Peppers v. St. Clair County et al
ORDER granting 31 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Plaintiff's claims are DISMISSED with prejudice. The Clerk of the Court is DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge David R. Herndon on 11/8/2017. (lmp)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
ST. CLAIR COUNTY, DEBRA MOORE,
And FRANK BERGMANN,
Case No. 16-cv-1365-DRH-RJD
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, District Judge:
Now before the Court is defendants St. Clair County, Debra Moore, and
Frank Bergman’s June 29, 2017, motion to strike plaintiff’s complaint as
untimely or, in the alternative, to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a
claim (Doc. 31). As of today’s date, plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion.
For the reasons explained below, the Court GRANTS defendant’s motion to
dismiss (Doc 31).
On December 19, 2016, Plaintiff Roshanda Peppers, a former employee of
St. Clair County, initially filed a complaint against St. Clair County and two St.
“Antidiscrimination et al., whistleblower et al., ADA et al., any and all federal and
state law and Right to Sue.” (Doc. 1, pg. 4). Based the lack of specificity in
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plaintiff’s claims against each named defendant, the defendants filed a motion for
a more definite statement (Doc. 18), and on August 9, 2017, the Court ordered
plaintiff to file an amended complaint on or before August 24, 2017, that
specifically identified plaintiff’s claims against each defendant and the facts upon
which those claims are based (Doc. 27). On August 25, 2017—one day after the
Court’s deadline—plaintiff filed her first amended complaint. In the amended
complaint plaintiff asserts more than 20 different claims against some, or all, of
the defendants. Not only did she fail to amend her complaint in a timely fashion,
but she also failed to comply with the Court’s directives as to the substance of her
complaint. As a result, defendants moved to strike plaintiff’s complaint as
untimely or, in the alternative, dismiss plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a
claim (Doc. 31). Plaintiff has not responded to the pending motion.
Motion to Dismiss
Rule 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police
Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court
explained in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007), that Rule
12(b)(6) dismissal is warranted if the complaint fails to set forth “enough facts to
state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Although federal pleading standards were retooled by Twombly and Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), notice pleading remains all that is required in a
complaint. “A plaintiff still must provide only ‘enough detail to give the defendant
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fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which it rests and, through
his allegations, show that it is plausible, rather than merely speculative, that he is
entitled to relief.’” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008)
The Seventh Circuit offers further guidance on what a complaint must do to
withstand 12(b)(6) dismissal. The Court in Pugh v. Tribune Co., 521 F.3d 686,
699 (7th Cir. 2008), reiterated the standard: “surviving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
requires more than labels and conclusions;” the complaint’s allegations must
“raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” A plaintiff’s claim “must be
plausible on its face,” that is, “the complaint must establish a non-negligible
probability that the claim is valid.” Smith v. Medical Benefit Administrators
Group, Inc., 639 F.3d 277, 281 (7th Cir.2011). With this in mind, the Court turns
to plaintiff’s complaint
As of today’s date, plaintiff has not responded to the motion to dismiss.
Local Rule 7.1(c) provides in part that: “Failure to timely file a response to a
motion may, in the Court’s discretion, be considered an admission of the merits
of the motion.” Pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(c), the Court considers plaintiff’s
failure to respond as an admission of the merits of the motion to dismiss.
Accordingly, the Court grants defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Additionally, the Court finds that dismissal is appropriate, given that
plaintiff failed comply with the Court’s August 9, 2017 Order (Doc. 27).
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Specifically, plaintiff failed to comply with the Court-ordered deadline in which to
amend her complaint, and she also failed to identify her claims and the facts
supporting those claims in a way that would withstand 12(b)(6) dismissal, as the
August 9, 2017 Order directed. Specifically, the Court’s August 9, 2017 Order
directed plaintiff to:
1. Identify any and all claims plaintiff is attempting to assert
against Defendant Bergman;
2. Identify the conduct in which plaintiff alleges Defendant
Bergman engaged in violation of any law;
3. To the extent plaintiff is attempting to assert a claim for
disability discrimination against any defendant, identify
plaintiff’s alleged disability and the adverse action that plaintiff
alleges each defendant took because of her alleged disability;
4. Identify the federal and state laws under which plaintiff is
attempting to assert claims for retaliation against Defendants
St. Clair County and Debra Moore.
(Doc. 27, pg.2). Her amended complaint fails to comply with any of the Court’s
directives listed above. Finally, as argued by the defendants in their memorandum
of law (Doc. 32, pg. 5-6), plaintiff’s complaint fails to plead facts sufficient to state
a claim under any of the laws she cites as a basis for relief against the defendants.
Plaintiff fails to show that she is protected under—or engaged in any activity
protected by—the various laws she cites in her complaint. Therefore, based on
plaintiff’s failure to respond to the defendant’s motion, and for the reasons argued
by the defendants in their memorandum of law (Doc. 32, pg. 5-6), Peppers’
complaint clearly cannot withstand 12(b)(6) dismissal.
Accordingly, the Court GRANTS defendants’ motion to dismiss (Doc. 31).
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The Court DISMISSES with prejudice plaintiff’s claims against defendants St.
Clair County, Debra Moore, and Frank Bergman. The Clerk of the Court is
DIRECTED to enter judgment reflecting the same.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Digitally signed by
Judge David R. Herndon
United States District Judge
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