United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
July 26, 2004.
ALVIN VARNADO, Plaintiff,
TRANS UNION LLC, NICOR GAS, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: RONALD GUZMAN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Defendant, Nicor Gas, has moved for summary judgment supported
by a three page memorandum. On July 14, 2004, the Court continued
the motion generally. Today, having reviewed the motion and
memorandum the Court issues the following determination without
the requirement of responsive filings. Defendant advances a
single argument: "Pursuant to well-established law, a release of
one joint tortfeasor releases all joint tortfeasors. (Def.'s Br.
at 3 (citing Havoco of Am., Ltd. v. Sumitomo Corp. of Am.,
971 F.2d 1332, 1340 (7th Cir. 1991).) However, defendant fails to
take into account the effect of the Illinois Joint Tortfeasor
Contribution Act, 740 ILL. COMP. STAT. 100/1 et seq. Section
2(c) to of the Act provides in part: When a release or covenant not to sue or not to
enforce judgment is given in good faith to one or
more persons liable in tort arising out of the same
injury or the same wrongful death, it does not
discharge any of the other tortfeasors from liability
for the injury or wrongful death unless its terms so
provide but it reduces the recovery on any claim
against the others to the extent of any amount stated
in the release or the covenant, or in amount of the
consideration actually paid for it, whichever is
The purpose of this act was to abrogate the harsh, common law
rule upon which defendant relies that the release of one joint
tortfeasor releases all joint tortfeasors. Alsup v. Firestone
Tire & Rubber Co., 461 N.E.2d 361, 364 (Ill. 1984). Unless the
release by plaintiff specifically names and releases other joint
tortfeasors, it does not operate to release other unnamed
tortfeasors. Id.; see Brady v. Prairie Material Sales, Inc.,
546 N.E.2d 802, 808 (Ill.App. Ct. 1989); see also Lumpkin v.
Envirodyne Indus., Inc., 933 F.2d 449, 458 (7th Cir. 1991)
(recognizing the effect of Alsup on tort law).
In the case before the Court, the release given to the
settlement tortfeasor does not purport in any way to release any
of the other joint tortfeasors, and, therefore, cannot operate to
do so. For this reason, the Court denies defendant's motion for
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