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Drachman v. Boston Scientific Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

November 16, 2017

AMY DRACHMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORPORATION, ANN FITZPATRICK, ELIZABETH S. HENDLER, and JEAN F. LANCE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT (#61).

          M. Page Kelley United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Introduction.

         Plaintiff 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.

         II. The Facts.

         General familiarity with the facts of this case is presumed.[1] The court will set forth abbreviated facts as background.[2]

         Boston 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.)

         After 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 4.)

         III. Procedural History.

         Plaintiff, an experienced employment attorney (#1 ¶ 5), initiated this case on June 2, 2016 by complaint against BSC and several of its executive employees.[3] 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. ¶¶ 102-08.
• Defendants “refus[ed] to provide to her the severance benefit after proffering a pretextual reason for her ...

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