United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
KENNETH BUIE, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of HELENA BUIE, Plaintiff,
MAUL EXCAVATING, INC., DANIEL MAUL, Individually and as President of MAUL EXCAVATING, INC., and UNKNOWN DEFENDANTS, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE United States District Judge.
Kenneth Buie originally filed suit against Defendants Maul
Excavating, Inc. and Daniel Maul in the Circuit Court of the
Third Judicial Circuit, Madison County, Illinois asserting
two counts of tortious interference with a contract (Doc.
1-3). Defendants successfully removed the matter to this
Court pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 1001, et seq.
(“ERISA”). Now pending before the Court is
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 9). For the following
reasons, the motion is DENIED.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants hired him
through the Carpenters' Union. Pursuant to a contract
between Plaintiff and the Carpenters' Union, a portion of
Plaintiff's wages were to be withheld by Defendants for
Plaintiff's health insurance, which was to cover
Plaintiff and his wife. However, after Plaintiff began
working for Defendants, his wife was denied medical treatment
and testing due to Defendants' failure to pay funds
withheld from Plaintiff's wages to the Carpenters'
Union. Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendants'
failure to pay the funds to the union, his wife did not
receive the medical testing she needed and passed away.
Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants breach their
fiduciary duty by failing to timely and adequately make
payments to the Carpenters' Union on Plaintiff's
behalf. Plaintiff asserts that his wife's death was a
direct and proximate cause of Defendants' breach of
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court accepts as true
all facts alleged in the Complaint and construes all
reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Savory
v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006). In order to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a Complaint
must contain a “short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Detailed factual
allegations” are not required, but the plaintiff must
allege facts that when “accepted as true ... state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937.
contend that Plaintiff's claim should be dismissed for
failure to properly plead state law tortious interference
claims. To state a viable claim for tortious interference
with a contract, a plaintiff must plead (1) the existence of
a valid and enforceable contract between the plaintiff and a
third party, (2) that the defendant was aware of the
contract, (3) that the defendant intentionally and
unjustifiably induced a breach of the contract, (4) that the
wrongful conduct of the defendant caused a subsequent breach
of the contract by the third party, and (5) that the
plaintiff was damaged as a result. Bank Financial, FSB v.
Brandwein, 36 N.E.3d 421, 430 (1st Dist. 2015).
Court previously held that, although couched as tortious
interference claims, Plaintiff's claims are really claims
under ERISA, alleging the denial of benefits due to
Defendants' interference with his Union Plan
(see Doc. 22). However, even though ERISA preempts
the state-law version of Plaintiff's tortious
interference claims, this Court must determine whether ERISA
itself permits Plaintiff to bring an ERISA-based tortious
interference claim. See McDonald v. Household Int'l,
Inc., 425 F.3d 424, 428 (7th Cir. 2005).
Plaintiff has properly pleaded his claims. Drawing all
inferences in Plaintiff's favor, his allegations are
sufficient to meet Rule 8's liberal pleading
requirements. Dismissal for failure to state a claim is
proper only if the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of his claims which would entitle him to relief.
Although not specifically pled as ERISA claims,
Plaintiff's allegations suggest that he has a right to
relief under the civil enforcement provision of ERISA, §
502(a), 29 U.S.C. § 1132(a). Thus, dismissal is not
required. See McDonald, 425 F.3d at 428 (finding
error in the district court's decision that preemption
under ERISA means that the complaint must be dismissed or
amended). “The real question [is] whether relief [is]
possible based on any legal theory-ERISA included-under any
set of facts that could be established consistent with the
allegations.” Id. The Court finds that there
are sufficient factual allegations in Plaintiff's
Complaint to allow his claims to proceed against the
Defendants. Accordingly, Defendants' motion to dismiss is