United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO
Dennis Saylor, IV United States District Judge.
a case relating to a claim for workers' compensation.
Plaintiff Ed (Ite) Chen alleges that defendants Hartford
Insurance Co., Inc. and Twin City Fire Insurance Company,
sued as “Twin Cities Fires and Casualty Insurance
Company, ” wrongfully failed to pay his workers'
compensation claim; engaged in unfair and deceptive trade
practices in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 93A; defamed
him, allegedly in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 176D,
§ 3(3); and refused to conduct a reasonable
investigation of his claims in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws
ch. 176D, § 3(9)(d). Plaintiff is proceeding pro
se. Because adjudication of plaintiff's claims in
this Court is barred by the Massachusetts Workers'
Compensation Act (“MWCA”), defendants' motion
to dismiss will be granted.
complaint alleges that Ed (Ite) Chen was employed by Viceroy
Chemical in 2013 as an analytical chemist. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ L, 4, 11). It alleges that he was exposed to
toxic chemicals while working at a property in Fall River
owned by Quantum Catalytic and operated by Continuum Energy
Technologies, due to poor ventilation in his workspace.
(Id. ¶¶ jdx.1, B, C, I, 10,
It further alleges that Continuum employee Thomas Godfrey was
in charge of safety but discouraged Chen from filing a claim
or going to the hospital. (Id. ¶ A). And it
alleges that Chen suffered various types of neurological,
physical, and emotional damage as a result. (Id.
¶¶ 28, 33).
Hartford Insurance Co., Inc. and Twin City Fire Insurance Co.
are insurance companies; Twin City is a subsidiary of
Hartford. (Def. Mem. in Supp. Mot. to Dismiss at 1 n.1).
According to the complaint, Quantum Catalytic, Continuum, and
Viceroy were insured by Twin City. (Am. Compl. ¶¶
5, 8, 20). A company called Transformative Energy
Technologies Investments, LLC allegedly “introduced
Chen to Continuum Energy Technology” and was insured by
Hartford itself. (Id. ¶¶ 12-13).
complaint admits that “Chen's personal injuries
fall within the jurisdiction of workers comp, ” but
alleges that “Chen is pressing his claim outside the
workers compensation system after exhausting administrative
avenues within the system for his workers comp claim.”
(Am. Compl. ¶¶ 20, 24). Another allegation suggests
that Chen did not follow the administrative process to
completion: “Chen exhausted all procedural avenues
within department of industrial accidents as he was summarily
denied advancement to the conference state by the
conciliator, who failed to inform Chen of his right to appeal
her decision until the appeal period lapsed.” (Am.
Compl. ¶ 27). And certain other allegations in the
complaint suggest that Chen is choosing not to go forward
under the workers' compensation scheme because he finds
it inadequate. For example, the complaint alleges that
Harford has an interest in denying Chen's workers'
compensation claim because it also insured the parties
allegedly responsible for Chen's injury- Quantum
Catalytics and Continuum. (Am. Compl. ¶ 15). It further
alleges that “[b]ecause the Hartford and their
subsidiary the [T]win [C]ities [F]ire [I]nsurance [C]ompany
omitted key medical information to the workers comp system
and to their own lawyers, adjusters, and independent medical
examiners, failed to conduct any investigation, and had
conflicts of interest with respect to their other clients in
attempting to deny Chen's claims, Chen cannot press his
claim through the MGL 152 worker's comp system.”
(Am. Compl. ¶ 17). And it complains that “[t]he
cozy relationship between the workers comp system, the
lawyers in workers comp, the insurance companies with the
lawyers, and lastly the high powered investor who partnered
with Chen and purchases extensive insurance with the Hartford
. . . merit a civil case outside the workers comp system
makes it impossible [f]or Chen to receive a fair hearing
within the worker's compensation system.” (Am.
Compl. ¶ 19).
complaint further alleges that Hartford failed to investigate
his claim and suppressed medical evidence that he submitted.
(Am. Compl. ¶¶ 21, 51, 57-59). It alleges that
Hartford only contacted one witness, (id. ¶ E,
52); that Hartford did not give the independent medical
examiner any legible medical records, (id.
¶¶ 60-61, 65); that Hartford failed to give its
lawyers copies of the letters written by the neurologist and
toxicologist that Chen hired to document his injuries,
(id. ¶¶ 56-59, 65); that it forced him to
litigate to have his claim investigated, (id. ¶
70); and that it failed to give him a reasonable explanation
for its denial of coverage, (id. ¶ 74).
the complaint alleges that two of Hartford's lawyers told
the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents
(“DIA”) conciliator that he was lying about his
injuries, and “defamed Chen to the DIA conciliator by
telling her Chen was the CEO of a company that had run out of
cash and it was highly suspicious, despite the fact the [sic]
after Chen made his claim, [V]iceroy Chemical continued to
operate and raise money, and perform patent activity for
another three years after Chen's injury, making blatantly
false and misleading postulations despite contradictor[y]
evidence which were known or should have been known to
him.” (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 34, 36, 43).
seeks “a preliminary injunction for the Hartford to
provide medical evaluation of [his] condition by appointing
an independent neurologist, occupational therapist and
toxicologist to evaluate the physical damage to Chen due to
his exposure to gases which are banned by the Geneva protocol
on gas warfare, ” monetary damages including $540,
000-three years of the salary listed on his workers'
compensation policy-and a lifetime loss of salary, treble
damages under Chapter 93A, and at least $1.62 million in
exemplary damages. (Am. Compl. ¶ 23, 29, 30, pp. 9-10).
filed this action on April 6, 2017. An amended complaint was
deemed to be filed on August 4, 2017. (ECF 18). Defendants
filed a motion to dismiss on September 1. Plaintiff filed his
opposition on September 22, and defendants filed a reply on
October 5. A motion hearing was held on October 11. Although
plaintiff was provided with telephone dial-in information, he
did not appear at the hearing either in person or by
have submitted detailed facts related to plaintiff's
three administrative claims filed with the Massachusetts
Department of Industrial Accidents (“DIA”) and a
prior state-court action in New York. Because the Court
concludes that it need not rely on any facts related to those
proceedings, it expresses no opinion as to whether those
facts are appropriately part of the record at this early