United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON AWARD OF
LIQUIDATED DAMAGES AND FRONT PAY
KATHERINE A. ROBERTSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Boadi ("Plaintiff") sued her former employer, the
Center for Human Development ("CHD"), and her
former supervisor, Candy Pennington (collectively
"Defendants"), for interfering with her rights
under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA" or
"Act"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654, and for
violating other statutory rights by terminating her
employment on April 21, 2013 while she was hospitalized due
to the sudden onset of a mental impairment. After the parties
consented to this court's jurisdiction, see 28
U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed.R.Civ.P. 73, Defendants'
summary judgment motion was allowed, in part, and denied as
to Plaintiff's FMLA interference claim (Dkt. No. 84). On
June 23, 2017, after a three day trial on the FMLA claim, the
jury found in Plaintiff's favor on liability and awarded
her $112, 592.34 for lost wages and $29, 448.90 for lost
benefits from April 21, 2013 through the date of the verdict,
for a total of $142.041.24 (Dkt. No. 129).
case now comes before the court for a determination of
whether Plaintiff is entitled to liquidated damages and front
pay. See 29 U.S.C. § 2617(a)(1)(A)(iii) and
(a)(1)(B). After trial, the parties presented the court with
testimony on the question of front pay, but did not proffer
additional evidence regarding liquidated damages. For the
reasons that follow, the court awards Plaintiff $142, 041.24
plus interest in liquidated damages and denies her request
for front pay.
the jury found that Plaintiff had a "serious health
condition, " as defined by the Act, that she or her
spokesperson provided adequate notice of her need for FMLA
leave, and that Defendants interfered with Plaintiff's
FMLA rights, the court recites the trial evidence in the
light most favorable to her (Dkt. No. 129). See Perdoni
Bros., Inc. v. Concrete Sys., Inc., 35 F.3d 1, 5 (1st
Cir. 1994) ("'[W]hen a party has a right to a jury
trial on an issue involved in a legal claim, the judge is of
course bound by the jury's determination of that issue as
it affects his disposition of an accompanying equitable
claim.'") (quoting Lincoln v. Bd. of
Regents, 697 F.2d 928, 934 (11th Cir.)). See also
Curtis v. Loether, 415 U.S. 189, 196 n.11 (1974). In
2003, Plaintiff began employment as a direct care worker at
CHD's Bonnyview program, a group home where she provided
support to the four male residents with mental impairments.
Darlean Thomas was Plaintiff's direct supervisor.
Pennington was Bonnyview's program manager and
Thomas' supervisor. Both Thomas and Pennington were
familiar with the FMLA, but had not received FMLA training.
The Bonnyview program supervisor, Jeffrey Trant, supervised
Pennington. Trant had received FMLA training.
the seven day period beginning on Sunday, April 14, 2013,
Plaintiff was scheduled to work on Wednesday, April 17,
Thursday, April 18, Friday, April 19, Saturday April 20, and
Sunday, April 21, 2013. She was hospitalized from April 15
through April 24, 2013.
son, James Takyi, transported her to the Mercy Medical Center
("Mercy") emergency room on Monday, April 15, 2013,
due to mental health issues that arose suddenly on April 14.
Because Plaintiff wanted Takyi to inform CHD of her status,
Takyi called his friend, Raymond Frimpong, who worked at CHD,
told him that Plaintiff was at the Mercy emergency room
because she was very sick, and asked who he should contact at
CHD to report his mother's hospitalization. Frimpong gave
Takyi the number of the on-call supervisor for Bonnyview, who
Takyi called and notified that his mother was very ill, was
in the emergency room, and was not able to work.
was transported to Pembroke Hospital ("Pembroke"),
a psychiatric facility, the next day, April 16, 2013.
Pennington called Takyi on that date and inquired about
Plaintiff's status. Takyi reported that Plaintiff was
hospitalized and was very sick. He advised Pennington that he
was uncertain when Plaintiff would return to work. Pennington
told him to have Plaintiff call when she was able to do so.
Takyi spoke to Thomas on the telephone the following day,
April 17, 2013, he reported that Plaintiff was very sick, was
in the Mercy hospital,  and was not able to work. Takyi was
unsure when his mother would be capable of returning to work.
Thomas spoke to Takyi a second time on that date and directed
him to call CHD's human resources ("HR")
department regarding short term disability benefits
("STDB") if Plaintiff expected to be absent from
work for more than five days.
Thomas' advice, Takyi contacted Louise Ochrymowicz in the
HR department and reported that his mother was hospitalized.
Ochrymowicz, who had limited FMLA training, prepared a STDB
packet and FMLA paperwork, including FMLA guidelines, which
she signed and dated on April 17, 2013. The STDB packet,
dated April 17, 2013, acknowledged that CHD had been informed
that Plaintiff was on a medical leave of absence due to a
non-work related illness.
was transported from Pembroke to South Shore Hospital
("South Shore") due to injuries she sustained when
she fell while speaking to Takyi on the telephone on
Thursday, April 18, 2013. Pennington called Takyi as he drove
to South Shore. She was angry and asked whether Plaintiff
could speak. When Takyi responded that she was able to speak,
Pennington told Takyi that it was not acceptable for him to
call CHD instead of his mother and told him not to call
again. Pennington also directed Takyi to have Plaintiff
obtain a medical certificate from the hospital. Pennington
did not ask further questions about Plaintiff's
to Takyi, Plaintiff could speak, but she was unintelligible.
Plaintiff told the jury that she was not able to call CHD
during her hospital stay. After reviewing Plaintiff's
treatment records, Dr. Kadushin, Plaintiff's expert
witness, opined that Plaintiff was not capable of making
decisions and following CHD's policies and procedures
while she was hospitalized.
April 19, 2013, Carol Fitzgerald, the vice president of HR,
made contemporaneous notes of her telephone conversation with
Pennington, who reported to Fitzgerald that ...