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Drachman v. Boston Scientific Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

July 5, 2017

AMY DRACHMAN, Plaintiff,



         I. Introduction.

         On September 9, 2016, plaintiff Amy Drachman filed the operative first amended complaint (#20) against her former employer Boston Scientific Corporation (BSC) and several of its executive employees alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Wage Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as common law claims for breach of contract and the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Defendants moved to dismiss portions of the first amended complaint. (#21.) This court issued a Report and Recommendation in which it recommended allowing defendants' motion in part and denying it in part (#28), which recommendation was adopted in full by the district judge to whom this case is assigned, O'Toole, J. See (#34.)

         Presently before the court is Drachman's motion for leave to file a second amended complaint (##30, 31).[1] Plaintiff seeks to amend the complaint by adding a claim against BSC for violation of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et seq., along with facts in support. See (#30); see also (#35-1, revised proposed second amended complaint.) Defendants[2] responded in opposition (##32, 40). At this juncture the motion stands ready for decision.

         II. The Facts.

         General familiarity with the facts of this case is presumed.[3] The court will set forth abbreviated facts as alleged in the revised proposed second amended complaint in order to set the stage.

         BSC is a medical device manufacturer and Drachman's former employer. (#35-1 ¶¶ 5, 7.) Plaintiff began working for BSC on September 1, 2010 as BSC's Director of Employment Policy and Compliance. Id. ¶¶ 5, 11. Drachman has a medical condition that, in 2013, resulted in her taking a leave of absence from work and limited her to working in a part-time capacity after that. Id. ¶¶ 12-21. Drachman alleges that BSC failed to make appropriate accommodations for her and ultimately terminated her because of her disability. See generally id.

         III. Standard of Review.

         Rule 15, Fed. R. Civ. P., provides in relevant part that “[t]he court should freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires.” The inquiry here is whether Drachman's proposed amendments would be futile.[4] See Hatch v. Dep't for Children, Youth & Their Families, 274 F.3d 12, 19 (1st Cir. 2001) (“futility is fully sufficient to justify the denial of a motion to amend”); Correa-Martinez v. Arrillaga-Belendez, 903 F.2d 49, 59 (1st Cir. 1990) (“Where an amendment would be futile or would serve no legitimate purpose, the district court should not needlessly prolong matters.”). The First Circuit has explained that the court's leave to amend analysis is context specific. See Nikitine v. Wilmington Trust Co., 715 F.3d 388, 390 (1st Cir. 2013) (addressing a district court's decision to deny a motion for leave to amend, the court noted that “[e]verything depends on context.”).

If leave to amend is sought before discovery is complete and neither party has moved for summary judgment, the accuracy of the ‘futility' label is gauged by reference to the liberal criteria of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). See Glassman v. Computervision Corp., 90 F.3d 617, 623 (1st Cir. 1996). In this situation, amendment is not deemed futile as long as the proposed amended complaint sets forth a general scenario which, if proven, would entitle the plaintiff to relief against the defendant on some cognizable theory.

Hatch, 274 F.3d at 19; Juarez v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc., 708 F.3d 269, 276 (1st Cir. 2013) (same).

         Applying the Rule 12(b)(6) standard, the court must “‘accept as true all well-pleaded facts set forth in the [proposed] complaint and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the pleader's favor.'” Haley v. City of Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011) (quoting Artuso v.Vertex Pharm., Inc., 637 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2011)). When considering the viability of a proposed amendment, the court “may augment these facts and inferences with data points gleaned from documents incorporated by reference [. . .], matters of public record, and facts susceptible to judicial notice.” Haley, 657 F.3d at 46 (citing In re Colonial Mortg. Bankers Corp., 324 F.3d 12, 15 (1st Cir. 2003)).

         In order to pass muster under Rule 12(b)(6), Drachman must provide “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” See Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The “obligation to provide the grounds of [plaintiff's] entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Id. at 555 (internal quotation marks and alteration omitted). The “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” and to cross the “line from conceivable to plausible.” Id. at 555, 570.

         “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). However, the court is “‘not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'” Id. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Simply put, the court ...

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