Labor & Employment

Appeals Court: Associate Can't Seek Punitives from Law Firm That Allegedly Misled Him re Partnership


A former associate can’t seek punitive damages from a law firm that allegedly misstated his partnership potential for years to keep him working on an important case and then terminated him once it successfully concluded.

Upholding today the trial court’s ruling on punitives, the New York Appellate Division for the First Judicial Department leaves Patrick Hoeffner with a fraudulent inducement case against Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe that is headed toward trial, according to the Legal Profession Blog.

Punitive damages are not available “in the ordinary fraud and deceit case,” the appeals court said, and “[n]either defendants’ alleged misrepresentations concerning their support for plaintiff’s partner candidacy, nor the breach of their contractual promise to put him up for a partnership, evidence such a high degree of moral turpitude and wanton dishonesty as to imply criminal indifference.

“Cases involving mere fraudulent misrepresentations to induce a party to accept an employment agreement, do not warrant imposition of punitive damages.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Ex-Associate Can’t Seek Punitives from Orrick for Allegedly Misstating His Partnership Potential”

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