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HAUPT v. INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO.
March 2, 1984
HAROLD HAUPT, PLAINTIFF,
INTERNATIONAL HARVESTER CO. AND MICHAEL MCGRATH, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Harold Haupt ("Haupt") originally sued International Harvester
Company ("IH," his former employer) and Michael McGrath
("McGrath," his former supervisor) in connection with Haupt's
discharge from IH's employment. This Court's earlier opinion,
571 F. Supp. 1043 (N.D.Ill. 1983) dismissed IH as a defendant for
Haupt's failure to sue within the limitations period of the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621-634. That left
pending a single state-law count against McGrath, charging
tortious interference with Haupt's employment contract.*fn1
McGrath now moves for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P.
("Rule") 56, arguing:
1. Haupt cannot establish the elements of tortious
interference with contract under Illinois law.
2. McGrath was privileged to advise IH to lay off
McGrath has also moved to strike much of Haupt's evidence for
failure to comply with Rule 56's evidentiary standards. McGrath's
motion to strike is well taken in part, but his summary judgment
motion is denied.
IH employed Haupt from October 1964 to November 1980. Beginning
in January 1974 Haupt was "pallet pool coordinator" in a
two-person department. He monitored the quality of pallet and
container parts used in IH's operations and contracted with
various suppliers for IH's requirements of those items. McGrath
became Haupt's supervisor in October 1977. At McGrath's request
Haupt added Jackson, Inc., which later became Buckeye Wood
Products (for convenience simply "Buckeye"), as a pallet
supplier. McGrath increased Buckeye's share of IH's pallet
business until April 1980, when he authorized Buckeye to
communicate directly with IH's material suppliers to fulfill
their pallet needs. Buckeye's increasing importance as a pallet
supplier, and Haupt's complaints about its performance,
led to disputes between Haupt and McGrath.
Haupt contends McGrath intentionally and maliciously caused
Haupt's discharge to preserve McGrath's improper favoritism
toward Buckeye. In support of that view Haupt presents evidence
1. In May 1978 McGrath caused or approved the
reduction in Haupt's job classification from Grade 12
to Grade 6, which did not change his duties or salary
but made him a prime candidate for layoff. Haupt Aff.
2. In April 1980 Haupt wrote a memo to McGrath's
supervisor Philip Gigliotti ("Gigliotti") opposing
McGrath's proposal to confer all IH's pallet business
on Buckeye and to authorize Buckeye's direct
solicitation of IH's material suppliers. McGrath
prohibited Haupt from sending future memos without
prior approval. Haupt Aff. ¶¶ 67-72. Only a few days
later McGrath gave Haupt the first written
performance appraisal ever given Haupt during his
tenure as pallet pool coordinator — and the appraisal
was substandard (Haupt's prior performance
evaluations had been favorable). Haupt Aff. ¶¶ 36-38
and App. E.
3. McGrath's April 1980 plan, when implemented,
reduced the importance of Haupt's job and entrenched
Buckeye as a pallet supplier.
4. Haupt noted various complaints with Buckeye's
performance, Haupt Aff. ¶¶ 46-53, and on one occasion
detailed the defects of one shipment in a memo, Haupt
Aff. ¶¶ 54-57 and App. O. McGrath advised Haupt not
to circulate the memo. Haupt Aff. ¶¶ 58-59. Haupt
noted and reported a whole series of indications of
dissatisfaction with Buckeye pallets, but McGrath
never took any action against Buckeye. Haupt Aff. ¶¶
5. McGrath's superior Gigliotti inquired of McGrath
about the feasibility of eliminating Haupt's
position, and McGrath responded May 9, 1980 he did
not believe the position could be eliminated unless
he could get a computer to assist him with
recordkeeping. Robert Andrews ("Andrews") Feb. 3,
1984 Aff.Ex. B. Shortly thereafter however McGrath
reversed himself and advised Gigliotti Haupt's
position could be eliminated. Gigliotti Jan. 23, 1984
Aff. ¶ 5.
6. When Haupt was discharged he brought McGrath's
relationship with Buckeye to the attention of IH's
management. When confronted with evidence of
impropriety McGrath resigned. ...
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