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Saddler v. Continental Tire North America

June 26, 2006

JEFFREY SADDLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CONTINENTAL TIRE NORTH AMERICA, INC. D/B/A/ GENERAL TIRE, INC., AND MANPOWER, INC., DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by defendants Continental Tire North America, Inc., and Manpower, Inc., (Docs. 43,45). Plaintiff has filed a response, (Doc. 50), and defendants have filed replies (Docs. 51,52). These motions are discussed below.

I. Background

On or about August 1, 2002, plaintiff applied for work as a temporary laborer at General Tire through Manpower, Inc., in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.19:20-20:25). At the time he applied, plaintiff informed Manpower that his goal was to work at General Tire. (Doc. 50, Exh. F, Curd Dep., pp.19:17-25 & 20:1-5).

As part of the Manpower application process, plaintiff signed an Employment Agreement which states:

I understand that the term of my employment with [Manpower] shall be limited to the duration of any temporary assignment which I accept. I recognize that [Manpower] is not an employment agency. I certify that I am applying for temporary work with [Manpower], and I understand that [Manpower's] customers do not seek permanent help from Manpower. (Doc. 44, Exh. F, p.4; Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.21:17-23:13). In other words, the term of plaintiff's employment with Manpower was limited to the duration of any temporary assignments that he accepted. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.22:17-21).

On or about August 7, 2002, plaintiff accepted a temporary assignment at General Tire as a laborer. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.29:15-23; Exh. B, Curd Dep., p.20:13-18). Specifically, General Tire needed temporary employees to help fill a mold cleaning job for a specific client, Mercedes Benz. (Doc. 45, Exh. C, Gass Dep., pp.32:10-22, 56:4-13, 58:2-4).

On March 8, 2003, plaintiff slipped and fell while changing a bag in the press and injured his right wrist. He sought treatment from an on-site nurse but did not report the injury to Manpower because he thought it was "just a sprain, and after a couple of days it went away." (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.46:3-47:17). Then on March 22, 2003, plaintiff was building bags, lost control of his right hand, and injured his right hand and wrist. He immediately informed Supervisor Paul Chobanian, and on the following Monday, March 24, 2003, he reported it to Manpower Branch Manager Melody Curd. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.49:17-58:23-25). Ms. Curd promptly filed a workers' compensation for plaintiff and he began receiving benefits. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.56:4-21).

On March 24, 2003, plaintiff could work with his left arm only. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.58:16-59:7). Thereafter, from March 25, 2003, to April 3, 2003, plaintiff worked light duty in Manpower's Mt. Vernon office. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.60:21-61:93). At this time, Don Gass, General Tire's Personnel Manager, called Manpower to obtain another employee to fill the temporary position that plaintiff had been occupying. General Tire obtained another employee and plaintiff's temporary position was filled. (Doc. 45, Exh. C., Gass Dep., pp.58:14-24, 59:20-25; Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.71:1-4; Exh. B, Curd Dep. p.63:1-6).

After April 3, 2003, plaintiff stopped doing light duty work because his doctor did not want him driving a vehicle with a manual transmission. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.61:8-12). As such, plaintiff did not have transportation to Manpower's office. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.61:13-18). Plaintiff was then placed on temporary total disability. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.61:19-21).

On June 4, 2003, plaintiff's doctor released him to drive a stick shift vehicle so he returned to light duty in Manpower's offices. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.61:22-63:9). On June 25, 2003, plaintiff was released for full duty. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.66:8-10). At this point, plaintiff had been unavailable for regular assignments through Manpower for three months. Approximately two weeks before he was released for full duty, plaintiff contacted Don Gass, to discuss his return to work. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.70:11-71:4). Mr. Gass informed plaintiff that he had been released to Manpower for general assignment and that his services were no longer needed. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.70:11-71:4). Manpower then informed plaintiff that he was still eligible for employment through Manpower, and he would need to call Manpower to obtain assignments. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.83:5-15, Exh. B., Curd Dep., pp. 33:3-4, 62:22-25). Shortly thereafter, plaintiff called Melody Curd to find out why he could not return to General Tire, and Ms. Curd refused to give him a reason. (Doc. 50, Exh. E, Sadler Dep., p.82:17-23).

After June 25, 2003, plaintiff states that he called Manpower a couple of times for assignments. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.90:13-91:8). On several occasions beginning August 2004, Manpower called plaintiff for assignments, but as of September 8, 2003, plaintiff had found a job at F.B. McAfoos. (Doc. 45, Exh. B., Curd Dep., pp.43:24-45:16; p.39:22-23). No one ever told plaintiff that his employment with Manpower had been terminated, and as of this date, plaintiff remains eligible for job assignments through Manpower. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.98:4-9).

Plaintiff admits that Manpower informed him that Manpower does not hold temporary positions open for employees who get hurt, and that General Tire had to fill plaintiff's temporary assignment during his medical leave. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., pp.66:3-7, 88:22-89:9). Plaintiff further admits that no one at Manpower or General Tire ever made a negative comment about filing a workers' compensation claim or getting hurt on the job. (Doc. 45, Exh. A, Sadler Dep., p.62:20-64:6).

General Tire had never permanently hired plaintiff, nor had it placed him on their payroll. (Doc. 44, Exh. E, Gass Aff., pp.1-2). At all times, plaintiff was paid by Manpower as a temporary employee on assignment at General Tire. (Doc. 44, Exh. E, Gass Aff., pp.1-2). Plaintiff's medical bills were paid by ...


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