Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 01-20-2024

Case Style:

Henry Beverly v. Abbott Laboratories

Case Number: 1:17-cv-05590

Judge: Sara L. Ellis

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Cook County)

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Click Here For The Best Chicago Employment Law Lawyer Directory

Defendant's Attorney: Chicago, Illinois employment law lawyer represented the Defendant.

Description: Chicago, Illinois employment law lawyers represented the Plaintiff who sued the Defendant on a Family and Medical Leave Act violation theory.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Plaintiff Henry Beverly, an African American military veteran born in 1965, gradually saw his responsibilities at Defendant Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott") reduced, leading him to request an unprotected leave of absence. After Beverly requested a third extension of that leave, Abbott terminated his employment. Beverly then filed suit against Abbott and his direct supervisor, Victoria Luo. In his second amended complaint, he brings claims against Abbott for interference with and retaliation for the exercise of his rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (Counts I and II); race discrimination in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA"), 775 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-101 et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Counts III and VI); age discrimination in violation of the IHRA (count IV); retaliation in violation of the IHRA and § 1981 (Counts V and VII); discrimination on the basis of past military service in violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ("USERRA"), 38 U.S.C. § 4301 et seq. (Count IX); and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count VIII). Beverly also claims that Abbott and Luo committed defamation (Count X) and that Luo tortiously interfered with his continued employment at Abbott (Count XI). Abbott and Luo have moved for summary judgment on all of Beverly's claims, and Beverly has moved for summary judgment solely on the tortious interference claim.

The Court grants in part and denies in part Abbott and Luo's motion and denies Beverly's motion. Considering his discrimination claims together, Beverly has not established a genuine issue of fact with respect to his termination, but he may proceed on whether his race, age, or military service caused Abbott to materially reduce his responsibilities prior to his termination. Similarly, Beverly's retaliation claims with respect to his termination fail, but those connected to the reduction in responsibilities may proceed. Because a question of fact surrounds the timing of Abbott's termination decision and Beverly's stated intention to take FMLA leave, his FMLA claims must proceed to trial. Beverly's defamation claim also survives summary judgment because a question of fact exists as to whether Luo acted with actual malice in reporting that Beverly had a history of lying after his termination. But because he has not shown a dispute to overcome Luo's qualified privilege for actions leading up to his termination or that he had a reasonable expectancy of continued employment, the Court grants summary judgment for Luo on the tortious interference claim. Finally, Beverly's breach of contract claim fails because Abbott's actions in terminating his contract accorded with the parties' reasonable expectations.

Outcome: Judgment in favor of Defendant.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


Find a Lawyer


Find a Case