Allen v. Verizon Wireless
To prevail on intentional infliction of emotional distress, a plaintiff may be required to allege that a defendant's conduct was extreme and outrageous. In 2004, Cellco Partnership, doing business as Verizon, hired Queen Allen, and Allen worked as a customer services representative. Allen was away on a medical leave between Jan. 29 and Feb. 13, 2009. In August, supervisors complained about her "net promoter" score and discussed how Allen could improve her performance. Allen experienced anxiety, obtained short-term disability benefits and took a leave of absence between September and November 2009. Allen requested leave between Feb. 6 and Feb. 21, 2010, to care for her mother, who was ill, and from March 8 to June 24, 2010, because she suffered from allergies, fatigue and insomnia. Allen qualified for short-term disability benefits. Allen also requested leave because she experienced anxiety between Nov. 15, 2010 and Jan. 14, 2011. Allegedly, Professional Disability Associates was hired to perform an accurate peer review of medical claims for purposes of short-term disability benefits and its medical reviewer created a report that relied on the medical history of Allen's relative, as opposed to Allen. In 2011, Verizon discharged Allen and claimed that she abandoned her job. Allen filed suit, pro se, and alleged, inter alia, that Professional Disability intentionally inflicted emotional distress. Professional Disability moved to dismiss. Although Allen claimed that Professional Disability was hired to perform an accurate peer review of medical claims for purposes of short-term disability benefits and was a subcontractor to MetLife, which had a contract with Verizon, Allen failed to adequately allege that Professional Disability intended to assume a direct obligation to Allen and that she was a third-party beneficiary of contract. The court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss the breach-of-contract count. The amended complaint failed to adequately allege facts to support Allen's claim that she suffered emotional distress, because a Professional Disability medical reviewer allegedly relied on the medical chart of Allen's mother when examining Allen. Allen failed to allege that Professional Disability's conduct was extreme and outrageous, and the court dismissed Allen's count for intentional infliction of emotional distress.