Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Moriarty v. Dyson

July 8, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert W. Gettleman United States District Judge

Judge Robert W. Gettleman


Plaintiff Maureen Moriarty has brought a six count amended complaint against her former employer, defendant Dyson, Inc., alleging sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et. seq. (Counts I & II), defamation (Count III), false light invasion of privacy (Count IV), intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count V), and constructive discharge (Count VI). Defendant has moved to dismiss all six counts under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons discussed below, the motion is denied.


Plaintiff was employed by defendant as national account manager from August 2006 until November 2008. During that time she received numerous positive performance reviews, was responsible for approximately 38% of defendant's revenue growth from 2006 through 2007 and increased the value of the accounts she managed by 50%, or $50 million.

During her tenure plaintiff reported to her immediate supervisor, Jennifer Jones, until Jones' termination sometime in 2008. Plaintiff also reported to Jones' supervisor, Gordon Thom, who was defendant's president from September 2006 through August 2007.

On December 4, 2007,*fn2 plaintiff was told in her performance review that she was the "lead candidate" for a promotion to director of national accounts, with a corresponding increase in salary and responsibility. A few months later, in February or March 2008, she was told that position was on hold due to decreased sales against the planned 2008 budget.

Defendant had an "open concept" office in which numerous desks were situated in a large open space with no partitions. As a result, many of the employees became friends and attended social functions outside of business. Plaintiff, Jones, and Thom were such friends and attended "after business hours social functions" together.

Beginning in April 2008 and continuing throughout the remainder of plaintiff's employment, defendant's vice-president of finance, Maria Tryan informed Jones that plaintiff and Thom were engaged in a sexual relationship. Tyrian also told other employees of the alleged relationship.

On May 1, 2008, Thom was suspended. The following day Sara Wahlstrom, defendant's human resource director and Jennifer Hale, defendant's general counsel, met with plaintiff to discuss certain expenditures during a November 2007 business trip she had taken to New York with Thom and retail business strategist Jason Warner. Wahlstrom and Hale questioned plaintiff about certain expenditures made at a bar during the trip, whether Warner was present during the time plaintiff spent with Thom, and whether the expenses were made during the time that plaintiff was alone with Thom. During that meeting defendant insinuated that plaintiff was engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with Thom. Plaintiff denied having spent any time alone with Thom and insisted that their relationship was strictly professional.

In a separate but much shorter meeting, Warner was also questioned regarding expenditures on the trip and the amount of time plaintiff spent alone with Thom. Warner was not asked if he had spent time alone with Thom, nor was it insinuated that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with Thom.

Five days later, on May 6, 2008, defendant's CEO Martin McCourt requested an unplanned meeting with plaintiff. McCourt walked to plaintiff's desk, asked her to follow him and led her through the open office space in full view of her co-workers to a boardroom with windows open to the rest of the office. Plaintiff alleges that McCourt held the meeting in this room to embarrass her and encourage the rumors about her relationship with Thom. In the meeting, McCourt again questioned her about the November 2007 business trip and insinuated that he believed plaintiff to be in a sexual relationship with Thom. Plaintiff answered all questions and denied spending time alone with Thom, again insisting that their relationship was strictly professional. McCourt became angry and upset, which caused plaintiff to become embarrassed, frightened and anxious. After the meeting, McCourt told Jones that plaintiff had lied. McCourt did not question Warner about the business trip.

Thom's employment was terminated that same day. In May 2008, after Thom's termination, defendant informed several employees that plaintiff and Thom had been engaged in a sexual relationship and that the relationship was the cause for Thom's termination. Defendant, through unidentified agents, then told plaintiff and her co-workers that they could not understand how plaintiff could "come to work after getting Thom fired for an affair with her."

One month earlier, in April 2008, Patrice Compernolle, vice president of field sales, told other employees that plaintiff was engaged in a sexual affair with Tom Stremleau, one of defendant's district managers. Compernolle asked Stremleau about his alleged affair with plaintiff and if he knew that plaintiff had been sleeping with Thom. Defendant continued ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.