The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
George R. Germann ("Germann"), as Executor of the Estate of
Godfrey J. Carlson ("Carlson"), has sued various defendants
(collectively "Midland") for violation of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA," 29 U.S.C. § 621-34).
Midland has moved for summary judgment, asserting that
Germann and Midland had executed an accord and satisfaction as
to the claim on which Germann now sues. For the reasons stated
in this memorandum opinion and order, Midland's motion is
Germann claims that Midland violated ADEA by providing group
life insurance to its employees under which an employee's
beneficiary would receive $20,000 if the employee died before
age 60, but only $1,000 if the employee had passed that
birthday. Carlson was a Midland employee who was 60 when he
died February 3, 1979. Germann (as Executor) was his
Shortly after Carlson's death Midland wrote Germann enclosing a
letter and $1,000 check from the insurer (Guardian Life
Insurance Company of America, "Guardian"). Guardian's letter,
addressed to Midland, read in part:
We are enclosing our check for $1,000.00 drawn to the order of
George H. Germann a/k/a Jack H. Germann in payment of this
group life insurance claim. This amount is $1,000.00 subject to
the group's policy cutback provision which provides for a
reduction in life insurance amounts to $1,000.00 at age 60.
Germann deposited the check in the Estate's bank account. Some
nine months later Germann filed this action, charging that the
group policy that had been the source of the payment was
illegal under ADEA.
Midland's motion — predicated solely on accord and satisfaction
notions — faces an insuperable difficulty. At common law*fn2
an accord and satisfaction, 1 I.L.P. Accord and Satisfaction §
2 at 156, is:
an agreement, an adjustment, a settlement of a former
difficulty or dispute, and presupposes a difference, a
disagreement as to what is right.
Germann states by affidavit that no "dispute" existed at the
time of his reception and negotiation of the check, because he
had not even consulted with his attorneys (let alone filed
suit) as to the "discriminatory nature" of the insurance
Even if the obvious difference between Germann's undisputed
(and fully paid) $1,000 claim against Guardian and his present
$19,000 claim against Midland were ignored,*fn3 the law has
long been that there would be no occasion for finding an accord
and satisfaction here. Thus in Farmers and Mechanics Life
Ass'n v. Caine, 224 Ill. 599, 606-07, 79 N.E. 956, 959 (1906),
plaintiff claimed an insurer owed her $2,000 on account of her
dead husband's life insurance policy. It responded that her
voluntary surrender of the policy upon payment of $200 was an
accord and satisfaction, discharging the larger claim.
Plaintiff prevailed, 224 Ill. at 606-07, 79 N.E. at 959:
It is true, where there has been a compromise, in good faith,
of unliquidated or disputed demands, where there is an honest
difference between the parties as to the amount due, such an
accord with satisfaction is binding [citations omitted]. The
pleadings now under consideration show no such honest
difference between the parties. [Nothing] . . . alleged facts
from which it appears that [defendant] ...