United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper United States District Judge
Frances Hines (“Hines”), proceeding pro
se, asserts claims against Defendant Boston Public
Schools (“BPS”) arising under Mass. Gen. L. c.
151B, § 4, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (the “ADA”),
and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701 et
seq., for discrimination, retaliation and failure to
accommodate based upon her alleged disability, as well as
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and for breach of
contract. D. 22. BPS has moved to dismiss the amended
complaint. D. 24. For the reasons stated below, the Court
ALLOWS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART BPS's motion.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
Court must determine if the facts alleged “plausibly
narrate a claim for relief.” Schatz v. Republican
State Leadership Comm., 669 F.3d 50, 55 (1st Cir. 2012)
(internal citation omitted). Reading the complaint “as
a whole, ” the Court must conduct a two-step,
context-specific inquiry. García-Catalán v.
United States, 734 F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013). First,
the Court must perform a close reading of the claim to
distinguish the factual allegations from the conclusory legal
allegations contained therein. Id. Factual
allegations must be accepted as true, while conclusory legal
conclusions are not entitled credit. Id. Second, the
Court must determine whether the factual allegations present
a “reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the conduct alleged.” Haley v. City of
Boston, 657 F.3d 39, 46 (1st Cir. 2011). In sum, the
complaint must provide sufficient factual allegations for the
Court to find the claim “plausible on its face.”
García-Catalán, 734 F.3d at 103. The
Court notes that “the fact that [a plaintiff] filed the
complaint pro se militates in favor of a liberal
reading” of her allegations. Rodi v. S. New England
Sch. of Law, 389 F.3d 5, 13 (1st Cir. 2004).
the factual allegations in the complaint as true, as required
at this stage, the Court summarizes the following facts.
Hines is a handicapped person, with a physical impairment
including a weak left leg and stiff knee and a mental
impairment including diagnoses of a learning disability and
attention deficit disorder. D. 22, ¶ 1. Hines is an
employee of BPS and worked at the Ellis School as a
paraprofessional starting in September 2004. Id.,
¶¶ 2, 4. Hines suffered an injury that caused her
physical disability in 2005. Id., ¶ 6.
Hines's doctor diagnosed her with attention deficit
disorder and a learning disability, memorializing that
diagnosis on May 12, 2010, and recommending that she receive
an accommodation at work. Id., ¶ 10. Hines
informed BPS of her diagnoses and injuries, and requested a
reasonable accommodation, but was still assigned to a special
education class, that to reach, she had to take stairs.
Id., ¶¶ 11-12.
November 2011, Hines faced alleged interference and abuse in
her work from multiple teachers, who would assign her to
supervise special education students at recess while also
revoking outdoor recess for those students, and would
“verbally berate” Hines in front of those
students, and threaten to make Hines leave the school.
Id., ¶¶ 8-9. BPS was aware that students
in special education classes were more unruly, more likely to
assault other students and teachers, and that Hines, as a
disabled individual herself, would be more likely to be a
target of this behavior. Id., ¶ 14. Hines
suffered increased pain and anxiety from these experiences.
Id., ¶ 9. In January 2012, Hines filed a
complaint with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary
& Secondary Education about the harassment by the
teachers. Id., ¶ 13. In February 2012, a
student in her class physically assaulted Hines, causing her
injuries that required a medical leave. Id.,
¶¶ 15-16. Upon returning to work, Hines again
raised the issue of the verbal abuse she had endured from
teachers and further requested that she be transferred to
another class. Id., ¶ 17. The school principal
denied her request and a student in Hines's class
assaulted her again. Id., ¶¶ 18-19. On
November 24, 2015, BPS notified Hines that it was willing to
modify her work assignment in response to her request for a
reasonable accommodation, including offering access to
strategies to help Hines reduce her stress and anxiety
levels. Id., ¶¶ 19-21. BPS did not modify
Hines's work assignment and she continued to work in the
same class. Id., ¶ 22. At some later point,
after Hines continued to complain about harassment, BPS
transferred Hines to the Tynan School. Id., ¶
instituted this action on May 29, 2015. D. 1. On August 30,
2016, the Court allowed BPS' motion to dismiss the
original two-page complaint (with two-page addendum) without
prejudice, allowing Hines leave to file an amended complaint.
D. 18. Hines has since filed an amended complaint. D. 22. BPS
has now moved to dismiss the amended complaint. D. 24.
As Alleged, the Claims in the Amended Complaint are Not
dismissing Hines's first complaint, the Court determined
that her claims, accruing at the latest on February 15, 2012,
D. 1 at 5, may be time-barred because her complaint was filed
on May 29, 2015, beyond the three-year statute of
limitations, D. 18.
contends that Hines's her claims remain time-barred.
Under Chapter 151B, the ADA, and the Rehabilitation Act,
Hines must have filed a charge with the Massachusetts
Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) or
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
within three-hundred days of the alleged unlawful employment
practice. Mass. Gen. L. c. 151B, § 5; 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(e)(1); see 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a)
(applying "the powers, remedies, and procedures" of
section 2000e-5 to the ADA); 29 U.S.C. § 794a (applying
same to the Rehabilitation Act). In addition, Hines's
claims are subject ...