Kaithamattam v. Walnut Hill Inc.
Allegations that representatives of the employer promised to promote the plaintiff, if the plaintiff resigned his second job at another company, then discharged the plaintiff when he reported to work at his new job, can be sufficient to allege fraud in the inducement, even if the plaintiff fails to allege any malicious purpose. The plaintiff, Jimmy Kaithamattam, worked at two nursing facilities. The defendant facility allegedly offered Kaithamattam a promotion, provided that Kaithamattam left his job at the other nursing facility. Kaithamattam resigned from the other nursing facility and was discharged when he reported to work at the defendant facility. Kaithamattam sued, alleging the defendants breached a contract. Kaithamattam was an employee at will, and the court granted the motion to strike the breach-of-contract count. The court also granted the motion to strike the plaintiff's CUTPA count, because the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act does not apply to employee-employer disputes. Kaithamattam's complaint failed to adequately allege breach of a fiduciary duty, as a result of a relationship characterized by a unique degree of trust, and the court granted the motion to strike that count. Kaithamattam's allegations of intent to deceive, to intimidate and to act fraudulently and with malice were insufficient, and the court granted the motion to strike the plaintiff's intentional-interference-with-a-business-expectancy count. Connecticut courts do not recognize a cause of action for loss of business opportunity, and the court granted the motion to strike that count. Allegations that Kaithamattam reasonably relied on the defendants' statements were sufficient to state a promissory estoppel claim, and that count survived. Allegations that the defendants' representations were intended to induce the plaintiff to leave his other job, and that he reasonably relied on those representations and was injured, were sufficient to allege negligent misrepresentation, and that count survived. Allegations that the defendants fraudulently induced Kaithamattam to resign and that he was injured were sufficient to allege fraud in the inducement, even though that count did not allege that the defendants acted with malice. The plaintiff was not required to allege that the defendants possessed a malicious purpose, to allege fraud in the inducement.