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Pawlick v. Lawson Products

October 19, 2012

PAWLICK
v.
LAWSON PRODUCTS, INC.



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Judge James B. Zagel than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT:

The motion to dismiss Count I of the amended complaint [14] is GRANTED, with prejudice. I decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Count II, a state law claim between undiverse parties. Count II is therefore DISMISSED without prejudice.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Joseph L. Pawlick filed a complaint against his former employer, Lawson Products, for age discrimination and contract reformation. Count I comes under the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), while Count II is the state law contract claim. Defendant has moved to have Count I dismissed for failure to timely file an EEOC charge or in the alternative to have certain of the supporting allegations of Count I stricken. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

Additionally, any exercise of the supplemental jurisdiction for the remaining state law claim would be inappropriate for a case that is so far from trial. Count II, therefore, is dismissed without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

According to the allegations of the amended complaint (which for purposes of this motion are taken as true) Joseph Pawlick worked for Lawson products for thirty-seven years. In 2007, Pawlick entered into a contract, the purpose of which was to compensate him in exchange for his premature and involuntary retirement from the company. The lead-up to the contract was that sometime in 2006, the Chairman of Lawson Products, Robert Washlow, asked Pawlick how long he planned to continue working at the company. Pawlick told Washlow that his plan was to work for roughly six more years. Pawlick was sixty-four at the time, so the six years would take him out to the age of 70.

Following up on this conversation early in 2007, Washlow told Pawlick that the six years was "not going to happen." Other than saying this, Washlow provided no justification for saying that Pawlick couldn't stay on for the six years. Pawlick was an excellent employee, so the only possible explanation (again, according to the complaint) was age discrimination.

On March 15, 2007, Pawlick entered into a written agreement -- the aforementioned contract -- that set out the scope of his remaining employment, the terms of his compensation, and a formal retirement date. It did not provide for a release of any claims.

Under the contract, Pawlick was to continue to work full time through the end of 2007. Then, for the period of January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009, Pawlick was to cease working full time but be available as a consultant. December 31, 2009 was designated as the effective date of his full retirement.

The contract provided compensation that the amended complaint summarizes as:

(a) salary; (b) continuation of group insurance (medical, dental, vision, optional life) at the then applicable employee rates; (c) participation in Defendant's profit-sharing plan (d) profit-sharing contributions granted by Defendant for 2008 and 2009; (e) participation in Defendant's executive deferral plan; and (f) for a period of five (5) years beginning on the "Retirement Date" under the Contract (i.e., Mr. Pawlick's termination date of December 31, 2009) or until 2014, continuation of group insurance (medical, dental, vision) at the then current employee rates.

The complaint alleges that Defendant has not honored the contract in two major ways. First, Pawlick alleges that Lawson Products did not pay out under the profit-sharing plan in either 2008 or 2009. Second, Pawlick alleges that on December 22, 2010, Lawson Products sent him a letter informing him that he ...


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