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Louis v. Bear Hill Nursing Center, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 30, 2014

ARTHUR PIERRE LOUIS, Plaintiff,
v.
BEAR HILL NURSING CENTER, INC., Defendant.

ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

GEORGE A. O'TOOLE, District Judge.

The magistrate judge to whom this matter was referred has recommended that the defendant's motion for summary judgment be denied. The defendant has filed an opposition to the Report and Recommendation (R&R), and the plaintiff has filed a reply to the defendant's opposition. After carefully reviewing the pleadings, the parties' submissions, and the R&R, I agree with the magistrate judge's analysis and conclusions.[1]

Accordingly, I approve and ADOPT the magistrate judge's recommendation in its entirety. The defendant's Motion (dkt. no. 18) for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

It is SO ORDERED.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

[Docket No. 18]

August 25, 2014

Plaintiff Arthur Pierre Louis ("Louis") brings this action alleging that defendant Bear Hill Nursing Center ("Bear Hill") violated the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. by terminating his employment after he requested and took medical leave. Bear Hill has filed a motion for summary judgment. Docket No. 18. For the following reasons, this Court recommends that the District Court deny Bear Hill's motion.[1]

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND[2]

Louis began working as a full-time housekeeper for Bear Hill in March 2001. DSMF ¶ 4. In that role, Louis cleaned patients' rooms and common areas in the Birchill unit of Bear Hill's nursing home. Id. at ¶¶ 6, 9. Louis' cleaning duties included mopping, sweeping and waxing floors, moving and wiping furniture, wiping surfaces, dusting, cleaning walls and mirrors, and disposing of trash. Id. at ¶ 8. Bear Hill maintained written cleaning guidelines which stated that housekeepers must clean to remove cobwebs and stains on walls in patients' rooms and bathrooms. See id. at ¶ 12; Docket No. 19, Ex. 3 p. 36/10-37/15.

Ansumana Makalo ("Makalo"), the housekeeping supervisor at Bear Hill, was responsible for ensuring that the housekeeping staff, including Louis, were performing their cleaning duties as expected. DSMF ¶¶ 10, 11. Makalo verbally reinforced with the housekeepers their cleaning instructions and periodically (about every month or two) "spot checked" their work areas following shifts. See id. at ¶ 14. When Makalo discovered problems or deficiencies with a housekeeper's cleaning work following a spot check or inspection, he generally would address the issue by talking to him or her. Id. at ¶ 15. Makalo also completed written employee evaluations of the housekeepers at Bear Hill. Id. at ¶ 16.

In various performance evaluations of Louis from 2001-2007, Makalo noted, among other things, that Louis needed to make sure to clean ceiling vents, fixtures, furniture, and walls, needed to be pushed and supervised, and/or had received warnings[3] regarding deficiencies in his work. See id. at ¶¶ 18-20, 22, 24, 27-28; Docket No. 19, Exs. 5-A-5-J.

In or around August-September 2009, Makalo spot checked the patient rooms for which Louis was responsible, found stains on the walls, and told Louis that he was "getting tired of it." DSMF ¶ 31. On September 2, 2009, Makalo performed a spot inspection of Louis' rooms and found several rooms with stains on the walls and cobwebs in the bathroom. Id. at ¶ 29.[4] Makalo typed up his findings and brought them to the attention of William Ring ("Ring"), Bear Hill's nursing home administrator. Id. at ¶¶ 17, 30; Docket No. 19, Ex. 3-1. After speaking with Makalo, Ring inspected several of Louis' rooms and observed cobwebs and stains. DMSF ¶ 32. Bear Hill states that, following his inspection, Ring, in consultation with Makalo, decided to terminate Louis' employment. Id. at ¶ 33. Neither Ring nor Makalo notified Louis of his purported termination at that time. See id. at ¶ 34. Louis vehemently contests the timing of Bear Hill's decision to terminate him. See id. at ¶¶ 29-33.

After arriving home from work on September 2, 2009, Louis began experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. PSMF ¶ 6. That evening, Louis was taken to the Winchester Hospital Emergency Department. Id . He called out sick the next day. DSMF ¶ 36. Thereafter, Louis was in the hospital with a ...


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