The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.
Before the court is defendant General Motor Corporation's ("GMC") motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.
Prior to December 31, 1989, plaintiff Don L. Seward ("Seward") was employed by the B.O.C. (Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac) Division of General Motors Corporation. Seward had been employed by GMC since graduating from college with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1952, and since 1966, had worked in various management/supervisory positions. The final position held by Seward at GMC was that of a "shift superintendent," who was responsible for approximately 430 people and the production of approximately $ 300,000 of salable product per shift. Seward received an annual salary of $ 64,020 as compensation for his employment.
In November, 1986, GMC announced that by 1990 it would close the manufacturing plant at which Seward was employed, and that plant ceased production by July, 1989. In connection with the plant's closing, GMC announced a Special Retirement Program whereby employees aged fifty-five through fifty-nine could elect to retire and receive special benefits. To receive these special benefits, eligible employees were required to sign an agreement entitled "Statement of Acceptance of Special Retirement" (the "Release"). Seward signed the Release on May 11, 1989, thereby agreeing to retire effective January 1, 1990. In the Release, Seward acknowledged that he was accepting GMC's offer of special retirement "voluntarily with full knowledge of its significance, including the fact that by accepting it [he] waived any claim in any way connected with [his] separation from employment with General Motors." The Release further stated:
I acknowledge that no prior representations, promises or agreements relating to my employment and retirement have been made by General Motors which are contrary to this Agreement and that the special retirement offer and my acceptance of the special retirement offer constitute the entire and only agreement between me and General Motors.
In consideration of the terms of the special retirement offer, I hereby release and forever discharge General Motors and its officers, directors and employes for all claims, demands, and causes of action, known or unknown, which I may have based on the cessation of my employment at General Motors. This release specifically includes any possible claims I may have under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the fair employment practice or civil rights law of Illinois, and any other federal, state, or local law, order, or regulation, or the common law relating to employment and any claims for breach of employment contract, either express or implied.
I further agree not to institute any proceedings against General Motors or its officers, directors, agents, employes, or stockholders, based on any matter relating to the cessation of my employment at General Motors, including, without limitation, actions under the Age Discrimination in EMployment Act and the Fair employment practice or civil rights law of Illinois.
Seward signed the Release, after having read the agreement, so that GMC would continue to employ him through the plant closing date. In addition to signing the Release, Seward also signed a written calculation of his retirement benefits. Seward understood that the effect of signing this document was that he would be retired thereafter, and Seward retired as agreed. Once retired, Seward began receiving retirement benefits in excess of $ 36,000 annually. Additionally, because of his participation in the special retirement program, Seward received supplemental benefits of $ 953.22 per month from January 1, 1990 to September 30, 1990 and $ 976.61 per month from October 1, 1990 to his sixty-second birthday, July 6, 1992.
Prior to his retirement, six and a half weeks after reading and signing the Release, Seward attempted to revoke the Release. After speaking with at least two personnel administrators about his ability to revoke the Release, Seward submitted the following written statement:
I am not interested in voluntary retirement. I would prefer to continue my employment with General Motors.
Due to my age, years of service and few opportunities in my classification and there were several people in my classification who needed jobs and had no retirement option, I decided to sign the retirement sheet that was prepared for me to retire 1/1/90.
I have always indicated my desire to continue my employment with GM on the three surveys that were taken and on my ...