legal arguments for litigants.") Moreover, neither of the two legal doctrines that the defendants are possibly attempting to raise--the implied/express contract rule or the parol evidence rule--is applicable here. The first of these doctrines states that a court will not find that a contract between the parties is implied in law where there is also an express contract on the same subject matter. Saunders v. Michigan Avenue Nat'l Bank, 278 Ill. App. 3d 307, 314, 662 N.E.2d 602, 609, 214 Ill. Dec. 1036 (1st Dist. 1996). As Anderson has not brought any claims alleging the existence of an implied contract, this rule has no application here. The parol evidence rule states that where the parties have reduced their agreement to an integrated writing, extrinsic evidence, oral or written, must be excluded. Epstein v. Northfield Inv. Co., 1991 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9178, No. 90 C 5283, 1991 WL 127746 at *2 (N.D. Ill. July 8, 1991). Anderson does not allege that a written contract ever existed between her and Ameritech, nor do the exhibits to her complaint establish the existence of one. It is self-evident that if a written contract never existed, there is no document which claims to be the final expression of the parties and the parol evidence rule is inapplicable.
Under Illinois law, if the parol evidence rule does not apply to the case at hand, but documents, nevertheless, do exist and those documents are "construed as part of the contract--and the contract is thus found to be partly written and partly oral--then the law governing oral contracts [applies]." Respect Inc. v. Committee on the Status of Women, 781 F. Supp. 1358, 1363 (N.D. Ill. 1992). When an oral contract has been created, documents often accumulate over time that evidence the existence of that contract. While these documents may or may not ultimately be construed as part of the oral contract itself, they tend to support the inference that a contract exists between the parties.
In the present case, Anderson has attached four documents to her first amended complaint which she claims evidence the existence of an oral contract. These exhibits include a letter from Ameritech to Anderson stating that Anderson's sickness disability benefits would be extended (Ex. B), a letter from Ameritech to Anderson congratulating her for fifteen years of service with Ameritech (Ex. E), a follow up letter from Ameritech to Anderson reminding Anderson that she was eligible to receive an award for her fifteen years of service (Ex. F), and a pamphlet entitled "Your Personal Statement of Benefits" (Ex. G). In addition, Anderson has alluded to certain written records, including payroll records, which Ameritech allegedly has in its possession. Neither Anderson nor Ameritech contends that these documents constitute a written contract. Rather, Anderson asserts that the documents are evidence of the existence of an oral contract. Whether an oral contract exists is a matter to be decided by the trier of fact. Sanchez v. Walls, 59 Ill. App. 3d 75, 78, 375 N.E.2d 138, 140, 16 Ill. Dec. 507 (2d Dist. 1978). We make no findings on that point, but merely hold that the existence of these documents does not preclude the creation of an oral contract between the parties. For all of these reasons, the defendants' attack on Anderson's breach of contract claim fails.
We now turn to the defendants' remaining argument under Count IV. Ameritech asserts that Anderson cannot recover wages under the IWPCA because she performed no work for Ameritech during the period for which she seeks wages, and application of the IWPCA is contingent on an employee actually performing services. A careful reading of the IWPCA shows, however, that nothing in it limits its reach to comport with Ameritech's interpretation. The IWPCA defines wages as "compensation owed the employee by the employer pursuant to an employment contract or agreement between the 2 parties." 820 ILCS 115/2 (1997). In fact, the Illinois legislature amended the IWPCA in 1984 to eliminate from the definition of wages the phrase "compensation for labor or services rendered." P.A. 83-198, § 1 (1984).
One of the few courts to address the issue Ameritech raises held that to be consistent with the legislative intent, the term "wages" must be broadly construed to encompass a wide range of compensation due employees. Shields v. Associated Volume Buyers, Inc., 1994 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 3944, No. 93 C 7620, 1994 WL 110397 at *2 (N.D. Ill. March 31, 1994). In Shields, the plaintiff was terminated with eighty-seven weeks remaining in his three-year employment contract. The defendant employer argued that under the IWPCA, the plaintiff was not entitled to wages for the remainder of his contract because no services were actually rendered during that time period. The court, for the same reasons we find persuasive here, rejected this narrow interpretation of wages as inconsistent with the legislative intent of the IWPCA. Id.
In opposition, Ameritech cites Camillo v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 221 Ill. App. 3d 614, 582 N.E.2d 729, 164 Ill. Dec. 166 (5th Dist. 1991). In Camillo, the plaintiff sought a pro rata recovery of a management "earned bonus" pursuant to the IWPCA. Ameritech correctly asserts that the court in Camillo found that because services were rendered, the employee was entitled to the compensation of the bonus. Id., 221 Ill. App. 3d at 623, 582 N.E.2d at 735. However, nothing in Camillo supports Ameritech's argument that the only way in which compensation can become due under the IWPCA is for the employee to render services. Citing no other case law to support its narrow interpretation of the scope of the IWPCA, Ameritech's argument must be rejected. The motion to dismiss is denied as to Count IV.
For the foregoing reasons, the defendants' motion to strike and dismiss is granted in part and denied in part. The motion to strike Anderson's request in Count II for damages in excess of $ 300,000 is granted. Count III is dismissed as to defendant Ameritech only. Count V is dismissed as to defendant ACHCP only. In the event that discovery demonstrates a proper basis to reinstate these defendants to Counts III and V, the plaintiff may seek leave of court to move for such reinstatement. The motion to dismiss is denied with respect to Count IV.
United States District Judge
March 26, 1997