The opinion of the court was delivered by: AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Michael Maddie filed a complaint against his former
employer, Siebel Systems, Inc. and his former supervisor, Donald
O'Shea, alleging: defamation (Count I); tortious interference
with a contract (Count II); civil assault (Count III); tortious
supervision, retention, and investigation (Count IV); breach of
contract (Count V); and intentional infliction of emotional
distress. (Count VI). Defendants move to dismiss all claims under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a
claim. For reasons stated herein, the Court denies Defendants'
motion to dismiss Counts I, II, III, and V, grants in part and
denies in part their motion to dismiss Count IV, and grants their
motion to dismiss Count VI.
The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is
to test the legal sufficiency of a complaint not the merits of
the case. Triad. Assocs, Inc. v. Chicago Hous. Auth.,
892 F. 2d 583, 586 (7th Cir. 1989). The well-plead allegations of a
complaint must be accepted as true. Thompson v. Illinois Dep't
of Prof'l Regulation, 300 F.3d 750, 753 (7th Cir. 2002). The courts construe ambiguities in favor of the plaintiff. Id.
Plaintiff can plead conclusions and need not allege all or any
facts entailed by the claim. Shah v. Inter-Continental Hotel
Chicago Operating Corp., 314 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003).
For the purpose of this Opinion, the following facts are
accepted as true. Siebel Systems, in Rosemont, Illinois, is
engaged in the business of developing customer relationship
management software and providing consulting services to
implement software. Michael Maddie began working as a consultant
for Siebel Systems in June of 2000. (R. 1-1, Pl's Comp. ¶ 7.)
Donald O'Shea was one of Maddie's supervisors. (Id. at ¶ 21.)
In October or November of 2002, Maddie expressed an interest in
transferring into another group within the company the Customer
Relationship Management Strategy Group ("CRM"). (Id. at ¶ 20.)
CRM offered Maddie a position pending approval of management
including Donald O'Shea. (Id. at ¶¶ 20-21.) When O'Shea learned
of Maddie's possible transfer he was furious and told another
manager, "I don't like this guy. I'm not going to transfer him,
I'm just going to fuck with him and use him until he leaves."
(Id. at ¶ 22.) O'Shea allegedly thereafter denied Maddie's
transfer request and told representatives of the CRM Strategy
Group that, "[Maddie] was a performance issue and being counseled
and therefore was not eligible for transfer." (Id. at ¶ 23.)
In January of 2003, Maddie attempted to transfer into the
Automotive Product Marketing Group ("APM") and APM offered him a
position. APM advised Plaintiff that they would "coordinate
approval of the transfer with O'Shea." (Id. at ¶¶ 26-27.)
O'Shea allegedly did not approve the transfer and APM eventually
froze all transfers into the group. (Id. at ¶¶ 28-29.) O'Shea
told Plaintiff that he "only transfer[s] the right people out of
the group." (Id. at ¶ 29.) On or about April, 28, 2003, Maddie alleges that O'Shea
confronted him about arriving late to work. (Id. at ¶ 31.)
Allegedly O'Shea acted in a manner that caused Maddie to think he
was about to be physically attacked. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-37.) The
altercation ended with O'Shea demanding Maddie's resignation.
(Id. at ¶ 31.)
Maddie contacted Cynthia Erickson, the Director of Human
Resources, to complain. (Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.) Erickson told Maddie
to stay away from O'Shea and "await her call while she contacted
O'Shea and the Project Manager to get their side of the story."
(Id. at ¶ 39.)
On April 30, 2003, Plaintiff contacted Erickson to inquire
about the status of her investigation. (Id. at ¶ 40.) During
the call, Erickson allegedly told Plaintiff that the company
Human Resources Department was processing his resignation.
(Id.) Erickson said that O'Shea informed her that Maddie had
resigned. (Id. at ¶ 41.) Erickson said her investigation was
ongoing. (Id. at ¶¶ 41-42.) Plaintiff advised Erickson that he
had not resigned. (Id. at ¶ 40.)
On May 1, 2003, Erickson e-mailed Plaintiff stating that "Don
[O'Shea] is under the impression that he accepted your
resignation effective Monday 4/28 and the HR Operations dept has
processed paperwork to that effect. I have not been able to reach
Don today to discuss this further. I can confirm today that you
no longer work for Siebel . . ." (Id. at ¶ 44.)
On July 25, 2003, Siebel Systems' Senior Corporate Counsel
advised Plaintiff that Siebel had completed its investigation of
his allegations. She concluded that Plaintiff "was an at-will
employee who was terminated lawfully by Siebel Systems, Inc."
(Id. at ¶ 55.) In August of 2003, another Corporate Counsel
concluded that O'Shea "was not responsible for [Plaintiff's]
ultimate departure and supported him during his tenure." (Id.
at ¶ 58.) On May 17, 2004, Plaintiff filed this lawsuit. ANALYSIS
Plaintiff argues that in October or November of 2002, O'Shea
made a defamatory statement that Plaintiff was a performance
issue and being counseled and therefore was not eligible to
transfer. (R. 1-1, Pl's Comp. at ¶ 23.) Defendants argue that:
(1) the one year statute of limitations bars Plaintiff from
bringing this action; (2) the alleged statement did not contain
an objectively verifiable fact and was therefore a
constitutionally protected opinion; ...