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Martins v. Cook

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

January 15, 2015

FAROUK O. MARTINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES COOK, NANCY KEALEY, ANTHONY ZANETTE, and UMASS MEDICAL SCHOOL, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS TO DISMISS

F. DENNIS SAYLOR, IV, District Judge.

This is a civil rights action alleging claims of unlawful discrimination and denial of due process arising out of the discharge of plaintiff Farouk O. Martins from employment at defendant University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School. Martins has filed a pro se complaint against his former employer and his supervisors.

On August 15, 2014, defendants Charles Cook and UMass Medical School filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), contending that the claims are barred by the doctrine of claim preclusion and time-barred by the statute of limitations. Cook and UMass also filed a motion for a permanent injunction to prevent plaintiff from filing any more actions relating to his claims in this one. Defendants Nancy Kealey and Anthony Zanette filed a motion to dismiss for insufficient service of process pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(5). For the following reasons, the motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

Unless otherwise noted, the facts are presented as stated in the complaint. Farouk O. Martins is an African-American man who resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts. (Compl. ¶¶ 3, 15). Beginning in May 2000, Martins was employed as a Programs Manager by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. (Compl. ¶ 16). Starting in 2001, Charles Cook served as the Director of Benefit Coordination and Recovery, and appeared to serve as a supervisor of sorts for Martins. (Compl. ¶ 7). Nancy Kealey was the Senior Manager, and Anthony Zanette was another supervisor. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-13).

The complaint alleges that Martins had a staff of ten people who worked on 800 cases. (Compl. ¶ 17). That caseload increased to 3, 000, even as Martins' staff was reduced to five. (Compl. ¶ 17). According to the complaint, all of the managers working under Cook, with the exception of Martins, were transferred to UMass Medical School in 2002. (Compl. ¶18). In February 2004, Martins was transferred to UMass Medical School. (Compl. ¶ 19). At that time, he contends, he was "demoted" to Assistant Manager. (Compl. ¶ 19). In April 2004, he applied for the position of Associate Director; his application was rejected on the ground that the position was "rescinded." (Compl. ¶ 21). The position was subsequently given to Lynch, who had less experience. (Compl. ¶ 21). Three months later, on June 28, 2004, Martins was discharged. (Compl. ¶ 21).

B. Procedural Background

Martins filed suit against defendants in Suffolk Superior Court on February 15, 2006. (Mot. to Dismiss Ex. A; Martins v. UMass Medical School, Civ. Action No. 06-0628). The complaint in that action alleged wrongful termination, tortious interference with advantageous relationship, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, false representations, and defamation, all arising out of his demotion and termination from UMass Medical School. (Mem. Support Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1). In 2009, the Superior Court granted defendant's motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff's claims for defamation and misrepresentation. ( Id. Ex. 2). The remaining claims were tried before a jury, which returned a verdict in favor of defendants. ( Id. Ex. 3). On December 23, 2010, the Superior Court entered judgment on the jury verdict. ( Id. Ex. 4). On February 28, 2011, the trial judge denied plaintiff's motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial. ( Id. Ex. 6). The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed on December 4, 2012. ( Id. Exs. 7-8). On February 4, 2013, the Supreme Judicial Court denied a petition by plaintiff for further leave to obtain appellate review. ( Id. Ex. 10).

Plaintiff continued to pursue the original matter through a motion for finding of fraud upon the court. ( Id. Ex. 11). On April 25, 2013, the Superior Court denied that motion. ( Id. Ex. 14). On March 26, 2014, the Appeals Court upheld the Superior Court's ruling. ( Id. Ex.16). On June 11, 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court denied a petition for further leave to obtain appellate review. ( Id. Ex. 18).

On May 5, 2014, plaintiff filed the complaint in the present action. The complaint alleges discrimination and denial of due process arising from his demotion and termination. (Compl.). Plaintiff moved to add UMass Medical School as a defendant on June 16, 2014.

On August 15, 2014, defendants Charles Cook and UMass Medical School filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that (1) claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment, (2) the limitations period has expired, and (3) the doctrine of claim preclusion bars the entire suit. Cook and UMass Medical School also moved for a permanent injunction to enjoin plaintiff from filing any further pleadings arising out of his employment at UMass in 2004.

On November 4, 2014, plaintiff submitted an affidavit contending that service had been made on all defendants. On November 18, 2014, plaintiff purported to submit a return of service as to defendant Nancy Kealey. On November 25, 2014, defendants Kealey and Anthony Zanette objected to the purported service of plaintiff's complaint, contending that they have not been properly served. On ...


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