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DuLaurence v. Telegen

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 31, 2015

HENRY J. DULAURENCE, III, Plaintiff,
v.
ARTHUR TELEGEN, and LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendants

Henry J. DuLaurence, Plaintiff, Pro se, Salem, MA.

For Arthur G. Telegen, Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Defendants: Erik W. Weibust, LEAD ATTORNEY, Seyfarth Shaw, LLP, Boston, MA.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DOUGLAS P. WOODLOCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

Plaintiff Henry DuLaurence filed this action against Liberty Mutual, his one-time employer, and Arthur Telegen, the lawyer who represented Liberty Mutual during an employment termination action that DuLaurence pursued against Liberty Mutual in Massachusetts Superior Court. He seeks relief from two final judgments in Massachusetts: that entered in the underlying employment action and that entered in a collateral action that was dismissed pursuant to the anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231 § 59H, as well as damages arising from the conduct of Liberty Mutual and Telegen during the Massachusetts litigation. Defendants move to dismiss on various grounds. Concluding that I am without jurisdiction to review the state court judgments and that indeed I would have an obligation did I have jurisdiction to give full faith and credit to them, I dismiss this action.

I. BACKGROUND

The factual background provided here is derived from DuLaurence's Amended Complaint and incorporated documents. The procedural background is derived from the Amended Complaint and public records. Wilson v. HSBC Mortg. Servs., Inc., 744 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2014)(in addition to the complaint, courts may consider documents incorporated by reference in the complaint, matters of public record, and other matters susceptible to judicial notice).

Liberty Mutual is a Massachusetts corporation with a principal place of business in Boston, Massachusetts. Am. Compl. ¶ 16. DuLaurence worked for Liberty Mutual as an attorney and was terminated in April 1995. Id. ¶ 17. Telegen is a partner at the law firm Seyfarth Shaw. Id. ¶ 15.

A. First Superior Court Action: The Underlying Employment Action

DuLaurence brought an employment action in Suffolk Superior Court in July 1995 against Liberty Mutual and several of its employees alleging misconduct with respect to his termination Id. ¶ 17. Telegen represented Liberty Mutual and the individually named defendants throughout that action. DuLaurence brought claims in fourteen counts, thirteen of which were dismissed on summary judgment. Id. ¶ 20. DuLaurence contends that summary judgment was improperly granted as a result of unethical and criminal conduct by Telegen and Liberty Mutual. Id. ¶ 21. These allegations involve discovery-related conduct, including failing to respond to interrogatories, instructing witnesses not to answer questions in depositions, and refusing to produce deponents. See, e.g., id. ¶ ¶ 21, 51, 52, 54, 55, 58. During the course of discovery, DuLaurence filed multiple interlocutory appeals disputing the Superior Court's discovery orders, all of which were denied by the Appeals Court. Id. ¶ ¶ 20, 49. Sanctions were assessed against DuLaurence in one of these appeals. Id. ¶ 70.

A jury trial took place in August 2004 against three Liberty Mutual employees on the sole remaining count of tortious interference with an employment relationship. Id. ¶ 23. The trial court directed a verdict in favor of one of the defendants, and the jury returned verdicts in favor of the remaining two defendants. Id. ¶ 24-25.[1] The court denied DuLaurence's post-trial motions. Id. ¶ 26.

DuLaurence appealed the grant of summary judgment and the jury's verdict to the Massachusetts Appeals Court, which affirmed and then denied DuLaurence's petition for rehearing. Id. ¶ 26-27, 29; see also DuLaurence v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., (Employment Action Appeal), 74 Mass.App.Ct. 1125, 909 N.E.2d 558 (Mass.App.Ct. 2009). In that appeal, DuLaurence raised the argument that he was entitled to relief due to discovery violations by defendants. This argument was rejected because the court found that he had " not identified any specific judicial rulings or advanced any proper appellate argument to show any abuse of judicial discretion." Id. DuLaurence filed an Application for Further Appellate Review with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which was denied. Id. ¶ 30. DuLaurence v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 455 Mass. 1102, 914 N.E.2d 330 (Mass. 2009). DuLaurence then filed a petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the United States Supreme Court, which was also denied. Id. ¶ 31. DuLaurence v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 559 U.S. 1078, 130 S.Ct. 2119, 176 L.Ed.2d 741 (2010).

B. Second Superior Court Action: The State Collateral Action

DuLaurence filed a new complaint in the Superior Court in July 2010 against Liberty Mutual and Telegen. Id. ¶ 32. DuLaurence alleged " tortious interference with the practice of law," abuse of process, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud and deceit against Telegen and Liberty Mutual based on their conduct of the first Superior Court employment action. DuLaurence also sought to set aside the judgment in the employment action pursuant to Mass. R. Civ. P. 60(b). Telegen and Liberty Mutual filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to 12(b)(6) and the Massachustts anti-SLAPP statute, Mass. Gen. Laws c. 231 § 59H. Id. ¶ 37. The Superior Court granted the Special Motion to Dismiss pursuant to anti-SLAPP and also granted the Rule 12(b)(6) motion, adopting the reasoning of the defendants without issuing a written opinion. Id. ¶ 30. The court denied DuLaurence's motion for reconsideration. Telegen and Liberty Mutual filed a Request for Fees pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute, and the Superior Court granted the request, awarding defendants $29,858.82. Id. ¶ 42. The court denied DuLaurence's motion for reconsideration of this award.

The Appeals Court affirmed the Superior Court's order as to the anti-SLAPP judgment, DuLaurence v. Telegen (Collateral Action Appeal), 83 Mass.App.Ct. 1101, 979 N.E.2d 237 (Mass.App.Ct. 2012), and denied a motion for rehearing. Application for further review was denied by the Supreme Judicial Court, DuLaurence v. Telegen, 464 Mass. 1105, 982 N.E.2d 1189 (Mass. 2013), and DuLaurence's petition for Certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was also denied, DuLaurence v. Telegen, 134 S.Ct. 897, 187 L.Ed.2d 774 (U.S. 2014).

C. Instant Federal Collateral Action

DuLaurence commenced this action by filing a complaint against Liberty Mutual and Telegen on June 3, 2014. He filed an amended complaint on June 5, 2014. In essence, DuLaurence contends that Liberty Mutual and Telegen engaged in unethical practices during the first Superior Court action by withholding discovery and making incorrect and misleading statements to the court about what had been provided in discovery. DuLaurence seeks damages based on this conduct; he also seeks to have the judgments in the Employment and Collateral actions from Massachusetts state court be declared void.

The complaint alleges eleven counts as to both of the defendants, Liberty Mutual and Telegen. Count one is for an alleged violation of civil rights, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Counts two to four are counts alleging violations of federal criminal statutes. Count two alleges obstruction of justice, under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1) and (2), count three alleges conspiracy to obstruct justice, 18 U.S.C. ...


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