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ISBELL v. ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois


November 1, 2005.

DORIS ISBELL and JAMES SCHNEIDER, Plaintiffs,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DAVID HERNDON, District Judge

ORDER

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.

20051101

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