976 F.2d 86 (2nd Cir. 1992), 1347, Stewart v. Jackson & Nash

Docket Nº:1347, Docket 92-7056.
Citation:976 F.2d 86
Party Name:Victoria A. STEWART, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. JACKSON & NASH; Laurence G. Bodkin, Jr., Paul H. Decoster; William R. Dunlop; Ronald S. Herzog; Susan Frank Kelley; Albert L. Lingelbach; Edward Maguire, Jr., Joseph Michaels IV, C. Frederick Rogge III, Christopher S. Rooney, Roger D. Smith, and Jeffrey G. Steinberg, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:September 23, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
 
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Page 86

976 F.2d 86 (2nd Cir. 1992)

Victoria A. STEWART, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

JACKSON & NASH; Laurence G. Bodkin, Jr., Paul H. Decoster;

William R. Dunlop; Ronald S. Herzog; Susan Frank Kelley;

Albert L. Lingelbach; Edward Maguire, Jr., Joseph Michaels

IV, C. Frederick Rogge III, Christopher S. Rooney, Roger D.

Smith, and Jeffrey G. Steinberg, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 1347, Docket 92-7056.

United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

September 23, 1992

Argued April 20, 1992.

Neal Brickman, New York City for plaintiff-appellant.

Ronald S. Herzog, Jackson & Nash, New York City, for defendants-appellees.

Before: OAKES, WALKER, Circuit Judges, and LEVAL, District Judge [*].

Page 87

WALKER, Circuit Judge:

Victoria A. Stewart appeals from a December 3, 1991 Judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Charles S. Haight, Judge ) dismissing Stewart's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.Pro. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. 778 F.Supp. 790. We agree that Stewart fails to state a claim for negligent representation, but hold that she does state a claim for fraudulent inducement. We accordingly affirm in part, and reverse and remand in part.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Victoria A. Stewart alleges the following facts which, for purposes of this appeal from a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, we take to be true. LaBounty v. Adler, 933 F.2d 121, 123 (2d Cir.1991). Stewart, who currently resides in California, is an attorney admitted to practice law in the State of New York. Prior to October 1988, she was employed in the environmental law department of the New York law firm of Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon. Ronald Herzog, a partner in the firm of Jackson & Nash, defendants-appellees in this action, contacted Stewart while at Phillips, Nizer regarding the possibility of employment with his firm. Herzog allegedly "represented to Stewart that Jackson had recently secured a large environmental law client, that Jackson was in the process of establishing an environmental law department, and that Stewart would head the environmental law department, and be expected to service the firm's substantial existing environmental law client." Stewart asserts that, in reliance on these representations, she resigned her position with Phillips, Nizer in October 1988 and the following month began work at Jackson & Nash.

Upon her arrival, Stewart alleges that Jackson & Nash put her to work primarily on general litigation matters. When she inquired about the promised environmental work, Herzog repeatedly assured her that it would be forthcoming and "also consistently advised [her] that she would be promoted to a position as head of Jackson's environmental law department." The major environmental law client and substantial environmental case work, however, never materialized. Finally, in May 1990, a Jackson & Nash partner allegedly informed Stewart that "Jackson had never 'really' had this 'type' of work, nor had [it], in fact, secured an environmental law client." Jackson & Nash dismissed Stewart on December 31, 1990. Jackson & Nash, in its affidavit in support of the motion to dismiss, asserts that it engaged in a year-long effort to acquire environmental work but concedes that it failed to achieve this end.

Count I of Stewart's complaint, filed April 11, 1991, alleges that Jackson & Nash fraudulently induced her to enter into and remain in its employ. Stewart asserts that she took the position with the firm in reliance on its knowing misrepresentations, as outlined above. She claims that her "career objective--continuing to specialize in environmental law--was thwarted and grossly undermined during her employment with Jackson," and that she suffered "loss of professional opportunity, loss of professional reputation" and...

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