United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE A THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT (#61).
Page Kelley United States Magistrate Judge.
Amy Drachman, pro se, moves the court to allow a third
amended complaint to add a claim for “interference with
her right to receive severance benefits in violation of
[ERISA and the ADA].” (#61 at 1.) This would be
plaintiff's fourth complaint since she initiated this
action in June 2016. (#1.) Plaintiff's proposed third
amended complaint “aris[es] under the same set of facts
alleged in the Second Amended Complaint.” (#61 at 2.)
The motion reflects a lack of diligence and is brought after
undue delay. Therefore, for the reasons set out below, this
court denies plaintiff's motion.
familiarity with the facts of this case is
presumed. The court will set forth abbreviated facts
Scientific Corporation (BSC) is a medical device manufacturer
and plaintiff's former employer. (#46 ¶¶ 5, 7.)
Plaintiff began working for BSC on September 1, 2010 as
BSC's Director of Employment Policy and Compliance.
Id. ¶¶ 5, 11. Plaintiff 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. ¶¶ 12-23.
Plaintiff alleges that BSC failed to make appropriate
accommodations for her and ultimately terminated her because
of her disability. See generally Id. In her proposed
third amended complaint, plaintiff also alleges that her
termination was mischaracterized as a non-layoff, so that BSC
could avoid paying severance. (#61-1, Count III at 18-21.)
her termination, plaintiff requested severance benefits under
BSC's ERISA plan in September 2015 via a letter from her
attorney. Id. Ex. 8 at 1. BSC denied the claim on
January 29, 2016, finding in part that Drachman's
employment was terminated by reason of the limitations
imposed by her disability, and not due to anything that could
be characterized as a layoff . Id. In its denial,
BSC stated that if plaintiff's claim were denied again
after appeal to the benefits committee, plaintiff would be
given “an explanation of [her] right to bring a civil
court action under Section 502(a) of the Employee Retirement
Income Security Act. . . .” Id. Ex. 8 at 5.
Plaintiff emailed BSC to request additional information
“in connection with [her] appeal” on March 15,
2016. Id. Ex. 9. BSC replied by letter on April 14,
2016, responding to plaintiff's requests for documents
and letting her know where her appeal should be sent.
Id. Ex. 10. In the more than 18 months since the
letter was sent, Drachman has not filed an appeal. (#63 at
an experienced employment attorney (#1 ¶ 5), initiated
this case on June 2, 2016 by complaint against BSC and
several of its executive employees. Id. Plaintiff
alleged claims under the Family Medical Leave Act, the
Massachusetts Wage Act, and the Americans with Disabilities
Act (ADA), as well as common law claims for breach of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing relating to her
termination from the company. Id. Plaintiff's
severance-related claims included:
• Plaintiff was wrongfully denied severance that she had
applied for “after she fully understood that her
involuntary termination was not really due to defendants'
inability to accommodate her part time schedule.”
Id. ¶¶ 74, 76, 79-84.
• Her termination “was inaccurately characterized
by Defendants as an inability to accommodate instead of what
it was: a pretense.” Id. ¶ 75.
• Plaintiff's job had been
“restructured” and defendants had terminated her
and denied her severance because of her FMLA leave, whereas
others had received severance “regardless of whether
the employee satisfied the severance plan's narrow
definition of severance-triggering events.”
Id. ¶¶ 81, 83, 87-88.
• Plaintiff's denial of severance violated the ADA,
id. ¶¶ 96-101, and constituted a breach of
the duty of good faith and fair dealing. Id.
• Defendants “refus[ed] to provide to her the
severance benefit after proffering a pretextual reason for