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Curtis A. Smith v. Illinois Association of School Boards

March 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge:


Now before the Court are Illinois Association of School Boards' motion to bar plaintiff's damages computations (Doc. 118) and a motion in limine to preclude plaintiff from testifying as to damage computations (Doc. 119).*fn1 Plaintiff opposes the motions (Docs 136 & 137). Based on the following, the Court denies the motions. Before addressing the merits of the motions, the Court finds that it is necessary to set forth the discovery process as to damages. The following events relate to the discovery process on damages as presented by the parties' briefs.

On June 17, 2010, plaintiff served his Rule 26(a)(1) initial disclosures. The portion regarding damages states:

"Plaintiff seeks backpay; liquidated damages; punitive damages; placement into the position of Superintendent or, in the alternative, front pay, attorneys' fees; costs; and the injunctive relief described in his Complaint.

Plaintiff's calculation of lost income, i.e. back and front pay is attached." Thereafter, on July 29, 2010, plaintiff responded to a request of production with documents C. SMITH 28- 36. These documents are Smith's W-2s from the years 2008 and 2009, pay statements from SIUE, Smith's explanation of retirement benefits - SURS v. TRS and a SURS benefit estimator form prepared by Smith, a TIAA CREF quarterly retirement portfolio statement from April 2010 to June 2010 and a July 2010 portfolio statement from Smith's Fidelity retirement account. On August 19, 2010, defendants deposed plaintiff. During the deposition, IASB's counsel asked Smith questions about his knowledge of retirement benefits and referred to documents C. SMITH 31-36 when questioning plaintiff.

On January 12, 2011, plaintiff served a copy of his First Supplemental disclosures that included documents C. SMITH 84-84. These documents reflect the creditable earnings of Michael Sutton, Jeffrey Fritchtnitch and James Briscoe. On February 25, 2011, defendants again deposed plaintiff. During this deposition, no questions were asked about damages.

On April 1, 2011 at 12:25 p.m., IASB's counsel wrote an email to plaintiff's counsel stating:

"I have agreed to give you an additional two weeks on the discovery supplement that was due on 3/28, in lieu, apparently, of an expert's report. That date will be 4/11. That is fine and I agreed to it. However, we need to have an arrangement that, depending on what you produce, that I may have to issue you some additional discovery either in the form of interrogatories or production request. Depending on what you produce, I will probably be able to issue something within 7-10 days, and you would have to respond rather quickly if you have the information, probably 7-10 days thereafter.

Can we have such an agreement? Keeping in mind that, as I suspect, this will involve exchanges of information on the issue of damages rather than on the issue with liability, and as such, supplemental exchanges as I believe may be necessary will not interfere with the 6/23 MSJ due date. So, please confirm that you are ok with this. Thanks."

In response, plaintiff's counsel stated that she is "ok with it." Thereafter on April 4, 2011, plaintiff's counsel wrote the following email that contained an attachment:

"Everyone, here are the calculations that Curt Smith has performed supporting his claim for damages. I believe they are self-explanatory, but will be glad to answer specific questions."

The attachment contained a copy of Smith's spreadsheet calculations. Another round of emails were exchanged regarding the format of the attachment. In the last email, plaintiff's counsel wrote: "It's the .xls file I got from Curt. Open when you get to the office to make sure."

On April 8, 2011, plaintiff supplemented its disclosures again with documents

C. SMITH 156-162. These documents are the spreadsheet information previously provided to defense counsel in the April 4, 2011 email. On May 17, 2011, plaintiff served its third supplemental disclosures that included documents C. Smith 163-176. These documents are "The School District Financial Profile" of the Illinois State Board of Education, emails between plaintiff and ...

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