United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. Dkt 21. For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.
worked as a driver for the City of Indianapolis from August
20, 1968, until he retired on October 30, 2009. Dkt. 5-1. On
June 13, 2017, he filed a pro se complaint against
Defendant alleging that he was not being paid the correct
amount of retirement benefits. Dkt. 1.
screening the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
the Court found that Plaintiff's claim under the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) failed because
ERISA exempts governmental plans. Dkt 4 at 2. The Court also
found that Plaintiff's claim under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) failed because he did not
allege he was a member of a protected class. Id. at
2-3. The Court granted Plaintiff leave to show cause why the
Court should not dismiss his complaint. Id. at 3. In
response, Plaintiff clarified that he was pursuing a race
discrimination claim against Defendant because he is a person
of color. Dkt. 5 at 1. The Court found this supplement
sufficient to state a claim for discrimination and allowed
the case to proceed as a claim under Title VII. Dkt. 6.
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that it cannot be
held liable for Plaintiff's claim because the City of
Indianapolis does not administer Plaintiff's retirement
benefits. Dkt. 22 at 3-4. In addition, Defendant argues that
Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
before bringing his claim as required by Title VII.
Id. at 4. In response, Plaintiff claims that he was
not being treated fairly considering his years of service to
Defendant and that the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EECO) did help him. Dkt. 24.
judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party must inform the court
“of the basis for its motion” and provide
evidence demonstrating “the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met this
burden, the nonmoving party must “go beyond the
pleadings” and proffer “specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
at 324. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court
reviews “the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor.” Zerante v. DeLuca,
555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted).
Court construes Plaintiff's complaint to allege a claim
under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. See
dkt. 6. Title VII's administrative remedies must be
pursued before a plaintiff can bring a claim in court. First,
in Indiana, a plaintiff must file a complaint with the state
agency and with the EEOC. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5; 29 C.F.R.
§ 1601.13(a)(3)(ii); see also Adams v. City
of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 730 n. 7 (7th Cir. 2014).
If these agencies decide not to bring a claim on the
plaintiff's behalf, the EEOC will issue a “right to
sue” letter to the plaintiff. 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e-5(e), (f)(1). Only after receiving a right-to-sue
letter can a plaintiff sue under Title VII. Gibson v.
West, 201 F.3d 990, 994 (7th Cir. 2000). If a plaintiff
sues under Title VII without first exhausting these
administrative remedies, the plaintiff's complaint must
be dismissed. Alam v. Miller Brewing Co., 709 F.3d
662, 666-67 (7th Cir. 2013).
there is no evidence that Plaintiff filed an administrative
charge as required before filing suit. The EEOC has no record
of receiving a complaint from Plaintiff against Defendant.
Dkt. 22-3. Nor has Plaintiff provided any evidence, or even
alleged, that he has received the necessary right-to-sue
letter from the EEOC. The undisputed evidence, therefore,
demonstrates that Plaintiff has not exhausted his
administrative remedies before bringing his Title VII claim.
claims he did contact the EEOC, so the Court considers
whether that allegation is sufficient evidence to excuse the
failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Courts may excuse
a failure to exhaust administrative remedies “if the
claimant's failure to receive a right-to-sue letter is
attributable to EEOC error.” Schnellbaecher v.
Baskin Clothing Co., 887 F.2d 124, 128-29 (7th Cir.
1989). For example, in Grasty v. Cambridge Integrated
Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 1:13-cv-2522, 2014 WL 5543933, at
*4 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 3, 2014), the court denied the
defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's Title
VII claim because it found that the plaintiff's failure
to receive a right-to-sue letter may be attributed to EEOC
error. There, the plaintiff alleged that she completed a
questionnaire for the EEOC and cited an EEOC-provided
transaction number for her claim. Id. at *2. The
plaintiff's claim was further corroborated by the
EEOC's call records and an inquiry number assigned to the
plaintiff's claim by the agency. Id.
Plaintiff has not provided any evidence from which a trier of
fact could conclude that he could not exhaust the required
administrative remedies because of EEOC error. For example,
Plaintiff has not provided the Court with dates in which he
contacted the EEOC, corroborating telephone records, or
tracking numbers from the EEOC as evidence that he filed a
proper complaint with the EEOC. Further, Plaintiff has not
provided an explanation for why the EEOC, after declining to
pursue his claims, failed to provide him with a right- to-sue
letter. In total, Plaintiff has only alleged that he
contacted the EEOC and that they were “no help at all,
” dkt. 1, and may have thrown his paperwork in the
trash, dkt. 24. This is not enough.
summary judgment, Plaintiff, cannot “simply rest upon
the pleadings but must instead submit evidentiary
materials” to support his claims. Siegel v. Shell
Oil Co.,612 F.3d 932, 937 (7th Cir. 2010). Defendant
has proffered undisputed evidence that Plaintiff has not
exhausted his administrative remedies before bringing his