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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

BARNETT v. COMBINED INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA et al Complaint

ATTENTION: It is possible that this information may no longer be current and therefore may be inaccurate. The index contains both open and closed cases and is not a complete list of cases in which an ACE Insurance Group company is involved. This information is provided to give interested persons an idea of the issues disputed in the indexed cases. For a full understanding of a case, one should read the rest of the court file, including the response. For the most up-to-date and complete information on a case, visit www.pacer.gov or contact the clerk of the relevant court.

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Case 3:12-cv-01279-MJR-SCW Document 2
Filed 12/26/12 Page 1 of 5 Page ID #3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EAST ST. LOUIS DIVISION ELGIN BARNETT, ) ) Plaintiff, ) ) v. ) CAUSE NO. 3:12-cv-1279-MJR-SCW ) COMBINED INSURANCE COMPANY ) OF AMERICA, and DEREK JONES, ) in his Individual Capacity, ) ) Defendants. ) COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES and DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL Plaintiff, Elgin Barnett, by counsel, for his Complaint for Damages and Demand for Trial by Jury, states as follows: I. INTRODUCTION This is an action brought by Plaintiff against Combined Insurance Company of America (“Combined”) for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. In addition, Plaintiff brings this action against Combined and Derek Jones (“Jones”) under Illinois common law for libel per se, tortious interference with contract, and respondeat superior. II. PARTIES 1. At all times relevant to this litigation, Plaintiff resides within the State of Missouri
and previously worked for Defendant within the geographical boundaries of the Southern District of Illinois. 2. At all times relevant to this litigation, Combined is a for-profit foreign corporation
headquartered in the State of Illinois which conducts business within the geographical boundaries of the Southern District of Illinois.
Case 3:12-cv-01279-MJR-SCW Document 2
Filed 12/26/12 Page 2 of 5 Page ID #4
3.
At all times relevant to this litigation, Jones resides within the geographical
boundaries of the Southern District of Illinois. III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 4. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e-5, 28 U.S.C. Sec.
1331, and 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1343. Moreover, this Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s Illinois common law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. 5. All of the events, transactions, and occurrences pertinent to this lawsuit have
occurred within the geographical environs of the Southern District of Illinois. Therefore, venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1391. IV. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 6. Plaintiff is an African-American male who was originally hired by Defendant in
1998. From February 2009 to March 12, 2012, Plaintiff worked as Market Director for Defendant in the Southern Illinois territory. 7. On March 12, 2012, Plaintiff resigned his employment with Defendant and went
to work for Liberty National Life Insurance Company (hereinafter, “Liberty National”) 8. On August 1, 2012, Defendant filed a Verified Complaint against Plaintiff
alleging Plaintiff violated his employment agreement with Defendant by allegedly soliciting and inducing Defendant’s employees to leave Defendant and join Liberty National. 9. Defendant is aware of other former employees of Defendant who are not African-
American that have also left their employment with Defendant to work for Liberty National; however, Defendant has not taken similar legal action against these former employees who are outside of Plaintiff’s protected class.
Case 3:12-cv-01279-MJR-SCW Document 2
Filed 12/26/12 Page 3 of 5 Page ID #5
10.
In support of Combined’s Verified Complaint against Plaintiff, Jones knowingly
submitted a false affidavit containing defamatory statements regarding Plaintiff. V. LEGAL CLAIMS COUNT 1: Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 11. Plaintiff hereby incorporates paragraphs one (1) through eight (8) of his
Complaint as if fully set forth herein. 12. Defendant violated Plaintiff's right to make and enforce contracts under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1981 by subjecting Plaintiff, because of his race, to different terms and conditions than similarly-situated employees. COUNT 2: Libel Per Se 13. Plaintiff hereby incorporates paragraphs one (1) through twelve (12) of his
Complaint as if fully set forth herein. 14. Jones’s publication of the defamatory information about Plaintiff attacked his
professional character and competence as a supervisory employee. 15. Jones intentionally published false and defamatory information about Plaintiff
with the motive of causing severe harm to Plaintiff in his profession and career. COUNT 3: Respondeat Superior 16. Plaintiffs hereby incorporate paragraphs one (1) through fifteen (15) of his
Complaint as if fully set forth herein. 17. Combined is liable for the acts of its employees, agents, and servants acting
within the course and scope of their employment. 18. Jones was acting in the course and scope of his employment with Combined when
he intentionally published false and defamatory information about Plaintiff.
Case 3:12-cv-01279-MJR-SCW Document 2
Filed 12/26/12 Page 4 of 5 Page ID #6
19.
Combined is liable for the acts of Jones under the doctrine of respondeat superior. COUNT 4: Tortious Interference
20.
Plaintiff hereby incorporates the foregoing paragraphs one (1) through nineteen
(19) of his Complaint as if fully set forth herein. 21. By virtue of its conduct, Defendants have intentionally and improperly interfered
with contracts between Plaintiff and Liberty National. Defendants have intentionally and improperly interfered with the advantageous business and economic relations between Plaintiff and Liberty National. PRAYER FOR RELIEF WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays that the Court find in his favor and order the following relief: A. B. Issue a declaratory judgment that Defendant's acts violate 42 U.S.C. § 1981; Permanently enjoin Defendant, its officers, agents, employees, and attorneys
acting in concert with them from engaging in any practice that violates 42 U.S.C. § 1981; C. Award Plaintiff compensatory damages, consequential damages, and emotional
distress damages in an amount sufficient to compensate Plaintiff for the damages caused by Defendant's unlawful actions; D. E. Award Plaintiff punitive damages; Award Plaintiff his attorneys' fees, litigation expenses, and costs incurred as a
result of this action; F. G. Award Plaintiff pre- and post-judgment interest on all sums recoverable; and Award any and all other relief as may be just and proper.
Case 3:12-cv-01279-MJR-SCW Document 2
Filed 12/26/12 Page 5 of 5 Page ID #7
DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL Plaintiff, Elgin Barnett, by counsel, respectfully requests a jury trial for all issues deemed so triable. Respectfully submitted, RAMEY & HAILEY /s/ Joel S. Paul Joel S. Paul, Atty. #422921 Attorneys for Plaintiff 9333 N. Meridian Street, Suite 105 Indianapolis, IN 46260 Tel: (317) 582-0000 Fax: (317) 582-0080 E-mail: joel@rameyandhaileylaw.com

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D.E. 2 COMPLAINT against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 0754-1855964.), filed by Elgin Barnett.pdf39.01 KB

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