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POPE v. INLAND PROP. MGMT.

February 22, 1995

MICHAEL POPE, Plaintiff,
v.
INLAND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC. and MARTIN BOYER COMPANY, INC., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WAYNE R. ANDERSEN

 This action is before the court on the motions to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff Michael Pope by defendants Inland Property Management ("IPM") and Martin Boyer Company, Inc. ("Boyer"). Both IPM and Boyer move to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Specifically, IPM and Boyer argue that dismissal is necessary because the complaint alleges a claim for constructive retaliatory discharge which Illinois courts do not recognize. Plaintiff argues against dismissal on the theory that he is not alleging constructive retaliatory discharge. Instead, plaintiff argues that his complaint states a claim for retaliatory and discriminatory conduct in violation of the first paragraph of section 4(h) of the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (the "Act"). 820 ILCS 305 et seq. For the following reasons, the court grants the motions to dismiss.

 BACKGROUND

 In plaintiff's complaint, the following facts are alleged and presumed true for purposes of these motions to dismiss. See Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 466 (7th Cir. 1991).

 In 1990, plaintiff began working for IPM as a maintenance person at IPM's facility in Schaumburg, Illinois. On January 21, 1991, plaintiff suffered a knee injury during the course of his employment. Plaintiff notified his supervisor of the circumstances surrounding the injury. On March 1, 1991, plaintiff filed a workers' compensation claim with the Illinois Industrial Commission.

 As a result of his injury, plaintiff underwent multiple knee surgeries which kept him out of work for over two years. During this period, plaintiff received total temporary disability benefits from IPM pursuant to the Act. On May 26, 1993, plaintiff returned to work at IPM's Schaumburg facility with significant medical restrictions imposed by his doctor.

 On June 8, 1993, Boyer notified plaintiff that his total temporary disability benefits would stop because IPM would be providing plaintiff with a job within his medical restrictions.

 In September, 1993, plaintiff began work at IPM's Woodstock, Illinois facility, which is more than 250 miles from plaintiff's home in Pierceton, Indiana. During the first two days on the new job, plaintiff sat at a desk and took inventory of small maintenance items. Then, plaintiff was told to sit at his desk and drink coffee because there was no other work for plaintiff. Plaintiff asked IPM for a more meaningful job closer to his home, but IPM did not respond. After approximately two weeks, plaintiff resigned. Plaintiff was unable to continue working due to the meaningless nature of his job and the difficulty traveling the distance to the job.

 In November 1993, plaintiff's attorney received an internal memo written by an IPM Department of Human Resources employee to another IPM employee which recommended a plan of discrimination against plaintiff. The memo, dated May 4, 1993, stated that IPM's representative from Boyer called IPM regarding plaintiff's release for light duty work with many restrictions. The memo said that a light duty job should be found as far away as possible from plaintiff's home. Boyer's representative believed that plaintiff would turn down the job enabling Boyer to settle and close the case. It further stated that, if IPM said it had no light duty available for plaintiff, IPM would be forced to pay for vocational training.

 On March 24, 1994, plaintiff filed the instant complaint alleging that IPM and Boyer retaliated and discriminated against him in violation of section 4(h) of the Act.

 DISCUSSION

 On a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded factual allegations as true, as well as all reasonable inferences drawn from these allegations. Mid America Title Co. v. Kirk, 991 F.2d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1993). Because federal courts simply require "notice pleading," this court must construe pleadings liberally. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics Intelligence and Coordination Unit, 122 L. Ed. 2d 517, 113 S. Ct. 1160, 1163 (1993) (emphasis in original). A complaint's mere vagueness or lack of detail is not sufficient to justify dismissal. Strauss v. City of Chicago, 760 F.2d 765, 767 (7th Cir. 1985). A complaint need not specify the correct legal theory or point to the right statute ...


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