audience of supervisors; but UCH has yet to present such evidence before this court. Consequently, at this early stage of the litigation, the court must assume the veracity of Patton's allegation that UCH officials gave him a copy of the layoff policy when he started working at UCH.
In his second amended complaint, Patton has sufficiently alleged the three elements necessary to transform UCH's reduction-in-force policy into a binding contract. The policy makes a clear promise that UCH supervisors will follow certain procedures; UCH apparently disseminated the policy to its employees; and Patton began to work at UCH after learning of the policy. Thus, if Patton can show that UCH violated its own layoff policy by terminating him, he can recover damages for breach of contract.
UCH contends, however, that it did not breach any contract that the reduction-in-force policy may have established. In fact, UCH argues that it was faithfully adhering to its layoff policy when it terminated Patton, the least senior employee within his department at the time of his termination. This argument ignores Patton's allegations that UCH followed the letter of the layoff policy while violating its spirit. In particular, Patton claims that UCH acted in bad faith when it transferred him to a new department in 1985. Prior to his transfer, Patton had worked for several years in the same department. Due to Patton's seniority within this department, UCH could not lay him off without making a special exception under its reduction-in-force policy. As a result of his transfer, however, Patton became the least senior employee in his new department, a leading candidate for layoff. Patton alleges that UCH transferred him solely for the purpose of circumventing its policy that layoffs shall normally proceed in reverse order of seniority. If UCH reassigned Patton simply to strip him of his seniority and leave him vulnerable to layoff, then UCH breached the covenant of good faith implicit in its reduction-in-force policy. Absent an express disavowal, every contract under Illinois law contains an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Based on this covenant, "the law will imply an agreement to refrain from doing anything which will destroy or injure the other party's right to receive the fruits of the contract." Prudential Insurance Co. of America v. Van Matre, 158 Ill. App. 3d 298, 308, 511 N.E.2d 740, 746, 110 Ill. Dec. 563 (1987). Patton alleges that UCH transferred him in a deliberate effort to eviscerate his right to job security under the reduction-in-force policy. If Patton can prove this allegation, he can recover contract damages based on UCH's breach of the covenant of good faith.
Patton's second amended complaint adequately alleges the two prerequisites for maintaining a contract action: the existence of a contract and its breach. Consequently, the court denies UCH's motion to dismiss Patton's contract claim.
III. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
In addition to alleging age discrimination and breach of contract, Patton asserts a separate claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. To sustain such a claim under Illinois law, Patton must establish that: (1) UCH engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct; (2) UCH intended to cause emotional distress (or showed reckless disregard of the probability of causing such distress); (3) Patton suffered severe or extreme emotional distress; and (4) UCH's outrageous conduct actually and proximately caused Patton's emotional distress. See Tobias v. Winkler, 156 Ill. App. 3d 886, 896, 509 N.E.2d 1050, 1056, 109 Ill. Dec. 211 (1987); Farnor v. Irmco Corp., 73 Ill. App. 3d 851, 854-55, 392 N.E.2d 591, 595, 29 Ill. Dec. 894 (1979). Although Patton accuses UCH of intentional infliction of emotional distress, he concedes that he cannot adequately plead all four elements of the tort. Nonetheless, he contends that he should not have to satisfy the tort's stringent pleading requirements in order to recover damages for his emotional suffering. According to Patton, a plaintiff needs to plead the four elements of intentional infliction of emotional distress only if he intends to state an independent claim for that tort, a claim unrelated to any other wrongful or tortious conduct. Patton insists that he is not attempting to maintain such an independent claim. Rather, he characterizes his emotional distress claim as derivative; his mental anguish stems from UCH's alleged acts of age discrimination and breach of contract. If these acts provided the basis for an award of damages, Patton asserts that he could also recover damages for psychic pain simply by demonstrating that UCH's wrongful conduct caused him emotional distress. In support of this theory, Patton cites section 47 of the Second Restatement of the Law of Torts:
Where . . . tortious conduct . . . results in the invasion of another legally protected interest, . . . emotional distress caused either by the resulting invasion or by the conduct may be a matter to be taken into account in determining the damages recoverable. In many instances there may be recovery for emotional distress as an additional, or "parasitic" element of damages in an action for such a tort.
Restatement (Second) of Torts § 47 comment b (1965).
In law as in biology, a parasite can survive only by drawing sufficient nourishment from its host. Unfortunately for Patton, neither his ADEA claim nor his contract claim can serve as an adequate host for his parasitic claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Under the ADEA, a plaintiff cannot recover damages for emotional suffering caused by age discrimination. Pfeiffer v. Essex Wire Corp., 682 F.2d 684, 686-88 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 459 U.S. 1039, 74 L. Ed. 2d 606, 103 S. Ct. 453 (1982); Wilkes v. United States Postal Service, 548 F. Supp. 642 (N.D. Ill. 1982). Similarly, Illinois law does not permit compensation for mental distress resulting from a breach of contract, "except where the breach was wanton or reckless and caused bodily harm, or where the defendant had reason to know, when the contract was made, that its breach would cause mental suffering for reasons other than mere pecuniary loss." Maere v. Churchill, 116 Ill. App. 3d 939, 944, 452 N.E.2d 694, 697, 72 Ill. Dec. 441 (1983). Patton has failed to allege any of the exceptional circumstances that would warrant an award of damages for emotional distress stemming from UCH's alleged breach of contract. Ultimately, Patton's allegations of emotional suffering, even if proven, would not entitle him to additional damages. For this reason, the court dismisses Patton's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
IV. Punitive Damages
Finally, Patton seeks $ 1,000,000 in punitive damages; but his complaint provides no foundation for such an award. The ADEA prohibits Patton from recovering punitive damages for UCH's allegedly discriminatory conduct. See Pfeiffer, 682 F.2d at 686-88. Moreover, Patton cannot recover punitive damages based on UCH's alleged breach of contract unless "the breach constitutes an independent and willful tort accompanied by fraud, malice, wantonness or oppression." Hunter Douglas Metals, Inc. v. Edward C. Mange Trading Co., 586 F. Supp. 926, 929 (N.D. Ill. 1984). The breach depicted by Patton's complaint -- a bad faith breach of an employment contract -- does not constitute an independent tort under Illinois law. See Disario v. Enesco Imports Corp., 165 Ill. App. 3d 901, 520 N.E.2d 766, 117 Ill. Dec. 415 (1987); Martin v. Federal Life Insurance Co., 109 Ill. App. 3d 596, 606-07, 440 N.E.2d 998, 1006, 65 Ill. Dec. 143 (1982). Thus, even if UCH willfully and maliciously breached its layoff policy, such a breach would not justify the recovery of punitive damages. Because neither of Patton's claims can support a punitive damage award, the court grants UCH's motion to strike Patton's request for punitive damages.
For the foregoing reasons, this court denies UCH's motion to dismiss Patton's ADEA and contract claims. The court grants UCH's motion to dismiss Patton's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Finally, the court grants UCH's motion to strike Patton's request for punitive damages.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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