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07/12/89 Peter Torres, v. Amoco Corporation

July 12, 1989

PETER TORRES, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT

v.

AMOCO CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, THIRD DIVISION

542 N.E.2d 154, 186 Ill. App. 3d 135, 134 Ill. Dec. 154 1989.IL.1089

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Willard J. Lassers, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WHITE delivered the opinion of the court. FREEMAN, P.J., and CERDA, J., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WHITE

Plaintiff, Peter Torres, appeals from an order of the circuit court of Cook County, Illinois, granting the motion of defendant, Amoco Corporation, to dismiss the complaint. Plaintiff maintains that the complaint states a cause of action for breach of an employment contract and that the circuit court erred in granting the motion to dismiss. We hold that the statements made by defendant were not specific enough to support the formation of a contract, and we affirm the dismissal of the complaint.

The facts alleged in the complaint follow.

Plaintiff was hired by defendant in April 1970. He progressed steadily up the career ladder, each year receiving either highly satisfactory or satisfactory performance reviews. Throughout the course of plaintiff's employment, defendant made policy statements regarding the conditions of plaintiff's employment. *fn1 In addition, in 1985, Ed Cagswell, the manager of the data management department in which plaintiff worked, stated at a lunch meeting that politics would not play any part in personnel decisions.

In 1983, Somchay S. Harnack began working in the data management department. Mrs. Harnack is the wife of one of defendant's high level managers. Although Mrs. Harnack was unable to perform certain critical tasks, she was offered job opportunities which were not offered to plaintiff. Plaintiff's job performance was superior to that of Mrs. Harnack.

Beginning in 1986, plaintiff's supervisor, Gregory Liedtke, began criticizing plaintiff's job performance, despite the fact that plaintiff's job performance had remained at the same high level throughout his employment. In February 1987, plaintiff was told that he would have to transfer out of the data management department, whereas Mrs. Harnack would be allowed to remain in the department. On April 6, 1987, plaintiff was transferred to a position as a micromations operator. Plaintiff's new position is a dead-end position relative to the position he occupied in the data management department.

On June 5, 1987, plaintiff commenced this action for breach of employment contract. Plaintiff claimed that his transfer to the micromations department was in violation of the promises made by defendant that plaintiff's professional growth and advancement would be determined by his job performance. Plaintiff also claimed that he has lost substantial career opportunities, including pay raises and opportunity for professional advancement.

Prior to discussing the sufficiency of the complaint, it will be helpful to discuss the principles that apply to a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff's complaint was dismissed pursuant to a motion filed under section 2-615 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-615). Such a motion admits all well-pleaded facts in the complaint, and they must be taken as true. (Payne v. Mill Race Inn (1987), 152 Ill. App. 3d 269, 273, 504 N.E.2d 193.) Any reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those facts must also be taken as true. (Bolden v. General Accident, Fire & Life Assurance Corp., Ltd. (1983), 119 Ill. App. 3d 263, 266, 456 N.E.2d 306.) However, Conclusions of law or Conclusions of fact unsupported by allegations of specific fact are not admitted. (Payne, 152 Ill. App. 3d at 273; Yardley v. Yardley (1985), 137 Ill. App. 3d 747, 751, 484 N.E.2d 873.) A complaint is properly dismissed where it appears that no set of facts can be proved which will entitle the plaintiff to relief. (Levitt v. Gorris (1988), 167 Ill. App. 3d 88, 92, 520 N.E.2d 1169.) With these principles in mind, we turn to the merits of the case.

Plaintiff maintains that the statements made by defendant constituted promises that plaintiff's professional growth and advancement would be determined by his job performance and not by politics. Plaintiff claims that he accepted these promises by continuing to work for defendant. Plaintiff contends that an employment contract was formed upon his acceptance of defendant's promises, and that defendant breached the contract when plaintiff was transferred to the micromations department while Mrs. Harnack was allowed to remain in the data management department.

Plaintiff relies upon Duldulao v. Saint Mary of Nazareth Hospital Center (1987), 115 Ill. 2d 482, 505 N.E.2d 314, in support of his cause of action. In ...


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