In Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc., No. 14-3653, December 17, 2015, 7th Circuit, CVS fired a store manager and offered her a severance agreement which she signed. The agreement included a broad release of waivable claims relating to her employment, including claims under Title VII. The agreement expressly carved out the manager’s right to participate in a proceeding with any appropriate federal, state or local government agency enforcing discrimination laws. One month after signing the agreement, the manager filed a charge with the EEOC alleging that CVS fired her because of her race and sex. After CVS sent a copy of the severance agreement to the EEOC, the EEOC sent CVS a letter stating it had reasonable cause to believe CVS is engaged in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of the rights secured by Title VII. The EEOC contended the severance agreement was unenforceable. A short time later the EEOC dismissed the manager’s discrimination charge. CVS asked the EEOC to comply with the pre-suit conciliation procedures contained in Section 706 of Title VII. The EEOC responded it was not required to engage in conciliation because it was proceeding under Section 707(a) and was not bound by the pre-suit conciliation requirements contained in Section 706.
Archives for December 2015
The Appellate Court for the First District has found that conviction of perjury and obstruction of justice in a murder case are not necessarily bars to inheriting form the murder victim.
Darota Chaban married William Chaban in Las Vegas on June 9, 2007. When they returned to Chicago on June 13, 2007 and informed Darota’s mother Irene of their marriage, Irene was initially upset. On June 18, 2007, Irene was discovered dead by Darota and William at Irene’s condominium. Irene was last seen on Friday, June 15 at her place of employment. Darota told the police and a grand jury she had not been at her mother’s condominium on June 15 or the rest of the weekend, she was never in the condominium on June 15 and she was with William most of the day. After being confronted with phone records placing her in the condominium on Friday, Darota admitted she had lied and claimed she was following William’s instruction. Darota was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. William was charged and convicted of first degree murder of Irene and sentenced to 45 years in prison. Darota filed a petition to probate Irene’s will and the court appointed her administrator of the estate. Darota later resigned and the trial court appointed the Administrator. The Administrator argued Darota was barred from inheriting her mother’s estate by 755 ILCS 5/2-6 (“Slayer Statute”) and provides, in pertinent part:
Can suicide be the basis for a wrongful death case? Rarely says the Illinois Supreme Court. It almost always will be a superseding, intervening act ending causation.
Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action following her husband’s suicide. In this particular case, the plaintiffs were less than clear about the “injury” that precipitated the decedent’s death. Although the survival count was predicated on the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the wrongful death count itself does not identify any injury to decedent that caused his death or identify on what legal theory defendant’s conduct was “wrongful”. In a conclusory fashion, the complaint stated only that “as a result of the wrongful acts of defendants described above, the decedent committed suicide.”
The general rule, applicable in negligence actions, is that the injured party’s voluntary act of suicide is an independent intervening act which is unforeseeable as a matter of law and which breaks the chain of causation from the tortfeasor’s negligent conduct. The Illinois Supreme Court agreed, holding it was a rare case in which a suicide would not break the chain of causation and bar a cause of action for wrongful death, even where the plaintiff alleges the defendant inflicted severe emotional distress. As a matter of law, decedent’s suicide was not a reasonably foreseeable result of the defendant’s alleged conduct and the wrongful death count was dismissed. Turcios v. DeBruler Co., 2015 IL 117962, 32 N.E.3d 1117.