The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mihm, Chief Judge.
Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (#13), Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (#8),
and Defendant's Motion to Strike (#12). For the reasons set
forth below, both Motions for Summary Judgment are DENIED.
Defendant's Motion to Strike is GRANTED.
The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332.
Plaintiff is a resident of the State of New York; Defendant is
incorporated in Delaware and has its principal place of
business in Bloomington, Illinois. The amount in controversy
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Although the admissibility of the DES evidence is an issue
in the Summary Judgment Motion, additional facts gleaned from
this report are the following. Rekhi was required to work
Monday through Friday and over the weekends when needed.
Apparently his boss asked him to work on a particular Sunday
when Rekhi had previously planned to host out-of-town guests
in conjunction with a religious holiday. According to the
report by DES, Wildwood "fired him" because of his
unwillingness to work on a Sunday. The Referee determined that
Rekhi was not fired for misconduct because his unwillingness
to work was "not unreasonable". Wildwood appealed the
Referee's November 3, 1988 decision, and the Board of Review
of DES affirmed that the Rekhi was not subject to a
disqualification of benefits under § 602(a) of the Illinois
Unemployment Insurance Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., ch. 48, ¶ 300 et
On December 12, 1988, Rekhi filed a claim with the State of
Illinois Department of Labor for $55,770.00 in bonus pay,
vacation pay, and severance pay to which he believed he was
entitled under his employment contract. On January 11, 1989,
the Department of Labor Wage Claims Division wrote a letter to
Wildwood Industries informing the company that a claim for
payment of wages or final compensation had been filed. The
letter instructed Wildwood to either send a check or money
order payable to Rekhi for the amount requested or send a
written explanation within ten days objecting to the request.
After Wildwood denied that it was indebted to Rekhi for
wages, a hearing was set on May 16, 1989. On May 23, 1989, the
Hearing Division of the Department of Labor found that the
Defendant was indebted to the Plaintiff in the sum of
$6,407.90 and issued a wage payment demand to Defendant for
that amount.*fn1 By letter, Wildwood was instructed to issue
a certified or cashier's check or money order made payable to
Rekhi for that amount within fifteen days or risk default
penalties and possible criminal violations pursuant to the
Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act. Ill.Rev.Stat. ch.
48, ¶ 39m-1 et seq. (1987) ("the Act").
Wildwood appealed the Department of Labor's decision. On
September 13, 1989, the Chief Hearing Officer wrote to
Wildwood Industries denying Wildwood's request for a
rehearing. He stated that the record showed that Wildwood
received a full, fair, and complete hearing and the
determination of the Hearing Officer was supported by the
evidence presented. See Eleventh Circuit Court, McLean County,
Order entered July 12, 1990.
Rekhi filed his original Complaint in state court on March
9, 1989. On July 12, 1990, the trial court granted Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint and determined that
the Complaint was barred under the doctrine of res judicata.
The trial court relied on Stafford v. Bowling, 85 Ill. App.3d 978,
41 Ill.Dec. 273, 407 N.E.2d 771 (1980) and found that the
Department of Labor has adjudicatory powers and is a competent
tribunal to hear and determine wage claims. Count I of
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint was dismissed with prejudice.
The Fourth District Appellate Court reversed the trial court
on September 30, 1991, 219 Ill.App.3d 312, 162 Ill.Dec. 375,
579 N.E.2d 1189, relying on the holding of Miller
v. J. M. Jones Co., 198 Ill. App.3d 151, 144 Ill.Dec. 461,
555 N.E.2d 820 (1990). The Court held that the Labor Department's
proceedings under the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act,
Ill.Rev.Stat. ch. 48, ¶ 39m-1 et seq. (1987), are not judicial
in nature and thus have no preclusive effect in subsequent
criminal or civil litigation. Accordingly, the Court reversed
the trial court in dismissing Count I of Plaintiff's Amended
Plaintiff then voluntarily dismissed the case in favor of a
forum in federal court. After the case was filed here,
Wildwood filed a Motion to Dismiss, or for a More Definite
Statement. Judge Kauffman issued a Recommendation which this
Court affirmed. The Motion to Dismiss was denied and the
Motion for a More Definite Statement on Count II was allowed.
The Order held that Count I and Count III were sufficiently
related for jurisdictional purposes. The Court also held that
Plaintiff had a right to sue for wages and penalties under the
Illinois Wage Act cited above.
Subsequently, both Plaintiff and Defendant filed Cross
Motions for Summary Judgment on Count I of Plaintiff's
Complaint which alleges that Wildwood breached its contract
with Rekhi by not paying Rekhi bonus pay, vacation pay, and
severance pay after the ...