United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
SUZANNE K. SALENTINE, Plaintiff,
SUPPLE RESTAURANT GROUP, Defendant.
WILLIAM C. GRIESBACH, CHIEF JUDGE.
Suzanne K. Salentine, who is currently representing herself,
filed a complaint against Defendant Supple Restaurant Group
on June 22, 2018. The court screened the complaint on June
27, 2018. The Court allowed Salentine to proceed on Title VII
claims against Supple Restaurant Group but dismissed her
retaliation claim without prejudice. Salentine has since
filed an amended complaint and a second motion for leave to
proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. Because the
court has already granted Salentine leave to proceed without
prepaying the filing fee, her motion will be denied as moot.
The court will now screen Salentine's amended complaint.
of the Complaint
courts are permitted to screen every complaint, regardless of
a plaintiff's fee status. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B);
Hoskins v. Poelstra, 230 F.3d 761, 763 (7th Cir.
2003). In screening a complaint, the court must determine
whether it complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
and states at least plausible claims for which relief may be
granted. A complaint, or portion thereof, should be dismissed
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle her
to relief. Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S.
69, 73 (1984) (citing Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41,
state a cognizable claim under the federal notice pleading
system, the plaintiff is required to provide a “short
and plain statement of the claim showing that [she] is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It is not
necessary for the plaintiff to plead specific facts and her
statements need only “give the defendant fair notice of
what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it
rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at 47).
However, a complaint that offers “labels and
conclusions” or a “formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). To state a claim, a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, “that is plausible on its face.”
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). The complaint's
allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (citations omitted). The court is obliged to give
the plaintiff's pro se allegations, however
inartfully pleaded, a liberal construction. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). With these
standards in mind, I now turn to the allegations of the
of the Complaint
alleges that while working for Supple Restaurant Group, Eric
Reese, a manager, physically and forcefully used his chest to
push her between the juice machine and hand sink, grinded on
her leg, and forced her to hug him before allowing her to
pass. She reported his conduct to the general manager and
owner the following day but management would not do anything
to help her for weeks. Salentine claims she took a leave of
absence due to the harassment and had to change her hours to
avoid working with Reese. When she returned, her hours were
greatly reduced. She alleges that Supple Restaurant Group
hired a new general manager to fire her and her
fiancé, Terrance Fletcher, who also worked for the
company, because of a pending lawsuit Salentine and Fletcher
asserts claims of employment discrimination and retaliation
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000 et seq., against her former employer,
Supple Restaurant Group. Title VII prohibits an employer from
discriminating against an employee on the basis of the
employee's race, color, religion, sex, and national
origin. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). To state a claim of
employment discrimination, a plaintiff must allege that (1)
she was subjected to unwelcome harassment; (2) the harassment
was based on her membership in a protected class; (3) the
harassment was severe or pervasive so as to alter the
conditions of her employment and create a hostile or abusive
working environment; and (4) there is basis for employer
liability. Alamo v. Bliss, 864 F.3d 541, 549 (7th
Cir. 2017) (quoting Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge of
the Cir. Ct. of Cook Cty., 804 F.3d 826, 833-34 (7th
Cir. 2015)). Salentine alleges that Reese sexually harassed
her when he used his chest to force her into a juice machine,
grinded on her leg, and forced her to hug him before allowing
her to pass. At this stage in the case, the court concludes
that Salentine has stated an employment discrimination claim
and may proceed on this claim against Supple Restaurant
sufficiently plead a retaliation claim, a plaintiff must
allege that she “‘engaged in statutorily
protected activity' and suffered an adverse action
‘as a result of that activity.'” Id.
at 555 (footnote omitted) (quoting Huri, 804 F.3d at
833). Salentine alleges that she complained to management
about Reese's conduct on multiple occasions. Supple
Restaurant Group ultimately fired her based on her pending
lawsuit. Again, at this stage in the proceedings,
Salentine's allegations are sufficient to state a
IS THEREFORE ORDERED that Salentine's motion to
proceed without prepaying the filing fee (ECF No. 8) is
DENIED as moot.
IS FURTHER ORDERED that the United States Marshal
shall serve a copy of the amended complaint, the summons, and
this Order upon Defendant Supple Restaurant Group pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4. Plaintiff is advised that
Congress requires the U.S. Marshal Service to charge for
making or attempting such service. 28 U.S.C. § 1921(a).
The current fee for waiver-of-service packages is $8.00 per
item mailed. The full fee schedule is provided at 28 C.F.R.
§§ 0.114(a)(2)-(3). Although Congress requires the
Court to order service by the U.S. Marshals Service precisely