United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
November 1, 2005.
DORIS ISBELL and JAMES SCHNEIDER, Plaintiffs,
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge
Plaintiffs Doris Isbell ("Isbell") and James Schneider
("Schneider") initially filed suit with this Court, alleging
claims that Defendant unlawfully discriminated against them in
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq., and the Employee
Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1140 et
seq., (Isbell's Fourth Amended Complaint, No. 01-CV-0252, Doc.
48; Schneider's Complaint, No. 01-CV-0655, Doc. 1).*fn1 Both
Plaintiffs further claimed Defendant unlawfully retaliated
against them in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e,
ADEA, and ERISA.*fn2
Ultimately, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of
Defendant on all of Plaintiffs' claims, with the exception of
Defendant's counterclaim for breach of contract against
Schneider. (Doc. 281.) Instead, the Court found that while
Schneider had in fact breached the Release*fn3 he signed
with Defendant, Defendant had failed to show it was entitled to
any damages stemming from the breach. (Docs. 281 & 302.)
After the district court decision, Isbell appealed the final
judgment on her retaliation, discrimination, and ERISA claims,
while Defendant appealed the judgment denying damages regarding
its counterclaim against Schneider. Schneider did not file an appeal. This matter was reviewed on appeal by the
United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which
subsequently issued its opinion, dated August 15, 2005. See
Isbell v. Allstate Ins. Co., 418 F.3d 788 (7th Cir. 2005).
Specifically, the Seventh Circuit found that the district court
did not err in granting Defendant summary judgment on Isbell's
retaliation, discrimination and ERISA claims, and therefore
affirmed that part of the judgment. Id. at 797. However, the
Seventh Circuit found that the district court erred in granting
summary judgment in favor of Defendant on its counterclaim of
breach of contract by Schneider. Id. at 797-98.
The Seventh Circuit reasoned that the Release was not, in
essence, a covenant not to sue. Id. at 797. Therefore,
Defendant could not claim Schneider had breached it. Id. At
most, the Release served to provide Defendant with an affirmative
defense in the event Schneider brought suit under matters covered
within the scope of the Release. Id. Following this logic, the
Seventh Circuit found that Schneider could not have breached the
Release and that the grant of summary judgment in its favor on
its breach of contract claim was inappropriate. Id. As such,
the Seventh Circuit reversed the decision of the district court
to that effect, ordering the district court to enter judgment on
Defendant's breach of contract counterclaim in favor of
Schneider. Id. at 798.
Upon this mandate from the Seventh Circuit, the Court hereby
DENIES Defendant's motion for summary judgment regarding its
counterclaim for breach of contract against Schneider, finding instead, in favor of
Schneider. The Clerk shall enter judgment in favor of Schneider
and against Allstate on its claim.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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