Williams v. Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority

2021 | Cited 0 times | D. Massachusetts | January 29, 2021

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS ____________________________________ MARCHELLE L. WILLIAMS, ) Plaintiff, ) v. ) Civil Action No. 17-cv-11632-NMG MASSACHUSETTS BAY ) TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY ) Defendant. ) ____________________________________)


[Docket Nos. 60, 67] January 29, 2021 Boal, M.J. Pro se Plaintiff Marchelle Williams alleges that Defendant Massachusetts Bay a disability in violation of M.G.L. ch. 151B, and discharged him in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. -17. The MBTA has filed

claims in this case. Docket No. 49. Williams has moved to dismiss those counterclaims. Docket Nos. 60, 67. For the following reasons, I recommend that Judge Gorton deny motions. 1

1 Judge Gorton referred and December 29, 2020. Docket Nos. 61, 72.


On September 5, 2017, Williams filed this lawsuit, alleging discrimination based on a disability, in violation of M.G.L. ch. 151B and the FMLA. Docket No. 1 at ¶¶ 10-17.

which included handwritten edits indicating that the complaint was to be dismissed without prejudice. Docket No. 7. On April 13, 2018, Williams filed both a motion requesting an extension of time in which to correct his earlier submission and a motion for reconsideration indicating that he intended the notice of voluntary dismissal to be without prejudice. Docket Nos. 8, 9. Judge Gorton granted the motions. Docket No. 10. Williams filed a second notice of

at 1. Williams also filed a memorandum noting that the matter was going to arbitration. Docket No. 13. As a result of that arbitration, the MBTA alleges that Williams entered into a Settlement Agreement that settled his claims in this case. Docket No. 46 at 7-8.

on the basis of the Settlement Agreement. See Docket Nos. 19, 39, 42. The MBTA then filed an answer on October 19, 2020. Docket No. 46. In that answer, it asserted three counterclaims based on the Settlement Agreement: breach of contract (Count I); breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing (Count II); and unjust enrichment (Count III). Id. at 9-11.

on the basis that the Court lacked subject matter jurisdiction for those claims. Docket No. 60.

. Docket No. 62. On . 2

Docket No. 67.


A. Rule 12(b)(1)

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. Destek Grp., Inc. v. State of N.H. Pub. , 318 F.3d 32, 38 (1st Cir. 2003) (noting that the Constitution expressly limits the

is Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Valentin v. Hosp. Bella Vista, 254 F.3d 358, 362-63 (1st Cir. 2001); see also Div., 510 F. Supp. 2d 157, 159 (D. Mass. 2007).

The party claiming that there is jurisdiction carries the burden of showing that the court has jurisdiction. Murphy v. United States, 45 F.3d 520, 522 (1st Cir. 1995). When considering a treating all well-pleaded facts as true and indulging all reasonable inferences in favor of the

Aversa v. United States, 99 F.3d 1200, 1210 (1st Cir. 1996) (citation omitted).

arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties o action includes both federal and state law claims, then the district court may exercise

2 whether it seeks to restate the claims raised in the first motion to dismiss or withdraw them. A document filed by a pro se construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Given that Williams is proceeding pro se, I have considered the grounds raised in each motion to dismiss.

supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), district courts ha to claims in the action within such original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or 1367(a).


A. This Court May Exercise Supplemental Jurisdiction Over The Counterclaims

Williams contends is The MBTA argues that because this FMLA claims, it can exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the contractual counterclaims because they are related. Docket No. 62 at 3-5.

related claims that form Envisn, Inc. v. Davis, No. 11-

12246-FDS, 2012 WL 1672887 at *2 (D. Mass. May 11, 2012); 28 U.S.C. § 1367. complaint asserts claims arising under the FMLA. See Docket No. 1 at ¶¶ 16-17; 13-15. Such claims question jurisdiction. Perez v. Brockton Neighborhood Health Ctr., Inc., No. CV 18-10284- MBB, 2019 WL 145575 at *3 (D. Mass. Jan. 9, 2019).

The counterclaims asserted by the MBTA comply with the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Docket No. 60 at 4-5. Because the Settlement Agreement potentially extinguishes claims in this case, the MBTA

Accordingly, though the counterclaims assert state law causes of action, it would appropriate for Judge Gorton, in his discretion, to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over them. I therefore

Williams also contends that the counterclaims are prohibited because they are retaliatory. 3

Docket No. 67 at 2. However, on a motion to dismiss counterclaims, I must indulge all inferences in favor of the MBTA. I also, with exceptions, may consider only the facts alleged in the pleadings, documents attached as exhibits or incorporated by reference in the complaint and matters of which judicial notice may be taken. Nollet v. Justices of the Trial Court of Mass., 83 F. Supp. 2d 204, 208 (D. Mass. 2000), affd 248 F.3d 1127 (1st Cir. 2000). Based on these standards, I they provide no grounds for dismissal of the counterclaims.

III. RECOMMENDATION For the foregoing reasons, I recommend that Judge Gorton s to dismiss. IV. REVIEW BY DISTRICT JUDGE The parties are hereby advised that under the provisions of Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), any party who objects to these proposed findings and recommendations must file specific written objections thereto with the Clerk of this Court within 14 days of service of this Report and Recommendation. The written objections must specifically identify the portion of the proposed findings, recommendations, or report to which objection is made, and the basis for such objections. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 72. The parties are further advised that the United States Court

3 To the extent Williams motions challenge the Settlement Agreement itself, such challenges are not appropriate for review on a motion to dismiss. See Docket No. 39.

of Appeals for this Circuit has repeatedly indicated that failure to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P.

and Recommendation. See Phinney v. Wentworth Douglas Hospital, 199 F.3d 1 (1st Cir. 1999); , 116 F.3d 962 (1st Cir. 1997); Pagano v. Frank, 983 F.2d 343 (1st Cir.1993). /s/ Jennifer C. Boal JENNIFER C. BOAL United States Magistrate Judge

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