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Ferrara v. Voyport II, LLC

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

April 7, 2017

JOHN FERRARA, Plaintiff,
v.
VOYPORT II, LLC, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS

          LEO T. SOROKIN, United States District Judge

         Defendants have moved to dismiss this case for lack of personal jurisdiction.[1] Doc. 7. For the reasons that follow, the Court ALLOWS IN PART and DENIES IN PART Defendants' Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         From September 8, 2014, until March 31, 2015, Plaintiff John Ferrara worked for Defendants Voyport II, LLC (“Voyport”), a telecommunications company; its parent company, Voyport Group Holdings, LLC (“VGH”); and Voyport employees Allen Preece, Adam Conyers, and Jay Rosenblatt. Doc. 1 at 7-11. Plaintiff worked for Defendants pursuant to a contract executed in August 2014. Id. at 10. Plaintiff asserts the contract illegally “misclassified him as an independent contractor when he was in fact an employee.” Doc. 13 at 1. He alleges that, starting in November 2014, Defendants “failed to pay [him] his monthly salary.” Doc. 1 at 11.

         He further alleges that, in March 2015, after he complained to Defendants about their failure to pay, they fired him in retaliation under the pretext that he had been insubordinate. Id. Plaintiff is suing all Defendants for (1) violating the Massachusetts Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148; (2) violating the Massachusetts Minimum Wage Law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, § 1; (3) retaliating against him in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148A; (4) breach of contract; and (5) unjust enrichment.[2] Id. at 13.

         II. RELEVANT JURISDICTIONAL FACTS[3]

         Plaintiff's “employment relationship with Defendants” began when Conyers “presented [him] with a contract, ” which was addressed to Plaintiff at his home in Medford. Doc. 13-1 (Affidavit of John Ferrara) at 1. Conyers emailed Plaintiff “multiple versions of the contract” and “negotiated the terms of the contract” with Plaintiff. Id. Plaintiff and Conyers then “signed the final version of the contract.” Id.

         During all relevant times, Plaintiff “resided and worked for Voyport in Massachusetts[, ] and sent and received email and telephone communications” in Massachusetts. Doc. 13-1 at 1. Plaintiff's title was Regional Sales Director of New England. Id. Plaintiff's “work for Defendants was focused on Voyport's Massachusetts business.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff “was given a list of Massachusetts leads to contact and worked with clients and potential clients in Massachusetts.” Id. Plaintiff “received and sent communications regularly to the individual defendants in this case relating to [their] work” together. Id. Plaintiff sent invoices for his services to Conyers, from Massachusetts. Id. “[W]hen Defendants did not pay [Plaintiff] for [his] work, [he] communicated with Conyers by both telephone and email to attempt to obtain payment.” Id.

         Plaintiff “also communicated with Defendant Allen Preece about Defendants' failure to pay, ” and Preece “communicated to [Plaintiff] about the possibility of resolving [his] claim for unpaid wages.”[4] Id.

         Conyers “terminated [Plaintiff's] employment with Defendants, by email dated March 27, 2015, which was sent to [Plaintiff] while [he] was residing and working in Massachusetts.” Id.

         Voyport (1) is a Delaware corporation, with its principal place of business in McLean, Virginia”; (2) “has no offices, customers or employees in Massachusetts”; (3) “is not registered to do business in Massachusetts”; (4) “has never paid taxes in Massachusetts”; and (5) did not send anyone to Massachusetts to negotiate or sign the August 2014 contract. Doc. 8 at 2; Doc. 9 at 2.

         VGH (1) is a Delaware corporation that is merely a holding company, not an “operating entity”; (2) “is not registered to do business in Massachusetts”; (3) “has never paid taxes in Massachusetts”; and (4) has never had a contract with Plaintiff. Doc. 8 at 2; Doc. 9 at 2, 4.

         Preece (1) is Voyport's chairman and chief executive officer (CEO); (2) is currently the sole employee of Voyport; (3) has lived in Canada “since 1979, and at all times while [he] was Chairman and CEO of Voyport”; (4) has “never traveled to Massachusetts for business reasons”; (5) has “never owned real or personal property in Massachusetts”; (6) has “not traveled to Massachusetts for any reason since the mid-1990s”; (7) has “never paid taxes in Massachusetts”; and (8) has “no professional licenses or registrations in Massachusetts.” Doc. 8 at 1.

         Conyers (1) was, at all relevant times, Voyport's chief financial officer (CFO); (2) has lived in Canada “for the last 30 years, and at all times while [he] was CFO of Voyport”; (3) has “not traveled to Massachusetts, for business or for personal reasons[, ] in the past 10 years, and never while the CFO of Voyport”; (4) has “never owned real or personal property in Massachusetts”; (5) has “never paid taxes ...


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