The opinion of the court was delivered by: McDADE, District Judge.
Before the Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment as to Count II of Plaintiff's Complaint (# 52). For
the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.
The following facts are undisputed. Defendant (Canteen) is a
Delaware company which does a vending business in Illinois.
Canteen's employee, Mr. Bross, was the Peoria district manager
in 1978, and responsible for hiring employees at Canteen's
Peoria, Illinois, facility.
In 1978, Plaintiff (Taylor) worked for Canteen as a
maintenance person and the conditions of his employment were
governed by the collective bargaining agreement then in effect.
Following the retirement of Canteen's Peoria branch maintenance
supervisor, Bross offered this nonunion management job to
Taylor. (Bross dep. p. 39.) Canteen was aware that Taylor was
the most senior maintenance person working for Canteen with job
security as provided by the collective bargaining agreement.
Taylor accepted Canteen's offer of the management job and
resigned his union-secured job with Canteen in August 1978.
(Bross dep. p. 70). On November 1, 1984, Canteen terminated
Taylor's employment by retiring him. (Pl. dep. pp. 66-67,
The following disputed facts comprise the gravamen of the
Motion for Summary Judgment. Taylor claims that at the time of
the unsolicited offer from Canteen, he was told that, if he
accepted the management job in exchange for his loss of
seniority and job security guaranteed by the collective
bargaining agreement, he would have "nothing to worry about."
(Pl. dep. p. 31.) Taylor also claims that, in a second
conversation with Bross, he was told he would "not have to be
concerned with job security" as he could work for Defendant as
maintenance supervisor for "as long as he wished or until he
retired." (Pl. dep. pp. 106-110.) In reliance upon this
promise, Taylor accepted the offer and resigned from the union,
thereby losing the job security protection afforded him under
the collective bargaining agreement. Canteen denies that any
such promises were made to Taylor. (Bross dep. pp. 66-67,
Plaintiff contends that the conversation which he had with
Canteen's district manager constituted a valid and enforceable
oral contract for permanent employment; and that Canteen
breached this agreement when it forced him to retire in 1984.
Taylor further asserts that he has alleged a cause of action
based on the theory of promissory estoppel. He argues that
under both claims there exists a genuine issue of material fact
which precludes summary judgment.
Defendant denies that an enforceable contract was created for
the reason that the supervisor's statements do not constitute
a clear and definite promise nor are they supported by the
requisite consideration required by Illinois law for contract
formation. Defendant also argues that the alleged oral contract
is unenforceable under the Statute of Frauds which requires all
contracts that cannot be fully performed within one year to be
In response to this latter contention, Plaintiff asserts that
he has partially performed his part of the bargain and that the
doctrine of promissory estoppel precludes the application of
the Statute of Frauds to bar the claim.
Summary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with any affidavits demonstrate that there is no genuine issue
of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.C.P. 56(c). A party who
bears the burden of proof on an issue may not rest on its
pleading but must show by specific factual allegations that
there is a genuine issue of material fact which requires trial.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548,
2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). It is for the Court to determine
whether there are any factual ...