The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bobrick, United States Magistrate Judge.
Before the court is the motion of defendant Village of Oswego
to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff Craig Anderson.
Plaintiff worked for the defendant as a building and zoning
administrator from 1991 to 1999. He testified pursuant to a
subpoena on July 16, 1998, in a civil case brought against
defendant as a result of a contract dispute. The defendant lost
the case and was found liable for $1.3 million. Defendant
suspended plaintiff in February of 1999 and, on March 8, 1999,
terminated him. Plaintiff claims he was terminated in retaliation
for his testimony in response to the subpoena. He brings a
two-count complaint, alleging retaliatory discharge under the
common law of Illinois, and denial of equal protection under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants now move to dismiss plaintiff's
A. Plaintiff's Allegations
In considering a motion to dismiss, we accept as true all
well-pleaded factual allegations and draw all possible inferences
in favor of the plaintiff. Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
v. Thompson, 161 F.3d 449, 456 (7th Cir. 1998). As already
noted, the defendant in this case was named defendant in a
lawsuit. The suit alleged that defendant had refused to honor
certain contractual obligations regarding payment of construction
costs of water and sewer improvements. Plaintiff was subpoenaed
as a witness and, on July 16, 1998, testified at trial. At
trial's end, judgement was enter against the defendant in the
amount of approximately $1.3 million. (Complaint, ¶¶ 5-7).
According to plaintiff, shortly after he testified, defendant
accused him of wrongfully providing confidential information — an
accusation which plaintiff denies. Defendant suspended plaintiff
on February 9, 1999, stating that he had wrongly issued a
variance and for other unstated performance issues. Finally, on
March 8, 1999, plaintiff was terminated. (Complaint, ¶¶ 9-13).
Defendant argues that plaintiff has not adequately alleged a
claim for retaliatory discharge, because he has not alleged that
he was terminated in violation of a clearly mandated public
policy. Defendant also contends that plaintiff's equal protection
claim must fail because he has not alleged that he was terminated
based on a policy or custom of disparate treatment.
A complaint will not be dismissed unless it appears beyond a
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of
its claim which would entitle it to relief. Cook v. Winfrey,
141 F.3d 322, 327 (7th Cir. 1998). We must read the complaint
liberally and accept as true the well-pleaded allegations and the
inferences that may reasonably be drawn from those allegations.
Sapperstein v. Hager, 188 F.3d 852, 855 (7th Cir. 1999). "The
issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but
whether he is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims."
A. Retaliatory Discharge Claim
Plaintiff brings Count I under the Illinois common law,
alleging retaliatory discharge. Defendant moves to dismiss. Now
it gets complicated. First, the boilerplate. An employee can
state a claim for retaliatory discharge only if he can
demonstrate that he was terminated for his actions, and that the
termination violated a clear mandate of public policy. Palmateer
v. International Harvester Co., 85 Ill.2d 124, 52 Ill.Dec. 13,
421 N.E.2d 876 (1981). The public policy must be found in the
state's constitution, statutes or, where they are silent, in the
judicial decision of the state's courts. Id. Here, plaintiff
alleges he was fired for truthfully testifying against his
employer, the defendant, in response to a subpoena. The issue
defendant raises in its motion to dismiss is whether firing an
employee for complying with a ...