United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JOSEPH J. BLAZEK, Plaintiff,
ADT SECURITY, LLC, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
D. LEINENWEBER, JUDGE
ADT Security LLC moves to dismiss Plaintiff Joseph
Blazek's Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 21). For the reasons
stated herein, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. No.
23) is granted in part and denied in part.
Court previously ruled on a Motion to Dismiss in Blazek
v. ADT Security LLC, 2019 WL 2297317 (N.D. Ill. May 30,
2019) (granting in part and denying in part Defendant's
first Motion to Dismiss). Blazek served as an ADT Security
Technician for about forty-five years. Id. at *1.
This case arises from an incident in the ADT Security's
employee parking lot, where Blazek tripped in a pothole and
injured both his arm and knee. Id. at *1. In his
original Complaint, Blazek asserted the following claims: (1)
denial of worker's compensation under the Illinois
Workers Compensation Act; (2) breach of contract for
severance pay under a collective bargaining agreement; (3) a
violation of the Illinois Whistleblower Act; (4) age
discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
of 1967 (“ADEA”); (5) disability discrimination
under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”); and (6) a violation of the Illinois
Personnel Records Review Act (“IPRRA”).
Id. The Court previously dismissed all of
Blazek's claims except his claim of age discrimination
under the ADEA and his claim under the IPRRA. Id. at
subsequently filed an Amended Complaint. Blazek's factual
allegations remain largely the same. In his Amended
Complaint, Blazek brings claims under the ADEA, the IPRAA,
the Illinois Workers Compensation Act, 820 ILCS 305/1, et
seq., the Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 ILCS 174/1,
et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. Defendant moves to
dismiss Blazek's Illinois Workers Compensation Act,
Illinois Whistleblower Act, and Americans with Disabilities
Act claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
12(b)(6) motion to dismiss challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. Christensen v. Cty. of Boone, 483 F.3d
454, 457 (7th Cir. 2007). To overcome a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.” Adams v.
City of Indianapolis, 742 F.3d 720, 728 (7th Cir. 2014)
(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
570 (2007)). A claim has facial plausibility “when the
pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). When considering a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the
Court must “accept as true all well-pleaded facts
alleged, and draw all possible inferences in [the
plaintiff's] favor.” Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir. 2008).
Illinois Workers Compensation Act
had a pending claim for Temporary Total Disability
(“TTD”) with the IWCC when the Court issued its
previous decision. Blazek, 2019 WL 2297317, at *1.
The Illinois Workers Compensation Act provides an
administrative remedy for employee injuries “arising
out of and in the course of the[ir] employment.” 820
ILCS 305/11. The statute abrogates liability for all common
law negligence claims through its two exclusivity provisions.
Baylay v. Etihad Airways P.J.S.C., 222 F.Supp.3d
698, 702 (N.D. Ill. 2016) (citation omitted). These
exclusivity provisions prevent employees from receiving
double compensation for workplace injuries. See Id.
at 702 (collecting cases). Subject to these exclusivity
provisions, the Court dismissed Blazek's workers
compensation claim because the Court could not hear the claim
while it was pending before the IWCC. Blazek, 2019
WL 2297317, at *2. In his Amended Complaint, Blazek states
that the IWCC has since denied his TTD claim. Blazek asserts
he has exhausted all administrative remedies and now seeks
judicial review of the IWCC's denial of TTD benefits.
workers' compensation proceedings, courts exercise
“special statutory jurisdiction” and strict
compliance with the statute is required to vest the court
with subject-matter jurisdiction. Conway v. Illinois
Workers' Compensation Commission, 2019 IL App (4th)
180285WC, ¶ 12. The relevant statute dictates detailed
procedure that must be followed in order for a court to have
jurisdiction to review a workers' compensation
proceeding. These procedures include filing suit within 20
days of receipt of notice of the IWCC's decision,
providing the clerk of the reviewing court a written request
for a summons and filing “with the Commission notice of
intent to file for review.” 820 ILCS 305/19(f)(1).
does not claim to have done any of these things in his
Amended Complaint. Because these procedures are required for
jurisdiction to vest, failure to follow them is fatal to the
claim. Accordingly, Blazek's claim under the Illinois
Workers Compensation Act is dismissed without prejudice.
However, the Court recognizes that Blazek may have taken the
appropriate steps even if he failed to allege as much in his
Amended Complaint. The Court will grant Blazek one final
opportunity to amend his Complaint to state an IWCA claim; in
his amended pleadings, Blazek must explain how he followed
the steps necessary to vest this Court with jurisdiction over
his appeal. Blazek may file an Amended Complaint within
thirty (30) days.
Illinois Whistleblower Act
brings a claim under the Illinois Whistleblower Act
(“IWA”), 740 ILCS 174/1, et seq. The IWA
protects employees who disclose information about suspected
wrongdoing to a government agency. Larsen v. Proven
Hops., 27 N.E. 3d 1033, 1043 (Ill.App.Ct. 2015). To
bring an IWA claim, a plaintiff must allege that (1) he
reported information to a government agency; (2) about
activity he reasonably believed to be unlawful; and (3)
suffered an adverse action by his employer because of that
disclosure. See Sweeney v. City of Decatur, 79 N.E.
3d 184, 188 (Ill.App.Ct. 2017). The Court previously
dismissed Blazek's IWA claim because Blazek's
disclosure to a government agency “occurred after the
alleged adverse employment action.” Blazek,
2019 WL 2297317, at *3. Plaintiff previously mentioned
“two disclosures: one to the Illinois Department on