SCHIAVI v. AT&T CORPORATION
MARYLYNN SCHIAVI, Plaintiff-Appellant/Cross-Respondent,
AT&T CORPORATION, Defendant-Respondent/Cross-Appellant.
Docket No. A-5003-08T3.
Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.
Argued September 27, 2010.
Decided April 29, 2011.
Noel C. Crowley argued the cause for appellant/cross-respondent (Crowley & Crowley, attorneys; Mr. Crowley, on the brief).
Before Judges Rodríguez, Grall and Miniman.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Plaintiff Marylynn Schiavi appeals from the summary judgment in favor of her former employer, defendant AT&T Corporation (AT&T), dismissing her complaint. AT&T cross-appeals from the partial denial of its claim for $19,948 in damages, attorney fees and costs. We conclude that there are several contested issues of material fact that preclude summary judgment. Thus, we reverse and remand to the Law Division for trial. The cross-appeal is dismissed as moot.
These are the material facts, viewed in the light most favorable to Schiavi. See Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 523 (1995). In August 1995, AT&T hired Schiavi as a manager in the public relations department. In June 2000, AT&T transferred Schiavi to work on a revenue recovery project. Schiavi did not like her new assignment. On August 13, 2000, Schiavi sent an e-mail to her supervisors and AT&T senior executives complaining about employee morale:
Hopefully, the morale of [co-workers] will change over time, but I must tell you many of the faces of my colleagues have been filled with sadness and despair, and several people even mentioned the only option being suicide. And they didn't say this in a joking manner.
AT&T Human Resources Manager, Maureen Brennan, met with Schiavi to determine which employees were at risk. Schiavi refused to identify them. Eventually, she recanted her statement, stating that her e-mail did not refer to anyone in particular. AT&T terminated Schiavi on August 21, 2000.
After numerous e-mails, Schiavi and Brennan agreed on the terms of a separation agreement (Agreement):