is without merit for two reasons: first, the complaint specifically alleges that the agreement was to run indefinitely; and second, McLaughry's contention essentially argues that indefinitely is a definite period of time.
Where no specific duration of employment is agreed upon, generally either party may terminate at will. Lukasik v. Riddell, Inc., 116 Ill.App. 3d 339, 452 N.E.2d 55, 59, 72 Ill. Dec. 123 (1983). Further, when an employment agreement does not specify a definite duration, it will last as long as is mutually satisfactory and either party can terminate the employment at will without liability for breach of contract. Crenshaw v. DeVry, Inc., 172 Ill.App.3d 228, 526 N.E.2d 474, 476, 122 Ill. Dec. 215 (1988). An employer may discharge an employee-at-will for any reason or no reason. Barr v. Kelso-Burnett Co., 106 Ill. 2d 520, 478 N.E.2d 1354, 1356, 88 Ill. Dec. 628 (1985).
Plaintiff McLaughry's amended complaint alleges that the employment agreement was to last indefinitely. Therefore, McLaughry was an employee-at-will who could be terminated for any reason. Defendant's motion to dismiss Count IV pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is granted.
C. Motion to Strike
Defendant contends that plaintiffs' jury demand and request for punitive damages in Count I must be stricken. Although the jury demand and request for punitive damages are intertwined, the punitive damages issue will be addressed first.
Defendant contends that punitive damages are not recoverable for actions alleging violations of the Railway Labor Act. Defendant relies on several cases, including Brady v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 196 F. Supp. 504, 506-07 (D.Del. 1961) aff'd 401 F.2d 87 (3d Cir. 1968); Brotherhood Railway Carmen v. Delpro Co., 579 F. Supp. 1332, 1337 (D.Del. 1984); and Maas v. Frontier Airlines, Inc., 676 F. Supp. 224, 226-27 (D.Colo. 1987). Plaintiffs contend that those cases are distinguishable because, in this case, plaintiffs were not represented by a union and were not parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Plaintiffs rely on Brown v. World Airways, Inc., 539 F. Supp. 179, 181 (S.D.N.Y. 1982) which specifically holds that an employee who is not represented by a union or a party to a collective bargaining agreement may seek punitive damages for violations of the Railway Labor Act. See also Belton v. Air Atlanta, Inc., 647 F. Supp. 28, 30 (N.D.Ga. 1986).
This court chooses to follow Brown because the amended complaint specifically alleges that plaintiffs and defendant had not entered into a collective bargaining agreement. The case cited by defendant which contains the most detailed analysis is Brotherhood of Railway Carmen v. Delpro Co., 579 F. Supp. 1332 (D.Del. 1984). The Delpro court specifically distinguished Brown on the fact that the plaintiff in Brown was an unrepresented employee. Delpro, 579 F. Supp. at 1337 n.8. Further, the rationale of Delpro is based on the balance of power between unions and management which is clearly not present in a case where the employee is not represented. Unlike the court in Maas v. Frontier Airlines, Inc., 676 F. Supp. 224 (D.Colo. 1987), this court does not believe that Brown and the Delpro line of cases are in conflict; rather the cases are distinguishable on an important fact.
Defendant's motion to strike plaintiffs' request for punitive damages is denied. The determination that punitive damages may be recoverable affects the issue of whether plaintiffs' jury demand must be stricken.
Defendant contends that plaintiffs are not entitled to a jury trial under the Railway Labor Act and attempts to distinguish Chauffeurs, Teamsters and Helpers, Local No. 391 v. Terry, 110 S. Ct. 1339 (1990) by characterizing plaintiffs' request as equitable. Defendant's contention is without merit.
In Terry, the Supreme Court held a plaintiff suing a union for failing to provide fair representation is entitled to a jury trial and stated that generally money damages was the traditional form of relief offered in courts of law but an award of monetary relief is not necessarily legal relief. Terry, 110 S. Ct. at 1347; see also Curtis v. Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 197, 39 L. Ed. 2d 260, 94 S. Ct. 1005 (1974) (punitive damages are traditionally legal remedies). For example, monetary damages are equitable relief when they are restitutionary or incidental to or intertwined with injunctive relief. Terry, 110 S. Ct. at 1348.
Defendant contends plaintiffs have sought back pay only in connection with their request for the "purely equitable remedy" of reinstatement. However, Count I clearly seeks more than just back pay in connection with reinstatement. Count I seeks "judgment against the defendant . . . in the sum of $ 500,000, together with punitive damages in the amount of $ 500,000, together with reinstatement of their former positions as pilots with full backpay, seniority and other benefits and the costs and disbursements of this action." The monetary damages sought in Count I are not restitutionary nor are they incidental to injunctive relief. Therefore, defendant's motion to strike plaintiffs' jury demand is denied.
For the foregoing reasons, defendant's 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss Count III and Count V is granted but denied as to Count IV. Defendant's 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss is granted as to Count II and Count IV. Defendant's motion to strike plaintiffs' request for punitive damages and demand for a jury trial is denied.
PHILIP G. REINHARD, JUDGE
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DATED: June 1, 1992