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Copprue v. Spirit Airlines

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION


September 5, 2006

STEPHEN COPPRUE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPIRIT AIRLINES, INC., DEFENDANT.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Spirit Airlines, Inc. ("Spirit") has filed its Answer to the Complaint brought against it by Stephen Copprue ("Copprue"), who seeks to recover for personal injuries sustained while working on a Spirit-owned aircraft at O'Hare Airport. This memorandum order is issued sua sponte to require the parties to address Spirit's Fourth Affirmative Defense ("AD 4") on a priority basis.

Copprue's Complaint ¶15 alleges that he was not a Spirit employee at the time that he sustained his injuries, an allegation as to which Spirit has asserted not a denial, but rather a disclaimer conforming to the language of the second sentence of Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(b). But Spirit then asserts in AD 4 that Copprue's claims are barred pursuant to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act, a defense that is necessarily based on the premise that Copprue was indeed a Spirit employee.

Because AD 4 is potentially dispositive of this action (workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee's injuries sustained in the course of his or her employment), the issue that it poses should be addressed first by the parties. In addition to focusing their initial discovery on that issue, counsel for the parties are also expected to apprise this Court at the initial status hearing whether they believe the issue is susceptible to resolution by this Court as a matter of law.

20060905

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