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Date: 05-29-2001

Case Style: Linda Dollard v. Board of Education of the Town of Orange, et al.

Case Number: 20651

Judge: Landau

Court: Appellate Court of Connecticut

Plaintiff's Attorney: Norman A. Pattis, New Haven, Connecticut

Defendant's Attorney: Sheila A. Huddleston, Neil B. Stekloff and Linda L. Yoder, Hartford, Connecticut

Description: The plaintiff, Linda Dollard, appeals from the judgment of the trial court rendered following the granting of the defendants’ 1 motion to strike both counts of her complaint. The sole issue on appeal is whether the court improperly granted the defendants’ motion to strike the first count, which alleged intentional inflic-tion of emotional distress.

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The following facts and procedural history are necessary for our resolution of the plaintiff’s claim. The plaintiff’s complaint contained two counts. In count one, the plaintiff alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, and in count two the plaintiff alleged negligent infliction of emotional distress. The defendants filed a motion to strike count one on the ground that the plaintiff had failed to allege that they had engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct, and count two on the ground that she had failed to allege that they had engaged in unreasonable conduct. The court granted the motion with respect to both counts.3 Thereafter, the plaintiff announced that she did not intend to plead over and filed a motion for judgment to be rendered in favor of the defendants so that she could appeal from the granting of the motion to strike. The court rendered judgment accordingly.

For purposes of this appeal, we take as true the fol-lowing facts alleged in the complaint. See Bell v. Board of Education, 55 Conn. App. 400, 402, 739 A.2d 321 (1999). The plaintiff was employed as a school psychol-ogist by the defendant board of education of the town of Orange (board), and was supervised by the defendants Patricia Miller, Nicholas Tirozzi and John Kowal.4 In 1998 and early 1999, the defendants jointly engaged in a concerted plan and effort to force the plaintiff to resign from her position or to become so distraught that they would have a colorable basis for terminating her employment. The defendants carried out their plan by hypercritically examining every small detail of her professional and personal conduct. Specifically, the defendants transferred the plaintiff to a school where she did not want to be assigned and then secretly hired someone to replace her at the school from which she had been transferred. The defendants also publicly admonished the plaintiff for chewing gum, being habitu-ally late, being disorganized and not using her time well. Finally, the defendants unnecessarily placed the plaintiff under the intensive supervision of a friend of Tirozzi. The defendants ultimately forced the plaintiff to resign.

‘‘The standard of review for granting a motion to strike is well settled. In an appeal from a judgment following the granting of a motion to strike, we must take as true the facts alleged in the plaintiff’s complaint and must construe the complaint in the manner most favorable to sustaining its legal sufficiency. . . . A motion to strike admits all facts well pleaded. See Prac-tice Book [10-39]. A determination regarding the legal sufficiency of a claim is, therefore, a conclusion of law, not a finding of fact. Accordingly, our review is plenary. Napoletano v. CIGNA Healthcare of Connecticut, Inc., 238 Conn. 216, 232, 680 A.2d 127 (1996), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1103, 117 S. Ct. 1106, 137 L. Ed. 2d 308 (1997). . . . If facts provable in the complaint would support a cause of action, the motion to strike must be denied. ...Faulkner v. United Technologies Corp., 240 Conn. 576, 580, 693 A.2d 293 (1997). Moreover, we note that [w]hat is necessarily implied [in an allegation] need not be expressly alleged. Clohessy v. Bachelor, 237 Conn. 31, 33 n.4, 675 A.2d 852 (1996).’’ (Citations omitted; internal quotation marks omitted.) Bell v. Board of Edu-cation, supra, 55 Conn. App. 404.

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Click the case caption above for the full text of the Court's opinion.

Outcome: We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: Reported by Kent Morlan

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