United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JESSICA A. GIBSON, Plaintiff,
INDIANA STATE PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT, JON DARROW, JOHN F. BAYSE, MATTHEW A. BROWN, BRUCE BAXTER, and BRUCE LEMMON, Defendants.
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
RICHARD L. YOUNG, JUDGE
Indiana State Personnel Department (“ISPD”), Jon
“Denny” Darrow, John F. Bayse, Matthew A. Brown,
Bruce Baxter, and Bruce Lemmon (“Individual
Defendants”) (collectively “Defendants”),
move to dismiss the Amended Complaint filed by the pro
se Plaintiff herein, Jessica Gibson, for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the
reasons explained below, the court GRANTS in
part and DENIES in part
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss.
February 2015, Plaintiff was hired by the ISPD as the
Director of Human Resources of the Indiana Department of
Correction (“DOC”). (Filing No. 18, Am. Compl.
¶ 17). Due to familial and work-related stress and
depression, Plaintiff took leave under the Family Medical
Leave Act from April 18, 2016, to May 23, 2016. (Id.
¶ 41- 42). On the day she returned, she was advised her
employment was terminated. (Id. ¶ 45). She now
brings claims against the ISPD and the Individual Defendants,
in their individual and official capacities, for alleged
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 29 U.S.C.
§ 12101, (“ADA”), the Rehabilitation Act, 29
U.S.C. § 701 et seq., Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), the Family
Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 28, (“FMLA”),
and the Fourteenth Amendment pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
Standard of Review
bring their Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), which authorizes the dismissal of claims
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The purpose of a
motion to dismiss is to test the legal sufficiency of the
complaint, not the merits of the lawsuit. Hallinan v.
Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570
F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A court may grant a Rule
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss only if a complaint lacks
“enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A complaint
sufficient on its face need not give “detailed factual
allegations, ” but it must provide more than
“labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of
the elements of a cause of action.” Id. at
555. The court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations
in the complaint as true and draws all reasonable inferences
in favor of the plaintiff. Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l
Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir. 2007).
move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint on multiple
grounds. The court will begin with Defendants' argument
that Plaintiff's claims against the Individual Defendants
exceed the scope of her Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) charge of discrimination.
Scope of the Charge
first argue Plaintiff's claims against the Individual
Defendants should be dismissed because, with the exception of
John Bayse, they were not named in her EEOC charge of
“[a] party not named as the respondent in the charge
may not ordinarily be sued in a private civil action under
Title VII.” Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709
F.3d 662, 666 (7th Cir. 2013). An exception to this general
rule exists “where the ‘unnamed party has been
provided with adequate notice of the charge, under
circumstances where the party has been given the opportunity
to participate in conciliation proceedings aimed at voluntary
compliance[.]' ” Id. (quoting
Eggleston v. Chi. Journeymen Plumbers' Local Union
No. 130, 657 F.2d 890, 905 (7th Cir. 1981)). To
effectuate the remedial purposes of the anti-discrimination
laws, courts construe EEOC charges with “utmost
liberality”; thus a plaintiff may join all parties
sufficiently named or alluded to in the factual statement of
an EEOC charge. Id. at 906.
EEOC charge was filed against the State of Indiana. The body
of her charge named the Department of Corrections and Bayse.
(Filing No. 20-1, EEOC charge of discrimination). Plaintiff
alleges in her EEOC charge that Bayse, who is the ISPD Deputy
Director and acted as her supervisor, terminated her
employment. (See EEOC charge). Bayse, who was
actually named in the EEOC charge as the individual who
terminated her, would have had notice of the charge. There is
no mention of the other defendants in her EEOC charge.
Therefore, Individual Defendants Jon Darrow, Matthew A.
Brown, Bruce Baxter, and Bruce Lemmon, must be dismissed.
Claims Against the Individual Defendants
alternative, Defendants argue Plaintiff's individual
capacity claims against the Individual Defendants under the
ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Title VII are barred
because they do not meet the definition of an
“employer” within the meaning of those statutes.
Defendants are correct. Williams v. Banning, 72 F.3d
552, 555 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that a supervisor, in his
individual capacity, does not fall within Title VII's
definition of employer); E.E.O.C. v. AIC Sec.
Investigations, Ltd., 55 F.3d 1276, 1282 (7th Cir. 1995)
(holding “that individuals who do not otherwise meet
the statutory definition of ‘employer' cannot be