Sanchez v. High Watch Recovery Center Inc
Litigant Sought To Strike 'Injurious Falsehood' Counterclaim
Labor and Employment | Hiring/Firing | Torts | Intentional Torts | Abuse of Process | Defamation
- Superior Court
- Sep 18 2013 (Date Decided)
- Wahla, J.
Connecticut recognizes injurious falsehood as a cause of action, pursuant to the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Causes of Action. The defendant, High Watch Recovery Inc., is a non-profit, drug-and-alcohol rehabilitation facility. Allegedly, the plaintiff employee, Regina Sanchez, was discharged after she objected to a plan to use High Watch funds to launch a for-profit business, Janina Inc. Sanchez sued, alleging retaliation and wrongful discharge. High Watch objected that Sanchez was discharged because of inadequate job performance. High Watch filed counterclaims, alleging defamation, injurious falsehood and abuse of process. Sanchez moved to strike the counterclaims and argued that the alleged defamation concerned High Watch's chief executive officer, as opposed to High Watch. The defendant objected that Sanchez's allegations that the chief executive officer perpetrated a fraud included associated claims that High Watch facilitated, encouraged and covered up the alleged fraud and forced the resignation of old members of the board so that they could be replaced with compliant individuals. The court denied Sanchez's motion to strike the defamation count. The plaintiff also argued that Connecticut does not recognize injurious falsehood as a cause of action. The court found that Connecticut recognizes the cause of action, pursuant to the Encyclopedia of Connecticut Causes of Action, which is written by Taylor and Krisch. The plaintiff also argued that filing a complaint in Superior Court was insufficient to provide a basis for abuse of process. The defendant objected that the plaintiff's complaint discouraged doctors from referring patients to the defendant's facility, individuals from choosing treatment at the defendant's facility and charitable entities from contributing. An action for abuse of process may be brought against an individual who uses legal process against another in an improper manner or to accomplish a purpose for which the legal process was not designed. The defendant adequately alleged abuse of process, and the court denied the plaintiff's motion to strike the counterclaim.