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Wilder Corp. of Delaware v. Thompson Drainage and Levee District

May 13, 2010

WILDER CORPORATION OF DELAWARE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THOMPSON DRAINAGE AND LEVEE DISTRICT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael M. Mihm United States District Judge

ORDER

This matter is now before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#5] is GRANTED.

JURISDICTION

The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332, as the parties are of diverse citizenship and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00.

BACKGROUND*fn1

In 2006, the Nature Conservancy (the "Conservancy") filed a complaint in state court against Plaintiff, Wilder Corporation of Delaware ("Wilder"), alleging breaches of various agreements related to the Conservancy's purchase of certain land in Fulton County, Illinois, from Wilder. The matter was subsequently removed to this Court. In 2008, the Conservancy filed an Amended Complaint in that litigation alleging that there was additional contamination in an area south of the pump house on the property that had been operated by Defendant, Thompson Drainage and Levee District (the "District"). In July 2009, Wilder sought leave to file a third party complaint against the District based on its contention that this contamination was caused by the District, which was denied as untimely.

Wilder persists in this contention and has now filed this Complaint against the District alleging breach of the Drainage Code, 70 ILCS 605/4-15, trespass, and a claim for contribution/indemnification. The District has moved to dismiss the Complaint as barred by the statute of limitations and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The Motion to Dismiss is fully briefed, and this Order follows.

DISCUSSION

Courts have traditionally held that a complaint should not be dismissed unless it appears from the pleadings that the plaintiff could prove no set of facts in support of her claim which would entitle her to relief. See Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957); Gould v. Artisoft, Inc., 1 F.3d 544, 548 (7th Cir. 1993). Rather, a complaint should be construed broadly and liberally in conformity with the mandate in Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 8(f). More recently, the Supreme Court has phrased this standard as requiring a showing sufficient "to raise a right to relief beyond a speculative level." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007). Furthermore, the claim for relief must be "plausible on its face." Id.; Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1953 (2009).

For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the complaint is construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff; its well-pleaded factual allegations are taken as true, and all reasonably-drawn inferences are drawn in favor of the plaintiff. See Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69 (1984); Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467 (7th Cir. 1997); M.C.M. Partners, Inc. V. Andrews-Bartlett & Assoc., Inc., 62 F.3d 967, 969 (7th Cir. 1995); Early v. Bankers Life & Cas. Co., 959 F.2d 75 (7th Cir. 1992).

I. Statute of Limitations

The District first seeks dismissal of the claims for violation of the Drainage Code and trespass as barred by the statute of limitations. Specifically, the District maintains that under the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act, 745 ILCS 10/1-101 et seq., there is a one-year statute of limitations on all civil actions.

No civil action . . . may be commenced in any court against a local entity or any of its employees for any injury unless it is commenced within one year from the date that the injury was received or the cause of action accrued. 745 ILCS 10/8-101(a). This one-year limitations period is intended to apply broadly and to control any other potentially applicable limitations period. Paszkowski v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, 213 Ill.2d 1, 13 (Ill. 2004).

Based on the allegations of the Complaint, the District argues, Wilder was on notice that it was being sued for contamination in an area south of the pump house on the property that had been operated by the District no later than February 2, 2008. As Wilder has had no possessory interest in the property since 2002, the District argues that any injury and therefore any claim against it had to have been brought prior to 2003. Even assuming that the discovery rule could be applied in this case, the District asserts that Wilder's Complaint must have been filed no later than February 2, 2009, in order to be timely based on the knowledge that Wilder obtained on February 2, 2008. As the ...


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