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CARPENTER v. FORD MOTOR CO.

February 25, 1991

ELIZABETH CARPENTER, Plaintiff,
v.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY, a Delaware Corporation, FRANK STAFFORD, Central Manager, JERRY FRANKLIN, Statistical Process Control Coordinator, JACK BOOKHOUT, Vehicle Evaluation Manager, and JACK CREEN, Supervisor of Industrial Relations, Defendants


Charles P. Kocoras, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: KOCORAS

CHARLES P. KOCORAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 This matter comes before the court on the plaintiff's motion to strike the defendants' three affirmative defenses. For the following reasons, defendants' second affirmative defense is stricken, however, defendants' first and third affirmative defenses are not.

 BACKGROUND

 On September 19, 1990 Plaintiff Elizabeth Carpenter filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County against Defendants Ford Motor Company, Frank Stafford, Jerry Franklin, Jack Creen, and Jack Bookhout. Counts I and II of the complaint allege violations of Title VII. Count IV alleges a common law complaint for breach of contract. Count III, which is the subject of this memorandum, alleges a common law claim for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.

 The present suit arises from incidents which Carpenter alleges were retaliatory moves against her by the defendants, as a result of her success in the previous action. These events occurred between January, 1989 and June, 1989, with a substantial portion of them occurring in a three month period from January to April of that year. During this time Carpenter alleges that Defendants Stafford, Bookhout, and Franklin intentionally harassed her by, among other things: requiring her to answer telephones; interrupting her conversations with other employees; prohibiting her from attending meetings or submitting reports under her own name; attempting to overload her with extra assignments, while refusing to allow her overtime; assigning her work which was not included in her job description; screaming at her; refusing to let her put her lunch in the refrigerator; and refusing to let her polish her fingernails at the office before work.

 As a result of these events Carpenter allegedly developed various illnesses including severe sinus problems, headaches and backaches, numerous gastrointestinal problems, and other stress related problems which required her taking a medical leave of absence on April 9, 1989. Carpenter alleges that while she was on leave Ford had her under surveillance, and that unidentified agents of Ford told people who knew her that Carpenter was a criminal. Carpenter alleges that these events greatly increased her emotional stress, humiliated her, and were undertaken for the purpose of harassing her. On April 13, 1989 Carpenter filed a verified charge of sexual harassment with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 Upon returning to work on May 15, 1989 Carpenter alleges that she was suspended by defendants Stafford, Franklin, Bookhout, and Creen, without cause, for the purposes of retaliation and harassment. On June 20, 1989 Carpenter was terminated in alleged continuation of this retaliatory and harassing activity.

 Upon losing her job, the plaintiff filed suit against her employer and certain employees. On February 8, 1990 this court dismissed Count III of the plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Now, plaintiff moves to strike the defendants' three affirmative defenses.

 DISCUSSION

 In support of her motion, the plaintiff first argues that the defendants' first affirmative defense, which claims that the plaintiff failed to mitigate her damages, is improperly pled as it requests a set-off from liability and speculates wages that the plaintiff could have earned. Next, plaintiff moves to strike the defendants' second affirmative defense of "unclean hands" as inapplicable to Title VII claims. Finally, plaintiff moves to strike the defendants' third affirmative defense that their failure to perform their obligations under the settlement agreement was attributable to the plaintiff's own failure to perform her obligations. Plaintiff contends that this defense is simply a denial of the allegations in the complaint.

 In response, the defendants argue that (1) failure to mitigate damages is a proper affirmative defense, (2) "unclean hands" is a proper equitable defense, and (3) the third affirmative defense is not a denial of the allegations in the complaint, but rather, an excuse for ...


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