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Criscione v. Sears

OPINION FILED NOVEMBER 17, 1978.

ANTHONY C. CRISCIONE, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

SEARS, ROEBUCK AND COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LOUIS J. GILIBERTO, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiff appeals from the dismissal with prejudice of his complaint to recover damages for his alleged wrongful and abusive discharge from the employ of defendant, Sears, Roebuck and Company (Sears). On appeal, plaintiff contends that his complaint states a cause of action in both tort and contract, in that the dismissal violated public policy and was made in bad faith rather than for a legitimate business purpose. The facts are as follows.

Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that he had been employed by Sears for approximately 10 years, during which he performed all assigned tasks, accrued pension and profit sharing and other benefits, and received a steadily increasing salary. Plaintiff further alleged that in January 1977 he was hospitalized for treatment of a bleeding ulcer, was discharged on or about January 20, 1977, and, on his doctor's orders, remained at home for a week to recuperate. He alleged that he returned to work on or about February 1, 1977, and, again upon doctor's orders, was placed on light duty for three weeks.

The complaint further states as follows:

"8. That on or about February of 1977 the Defendant embarked upon an abusive course of conduct which was designed to force the Plaintiff to quit the employment of the Defendant, and designed to create a cause for discharging the Plaintiff from employment of the Defendant. That such conduct included:

a) Transferring the Plaintiff to a highly technical job without adequate preparation or training;

b) Repeatedly refusing to adequately train or prepare the Plaintiff for his new and highly technical job.

c) Having the Plaintiff appear before a group of management personnel and verbally berating him in an abusive and demeaning manner regarding his performance in his new assignment.

d) Having the Plaintiff appear before a group of management personnel and demanding that he take a lesser paying job or be terminated from employment.

e) Terminating the Plaintiff from employment with the Defendant abruptly without reason or excuse after more than ten years of employment.

9. That on or about April 4, 1977 the Defendant wrongfully, abusively, without just cause or without informing the Plaintiff of any reason or excuse, discharged the Plaintiff from employment with SEARS, ROEBUCK AND COMPANY.

10. That after the discharge of the Plaintiff by the Defendant, the Defendant continued to engage in a course of conduct to harm the Plaintiff's prospects for further employment, and designed to prevent the Plaintiff from receiving unemployment compensation. Such conduct included the filing of a statement by the Defendant with the State of Illinois Department of Labor that the Plaintiff was discharged for misconduct."

Plaintiff sought general, special and punitive damages for mental pain and anguish, for "the sale and liquidation of valuable property" and for lost employee benefits.

Pursuant to section 45 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 45), Sears filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice for failure to state a cause of action. Sears attached a memorandum to its motion and plaintiff submitted a memorandum with his objection to Sears' motion. Following the filing of a reply memorandum by Sears, the ...


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