The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mills, District Judge:
This action, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, is before the
Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Defendant argues that Plaintiff failed to file
his action within the appropriate statute of limitations.
This ground for summary judgment presents an issue of first
impression in this circuit.
The short answer: Motion denied.
Plaintiff, a black male, secured a position with the Firestone
Tire and Rubber Company in April of 1981. Plaintiff had
previously worked for Firestone in Akron, Ohio, but, due to a
plant closing, relocated in Decatur, Illinois, to work at
Firestone's plant there as a production supervisor. During
Plaintiff's first several years at the Decatur plant, Plaintiff's
performance was satisfactory. Beginning in January 1984, however,
the quality of Plaintiff's job performance was called into
question on a number of occasions. For example, in January 1984,
certain batches of defective rubber were manufactured under
Plaintiff's supervision. Plaintiff accepted responsibility for
this mishap. In June 1984, Plaintiff was observed sleeping on the
job. In August 1984, Plaintiff failed to show up for scheduled
overtime work. Finally, in September 1984, more defective batches
of rubber were produced under Plaintiff's supervision. Following
this final incident, Plaintiff was removed from his supervisory
position and was reassigned to the bargaining unit. This occurred
on or about September 20, 1984. Plaintiff filed this action
October 21, 1986, some 25 months later.
Plaintiff contends that his demotion was racially motivated and
constituted racial discrimination. Defendant asserts that the
decision to demote Plaintiff was based solely on Plaintiff's
record of performance at the Decatur plant.
Defendant argues that the instant suit is barred by the
Illinois two-year personal injury statute of limitations.
Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 110, ¶ 13-202. Defendant bases this argument on
the recently decided United States Supreme Court decision of
Goodman v. Lukens Steel Co., ___ U.S. ___, 107 S.Ct. 2617, 96
L.Ed.2d 572 (1987). In Goodman, the Court held that
Pennsylvania's two-year personal injury statute of limitations
applied to a suit brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Defendant
argues that this decision should be applied retroactively to the
instant suit, thus necessitating use of the Illinois two-year
personal injury statute of limitations. "As a rule, judicial
decisions apply `retroactively.'" Solem v. Stumes, 465 U.S. 638,
642, 104 S.Ct. 1338, 1341, 79 L.Ed.2d 579 (1984).
For the following reasons, this Court declines to apply Goodman
retroactively to the case at bar.