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Appellate Opinion

Appellate Opinion

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Published by Laura Hibbard

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Published by: Laura Hibbard on Sep 09, 2011
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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THEAPPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISIONSUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEYAPPELLATE DIVISIONDOCKET NO. A-2216-10T2CECELIA MAVICA INGRAHAM,Plaintiff-Appellant,v.ORTHO-McNEIL PHARMACEUTICAL,JOHNSON & JOHNSON, andCARL DeSTEFANIS,Defendants-Respondents. _________________________________ Argued June 2, 2011 - DecidedBefore Judges Fuentes, Ashrafi and Newman.On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey,Law Division, Middlesex County, Docket No.L-2926-08.Neil Mullin argued the cause for appellant(Smith Mullin, P.C., and Niedweske Barber,P.C., attorneys; Mr. Mullin and Kevin E.Barber, of counsel and on the brief).Francis X. Dee argued the cause forrespondents (McElroy, Deutsch, Mulvaney &Carpenter, LLP, attorneys; Mr. Dee, ofcounsel and on the brief; David J. Reillyand David M. Alberts, on the brief).The opinion of the court was delivered byASHRAFI, J.A.D.
August 25, 2011
2Plaintiff Cecelia Mavica Ingraham appeals from a December3, 2010 order dismissing by summary judgment her complaintalleging intentional infliction of emotional distress. Weaffirm.Viewing the evidence most favorably to plaintiff, see R.4:46-2(c); Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520,540 (1995), the deposition of plaintiff and unrefuted evidencein the summary judgment record show the following relevantfacts.Plaintiff was employed from 1994 to 2006 by defendantOrtho-McNeil Pharmaceutical. In 2006, she was working as anadministrative assistant in a marketing department atdefendant's Raritan facility. Plaintiff's immediate supervisorsreported to defendant Carl DeStefanis, the director of thedepartment. Plaintiff had infrequent contact with DeStefanis,"usually a simple 'Hello, how are you' type of interaction."In 2003, plaintiff's only child, Tatiana, then in her thirdyear of high school, was diagnosed with acute lymphocyticleukemia. Tatiana was an excellent student with brightprospects. She was a member of the National Honor Society,National Latin Society, and National Art Society. She wasaccepted to Cornell University and planned to study biology as apre-med student. She had also studied at the New Jersey School
3of Ballet, but was unable to continue dancing when her illnessoccurred. After several months in remission, Tatiana relapsedin April 2005. She developed an incurable infection and, sadly,passed away in May 2005. Her high school graduated herposthumously with top honors.Plaintiff's mourning was deep and enduring. To honor thememory of her daughter, plaintiff kept pictures of Tatiana andher ballet slippers displayed in her cubicle at work.About one-and-a-half years after Tatiana's death, a humanresources manager at Ortho-McNeill, Carmen Harris, met withDeStefanis to convey complaints she had received aboutplaintiff's conduct and interaction with co-workers. Several ofthose complaints were unrelated to Tatiana, but administrativestaff in the department had also remarked about plaintiff'stendency to speak to them about Tatiana's tragic passing. Theco-workers said they sympathized with plaintiff, but they feltuncomfortable and at a loss for "what else that we can say that we have not said already." The co-workers said they tended toavoid contact with plaintiff and to take work or questionselsewhere. Harris suggested that DeStefanis talk to plaintiffto get her side of the complaints and to discuss her initiatingconversations about Tatiana and its effect on her co-workers.DeStefanis agreed to speak with plaintiff.

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Hugh Clark added this note
A very stupid judge! Like most judges!

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