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Stokes v. John Deere Seeding Group

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division

March 5, 2014

BETH A. STOKES, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DEERE SEEDING GROUP, a subsidiary of DEERE & COMPANY a/k/a JOHN DEERE COMPANY; and JIM GUNNISON, Defendants.

ORDER

SARA DARROW, District Judge.

In Count II of her Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 47, Plaintiff Beth A. Stokes ("Stokes") alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress ("IIED") by Defendant John Deere Seeding Group ("Deere"). Deere has moved to dismiss Count II for failure to state a claim and to strike Stokes's characterization in her Response to Deere's Motion to Dismiss Count II, ECF No. 51, of Deere employee Teri Graves as "managerial level." For the following reasons, Defendant Deere's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 48, is GRANTED, and its Motion to Strike Erroneous Assertion Contained in Plaintiff's Response, ECF No. 52, is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

Stokes has worked for Deere since 1973. Starting in 2008, she endured 12 alleged incidents of intentional misconduct by a now retired co-worker, Defendant Jim Gunnison ("Gunnison"), which Deere failed to investigate or respond to despite Stokes's many complaints. Second Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-4, ECF No. 47.

I. The Twelve Alleged Instances of Misconduct

Stokes alleges the following twelve instances of misconduct:

The Slander Incident: Between September 1, 2008, and March 1, 2009, Gunnison gave false and negative reports to co-workers and supervisors about Stokes's work performance. Id. ¶ 19.

The Throwing Keys Incident: Around February 1, 2009, Gunnison threw a set of keys at Stokes, which struck her chest and caused her pain. Id. ¶ 20.

The Spitting and Cursing Incident: Around March 13, 2009, in response to a work-related question, Gunnison screamed at Stokes in close proximity to her face, spit on her, and yelled, "You are going to pay for this!" Stokes feared for her safety and pushed Gunnison away in self-defense. Id. ¶ 21.

The Picture Incident: On April 6, 2009, after returning to work from a suspension (allegedly received for pushing Gunnison away in self-defense), Stokes found twenty-five pictures of Gunnison wallpapered over her workspace. Id. ¶ 22.

The Blocking Incidents: On multiple occasions during November 2009, Gunnison blocked the exit door, which Stokes frequently needed to use to do her job. Id. ¶ 24.

The Planter Incident: On December 14, 2010, Gunnison violated Deere safety standards by purposely operating a planter while Stokes was inside the machine's "arms" without telling Stokes or honking the horn. Id. ¶¶ 25-26.

The Right Heel Incident: On January 6, 2011, Gunnison rode over Stokes's heel with his bicycle, ...


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