There are generally only three circumstances under which a court will agree to reconsider a prior decision. To successfully prevail, the moving party must show the existence of: (1) an intervening change of controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence; and/or (3) the need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice. Wilson v. Consolidated Rail Corp., 815 F. Supp. 585 (N.D.N.Y. 1993) (citing cases); see McLaughlin v. New York, Governor's Office of Employee Relations, 784 F. Supp. 961, 965 (N.D.N.Y. 1992).
In the case at bar, the plaintiff challenges the Court's Order of September 16, 1993, on the basis that new evidence was adduced at trial which was not available at the time of the summary judgment motion. More specifically, the plaintiff avers that the testimony of Marketing Manager Dave McDougal stating that he was unaware of the Revised Displaced Employee Policy when he interviewed Mrs. Bartz, unequivocally demonstrates that an implied employment contract existed between Agway and the plaintiff and that this implied employment contract was breached by Agway when it terminated the plaintiff.
It is settled law in New York that absent an agreement establishing a fixed duration, an employment relationship is presumed to be a hiring at will, terminable at any time by either party for any reason or no reason. Mycak v. Honeywell, Inc., 953 F.2d 798, 801 (2d Cir. 1992), citing Sabetay v. Sterling Drug, Inc., 69 N.Y.2d 329, 333, 514 N.Y.S.2d 209, 211, 506 N.E.2d 919, 920 (N.Y. 1987) (citation omitted). Under this rule, limitations on the right of an employer to discharge an at-will employee have been narrowly construed by the courts of New York. Specifically, the New York Court of Appeals has held that "absent a constitutionally impermissible purpose, a statutory proscription, or an express limitation in the individual contract of employment, an employer's right at any time to terminate an employment at will remains unimpaired." Murphy v. American Home Products Corp., 58 N.Y.2d 293, 305, 461 N.Y.S.2d 232, 237, 448 N.E.2d 86, 89 (N.Y. 1983). Plaintiff recognizes that because her employment was for an unspecified duration that she is presumed to have been an employee at will. However, plaintiff cites Gorrill v. Icelandair/Flugleidir, 761 F.2d 847, 852-53 (2d Cir. 1985), in support of her position that she had an employment contract stemming from Agway's Displaced Employee Policy that limited defendant's right to terminate her employment at will.
In Gorrill, the Second Circuit held that a contractual commitment could be implied from a defendant's operations manual where the manual specifically stated that seniority would be the sole factor in terminations stemming from a reduction in force. The keystone of the Second Circuit's decision in Gorrill was the specificity with which the defendant's policy was articulated in its handbook. The operations manual of the defendant in Gorrill stated:
senority shall be the sole factor for determining demotions, transfers or terminations caused by job elimination or force reduction when a senior employee is qualified to perform the available work or can be adequately trained in a reasonable or practicable period of time.