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Dargo v. Clear Channel Communications

May 28, 2008

KASSIE DARGO (A/K/A KASSIE BANISTER), PLAINTIFF ,
v.
CLEAR CHANNEL COMMUNICATIONS, INCORPORATED, DEFENDANT .



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Virginia M. Kendall, United States District Judge Northern District of Illinois

Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Kassie Dargo (a/k/a Kassie Banister) ("Dargo") brought suit against Defendant Clear Channel Communications, Incorporated ("Clear Channel") in the Circuit Court of Cook County alleging Promissory Estoppel, Intentional Misrepresentation, Negligent Misrepresentation, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress. Clear Channel removed the case to this Court based on diversity jurisdiction. Clear Channel then moved to dismiss Dargo's Complaint.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

At the time the incidents leading to this suit occurred, Dargo had worked as an on-air radio personality for eight years and was working in a sales position at WLUP-FM in Chicago, Illinois. Cmplt. at 5-6. Rob Morris, Program Director of radio station KDWB in Minneapolis, Minnesota ("Morris") contacted Dargo in March of 2007 and began to recruit her for a morning co-host position. Id. at 6.

Dargo and Morris engaged in extensive negotiations in March of 2007. Id. at 7. During the negotiations, Dargo told Morris that she would require an increase in compensation to induce her to leave Chicago. Id. at 8. Morris repeatedly promised Dargo that Clear Channel would provide her with a two-year employment contract. Id. at 9.

In April of 2007, Dargo and Clear Channel agreed upon a two-year contract with a base salary of $60,000 for her first year and a base salary of $63,000 for her second year with the opportunity to earn additional income through promotional appearances. Id. at 10. Morris sent an offer letter to Dargo via email on April 18, 2007. Id. at 11. Morris stated in that email that the agreed upon two-year employment contract would be forthcoming within a month. Id. at 12.

In reliance upon the promise of higher pay and a two-year contract, Dargo resigned her position at WLUP-FM and relocated from Chicago to Minneapolis where she signed a one-year lease for housing. Id. at 27. During her employment at KDWB, she received no negative performance feedback but rather was reassured that everything was going well. Id. at 15-16.

Dargo repeatedly inquired about the status of her two-year contract, and Morris repeatedly told her that the contract was being drafted and would be ready shortly. Id. at 17. Specifically, after becoming concerned by the fact that she still had not received her contract in June of 2007, Dargo spoke to Morris, who assured her that everything was going well and that the contract would be delivered in a day or two. Id. at 19.

However, Morris met with Dargo on June 19, 2007 and terminated her employment effective immediately. Id. at 20. At this time, she learned that Clear Channel never intended to enter into a two-year contract with her and that she actually never had a position at KDWB. Id. at 21, 32. Defendant actually wanted to audition Dargo for a potential position but knowing that she would not agree to relocate without a guarantee of permanent employment, induced her with the promise of a two-year contract. Id. Morris and Clear Channel had no intention to provide such a contract. Id.

Since Dargo had no contacts in Minneapolis, she relocated to Chicago at her own expense. Id. at 24. Clear Channel informed trade publications that she was returning to Chicago for "personal reasons," knowing that this was false. Id. at 22. This damaged Dargo's reputation and caused her difficulty in finding a new job. Id. at 23.*fn1

STANDARD

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not allege all facts involved in the claim. See Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). However, in order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the claim must be supported by facts that, if taken as true, at least plausibly suggest that the plaintiff is entitled ...


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