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HENDRICKSON v. GUNTHER-NASH MIN. CONST. CO.

February 18, 1997

WILLIAM HENDRICKSON AND RITA HENDRICKSON, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GUNTHER-NASH MINING CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., EXXON COAL USA, INC., D/B/A MONTEREY COAL COMPANY, A CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

OPINION

The Illinois Structural Work Act.

The Illinois General Assembly giveth.

The Illinois General Assembly taketh away.

I. FACTS

As alleged in the Amended Complaint, Gunther-Nash Mining Construction Company and Exxon Coal USA, Inc. hired Timmons Electric Company to perform some electrical work on a new structure at the Monterey Coal Company's plant in Carlinville, Illinois. William H. Hendrickson worked for Timmons Electric Company. On January 23, 1993, Hendrickson, while working for Timmons Electric Company on the new structure at Monterey Coal's plant, was injured when he tried to climb out of the "elevator."*fn1 Hendrickson claims that his injuries were directly and proximately caused by Gunther-Nash's and Exxon Coal's failure to comply with the Illinois Structural Work Act ("Act"). Furthermore, the wife, Rita Hendrickson, claims a loss of services and a loss of consortium as a result of the injuries sustained by her husband due to Gunther-Nash's and Exxon Coal's failure to comply with the Act.

II. LEGAL STANDARD FOR MOTIONS TO DISMISS

In ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court "must accept well pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. In addition, the Court must view these allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Gomez v. Illinois State Bd. of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). Although a complaint is not required to contain a detailed outline of the claim's basis, it nevertheless "must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory." Car Carriers, Inc. v. Ford Motor Co., 745 F.2d 1101, 1106 (7th Cir. 1984). Mere conclusions, without supporting factual allegations, are insufficient to support a claim for relief. Cohen v. Illinois Inst. of Tech., 581 F.2d 658, 663 (7th Cir. 1978). Dismissal should not be granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).

III. ANALYSIS

In Counts I, III, VII, and IX of their Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the Illinois Structural Work Act. Repealed, formerly 740 ILCS 150/.01 et seq. The Illinois General Assembly, however, repealed the Act effective February 14, 1995. See Illinois P.A. 89-2 § 5. Defendants, therefore, argue that because the Act has been repealed, Plaintiffs no longer have a cause of action pursuant to the Act. On the other hand, Plaintiffs argue that the repeal only bars actions which accrued on or subsequent to February 14, 1995. Because Plaintiffs' cause of action accrued prior to February 14, 1995, Plaintiffs assert that the repeal of the Act is inapplicable to the case at bar.

For the reasons set forth below and for those contained within Scott v. Midwest, Ltd., 933 F. Supp. 735 (C.D.Ill. 1996), the Court finds that the repeal of the Illinois Structural Work Act is applicable to both prospective and pending causes of action. Accordingly, Counts I, III, VII, and IX of Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint are dismissed.

All of the parties agree that the Illinois General Assembly repealed the Act without including an express savings clause in the statutory language. The amendment merely states that "The Structural Work Act is repealed." P.A. 89-2 § 5. In Illinois,

    The unconditional repeal of a special remedial
    statute without a saving clause stops all pending
    actions where the repeal finds them. If final
    relief has not been granted before the repeal goes
    into effect it cannot be granted afterwards, even
    if a judgment has been entered and the cause is
    pending on appeal. The reviewing court must dispose
    of the case under the law in force when its
    decision is rendered.

People ex rel. Eitel v. Lindheimer, 371 Ill. 367, 373, 21 N.E.2d 318, 321 (Ill. 1939); see also Isenstein v. Rosewell, 106 Ill.2d 301, 310-11, 478 N.E.2d ...


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