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Quality Cardiovascular Care, LLC v. Casey - 2013 Conn. Super. LEXIS 650 (Super. Ct. Mar. 25, 2013)

Rule:

Because the duty of loyalty is based in the law of agency and actionable in tort, the fraudulent misrepresentations of an employer to induce an employee to take a position with the employer does not absolve the employee of the duty of loyalty and, therefore, does not defeat an employer's tort action against that employee for the breach of her duty of loyalty.

Facts:

Plaintiff Quality Cardiovascular Care, L.L.C. ("QCC") filed a complaint against defendant Anne Casey in Connecticut state court alleging, inter alia, that Casey beached her duty of loyalty. Specifically, QCC claimed that Casey owed a duty of loyalty to QCC as QCC's former office manager and that Casey breached that duty by using QCC's confidential trade secrets to unfairly compete with the QCC, causing it to suffer damages. Casey filed an answer and special defenses to the complaint, and in her fifth special defense, she alleged, inter alia, that she owed QCC no duty of loyalty because that duty arose out of a contractual relationship and the parties' contractual obligation was based on QCC's fraud and false representations to Casey. Casey further claimed that she was not entrusted to function as an office manager and was not given a position of trust, but rather held a position equal to any non-physician employee. QCC filed a motion to strike the fifth special defense.

Issue:

Should the court grant QCC's motion to strike Casey's fifth special defense of fraud and misrepresentation in QCC's action for breach of the duty of loyalty?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The court granted QCC's motion to strike. The court ruled that as the duty of loyalty was based in the law of agency and actionable in tort, any fraudulent misrepresentations of QCC to induce Casey to take the job did not absolve her of the duty of loyalty and, therefore, did not defeat the tort claim.

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