Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
THOMAS S. McCLEARY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
WELLS FARGO SECURITIES, L.L.C., Defendant-Appellee
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 13 L 9097. Honorable Sanjay T. Tailor, Judge Presiding.
DeGrand & Wolfe, P.C., of Chicago (Thomas S. McCleary, of counsel), for appellant.
DLA Piper LLP, of Chicago (Rachel B. Cowen, of counsel), for appellee.
JUSTICE PIERCE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Simon and Justice Neville concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Plaintiff, Thomas McCleary, appeals the dismissal of his amended complaint
under section 2-615 of the Code of Civil Procedure (Code) (735 ILCS 5/2-615 (West 2012)). McCleary's amended complaint alleged claims for breach of contract, violation of the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (Act) (820 ILCS 115/2 (West 2012)) and unjust enrichment. We find plaintiff's amended complaint pled sufficient facts that, if proven, would entitle him to relief. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and remand the cause for further proceedings.
[¶3] Plaintiff's complaint against his former employer, defendant Wells Fargo Securities, L.L.C., seeks payment of an earned bonus he reasonably expected that defendant awarded to similarly situated employees. Defendant moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to section 2-615 of the Code arguing that, pursuant to its bonus plan, it had full discretion to deny plaintiff a bonus and that plaintiff had not pursued all internal procedures to dispute defendant's decision. The circuit court allowed the parties to conduct limited discovery related to the motion to dismiss. Thereafter, with leave of court, plaintiff filed an amended complaint. We restate the following factual allegations that are relevant to the issues on appeal.
[¶4] In October 2010 plaintiff was hired by defendant as a director of sales. As part of his compensation, he was eligible to participate in the " Wells Fargo Securities Group Bonus Plan" (Plan). In July 2012, his job was eliminated for reasons unrelated to his performance. There is no dispute that his termination did not affect his eligibility under the Plan.
[¶5] The Plan's stated purpose was to, inter alia, " attract, retain, motivate and reward eligible team members ('Participants') for their successful efforts and significant contributions" to the achievement of defendant's annual financial goals and to ensure that participants comply with " all rules, laws, regulations and procedures" applicable to their job and " strive[ ] to appropriately reward [p]articipants for their achievements." Other than Plan participants, " [n]o other individual shall have rights to incentive compensation under this Plan." In order to qualify for a bonus under the Plan, certain factors existed and participants had to satisfy stated job-related factors. These factors included: achievement of corporate and practice group financial goals, a participant's performance ratings, compliance with the terms of the Plan, and execution of a trade secret agreement. The Plan was effective through December 31, 2012 and the participant was required to be employed on the date of the bonus payment, unless the participant's employment was terminated in a qualifying event. A participant " whose employment was terminated prior to the end of the Performance Period, due to a qualifying event *** may be considered for a prorated award" if the participant " (1) performed services in an eligible position for at least three calendar months during the Performance Period and (2) met some [or] all of his/her performance objectives." The Plan further provided that the notice period in the " Salary Continuation Pay Plan" would be included in determining whether services were performed " for at least three calendar months during the [p]erformance [p]eriod." Incentive goals and incentive opportunity would " generally be pro-rated."
[¶6] Once the plan administrator was authorized by corporate management ...