November 9, 2015
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division. No. 1:14 CV 00084
-- Theresa L. Springmann, Judge.
Kellie Pierce, Plaintiff - Appellant: Joni Fixel, Attorney,
Fixel And Nyehol, Pllc, Okemos, MI.
Zoetis, Inc., Lois Heuchert, Defendants - Appellees: Nadine
C. Abrahams, Attorney, Jackson Lewis P.C., Chicago, IL.
WOOD, Chief Judge, ROVNER, Circuit Judge, and SHAH, District
Rovner, Circuit Judge.
Pierce sued her former employer Zoetis, Incorporated and her
former supervisor Lois Heuchert, alleging causes of action
under Indiana state law. The district court dismissed
Pierce's amended complaint for failure to state a claim
upon which relief could be granted. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). Pierce appeals, arguing that she has stated a claim
for tortious interference with a business relationship
against her former supervisor Heuchert. Because the
allegations in Pierce's complaint fail to state a claim
for tortious interference under Indiana law, we affirm.
February 2012, Pierce began working for Zoetis, Inc. as a
sales representative for animal medicines. According to her
amended complaint, which we accept as true at this stage of
the proceedings, Pierce had a series of unpleasant encounters
with Heuchert and others during her employ before she was
ultimately terminated. For example, an instructor at
Pierce's training classes told her that she needed to
" sex it up" when making her sales presentations.
When Pierce told Heuchert about the comment, Heuchert said
that the instructor was an " arrogant dickhead" and
that Pierce should " just hang in there" and finish
also did a number of things that made working for her
difficult. She told Pierce to " stroke" the ego of
her male " counterpart" (presumably Pierce's
sales partner, although that is not clear from her
complaint). Heuchert also " took over" sales calls
and conversations while on supervisory ride-alongs with
Pierce. Pierce alleges that Heuchert's interference on
these occasions jeopardized Pierce's relationship with
the clients. And at lunch on another occasion when Heuchert
was accompanying Pierce on sales calls, Heuchert yelled at
Pierce in a restaurant. Specifically, after Heuchert directed
Pierce to role play, Heuchert interrupted Pierce's sales
pitch by " slam[ming] her fists down on the table"
and yelling, " What the FUCK! Why are you talking about
Heuchert publicly humiliated Pierce again at a National Sales
Meeting in Dallas, Texas in February 2013. When Pierce and
her male associate Kerry Hab entered a room full of people at
an awards banquet, Heuchert said, " What are you two
sleeping together in the same room? You are always
complained about Heuchert's behavior to Human Resources,
which she alleges prompted Heuchert to retaliate against her.
Zoetis' human resources director eventually connected
Pierce with someone to investigate her complaint against
Heuchert. Some time after the investigation, all sales
representatives received an e-mail informing them that their
sales quotas were going to be adjusted. Pierce alleges that
her quotas were adjusted upward more substantially than the
other employees'. She claims that the substantial
increase in her sales quotas was a result of her ...