The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
From Fischman v. Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Am., Inc., decided last month by Judge Jesse M. Furman (S.D.N.Y.):
Finally, Defendants seek to dismiss a claim that Fischman styles "Negligent Destruction of Plaintiffs' [sic] Employment Opportunities." The allegations relevant to this claim "are identical to those supporting the claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress" — in short, that Fischman was not allowed to send a goodbye email to her colleagues and was escorted from the building when she was fired. In taking those steps, Fischman argues, "Defendants breached their duty of reasonable care by terminating [her] employment in a manner that all but guaranteed she would never work as an attorney again."
That claim borders on frivolous. "The elements of a negligence claim under New York law are: (i) a duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant; (ii) breach of that duty; and (iii) injury substantially caused by that breach. If the defendant owes no duty to the plaintiff, the action must fail." Fischman cites, and the Court has found, no case to support the proposition that an employer has a duty to fire an employee in a way that will not interfere with her future employment opportunities or to provide her with a letter of recommendation. Nor does Fischman provide any factual support for her assertion that Defendants have "all but guaranteed" that she will not be able to find work as a lawyer again. Thus, whether construed as a negligence claim or as a claim for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage (which requires, at this stage, a factual allegation of a business relationship with a third party), this claim must also be dismissed.