyn’s argument that she should be given leave to amend her complaint as to her Title VII and
negligence claims because she has identified certain aspects of these claims that are possibly curable.
Meanwhile, the Court reminds Budzyn that under Illinois law, negligent supervision and negligent
retention are two separate claims. See Herrera v. Di Meo Brothers, Inc., 529 F.Supp.3d 819, 832 (N.D.
Ill. 2021) (Dow, J.); Doe v. Coe, 434 Ill.Dec. 117, 135 N.E.3d 1, 14–15 (Ill. 2019).
In response to the present motion, KFC Corporation argues that any new allegations would
be futile because the Second Amended Complaint attached to Budzyn’s motion for reconsideration
has not cured all of the problems highlighted in the Court’s March 2022 ruling. This may be so, but
the Court is instructing Budzyn to file an updated Second Amended Complaint in accordance with
this ruling, especially because her proposed Second Amended Complaint realleged claims that the
Court denied as a matter of law. Once Budzyn has filed her updated Second Amended Complaint,
KFC Corporation may file a motion to dismiss at which time it can make more developed
arguments as to the alleged futility of Budzyn’s allegations and Budzyn can more fully respond.
For these reasons, the Court grants plaintiff leave to amend her complaint in accordance
with this ruling and her Rule 11(b) obligations . Accordingly, the Court need not address
plaintiff’s arguments in relation to Rule 54(b).
IT IS SO ORDERED.
SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN
United States District Judge
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