United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. CASPER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Adnan Yassin a/k/a Eddie Yassin (“Yassin”) has
filed this lawsuit against Defendants AR Enterprises, LLC
(“AR”) and Adnan Rahim (“Rahim”)
(collectively, “Defendants”), alleging claims for
breach of contract (“Count I”), quantum meruit
(“Count II”) and forced labor in violation of the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (“TVPRA”)
under 18 U.S.C. § 1589 (“Count III”). D.
1-1. Defendants have moved for partial summary judgment as to
all Counts against AR and Count III against Rahim. D. 39. For
the reasons stated below, the Court ALLOWS IN PART AND DENIES
IN PART the motion.
Standard of Review
Court grants summary judgment where there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the undisputed facts
demonstrate that the moving party is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A fact is
material if it carries with it the potential to affect the
outcome of the suit under the applicable law.”
Santiago-Ramos v. Centennial P.R. Wireless Corp.,
217 F.3d 46, 52 (1st Cir. 2000) (quoting Sánchez
v. Alvarado, 101 F.3d 223, 227 (1st Cir. 1996)). The
movant bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact. Carmona v. Toledo,
215 F.3d 124, 132 (1st Cir. 2000); see Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). If the movant meets
its burden, the non-moving party may not rest on the
allegations or denials in her pleadings, Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986), but
“must, with respect to each issue on which she would
bear the burden of proof at trial, demonstrate that a trier
of fact could reasonably resolve that issue in her
favor.” Borges ex rel. S.M.B.W. v. Serrano-
Isern, 605 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2010). “As a
general rule, that requires the production of evidence that
is ‘significant[ly] probative.'” Id.
(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249) (alteration in
original). The Court “view[s] the record in the light
most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing reasonable
inferences in his favor.” Noonan v. Staples,
Inc., 556 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2009).
parties submitted statements of fact. D. 41; D. 42 at 2-5.
Yassin did not respond to Defendants' statement of
undisputed facts. However, Yassin's statement of facts,
D. 42 at 2-5, and his affidavit, D. 42-1, reflect specific
evidence indicating a dispute about some material facts.
Accordingly, the Court considers the material facts submitted
by both parties.
Yassin and Rahim moved to the United States from Syria in
1991. D. 41, ¶¶ 1-2. In 2011, Yassin received
Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”), a temporary
immigration status offered to foreign nationals temporarily
prevented from returning safely to their home country due to
temporary conditions such as ongoing conflict and
environmental disaster. Id., ¶ 25; D. 42,
¶ 2; see Temporary Protected Status, United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services,
(last updated December 28, 2017). Yassin and Rahim met in or
around 1991, at which time Rahim helped Yassin to get a job
as a dishwasher. D. 41, ¶¶ 3-4. Yassin spent time
with Rahim's family and the two men were on friendly
terms. Id., ¶¶ 5-10. Beginning in 1994
until sometime after 2000, Yassin sustained physical injuries
as a result of a mugging, injuries from which caused him to
be sent to the hospital, as well as a workplace accident.
Id., ¶¶ 11-13. Yassin was totally
incapacitated by his workplace injury. Id., ¶
13. While incapacitated, Yassin could not support himself
financially and lived with a mutual friend of his and
Rahim's, Ousama Aamar (“Aamar”).
Id., ¶¶ 15-16. Aamar and Rahim loaned
Yassin money during this time. Id., ¶¶ 17,
2001, Rahim opened a gas station as a sole proprietorship
located in Arlington, Massachusetts (“Arlington
Gulf”). Id., ¶ 14. On December 14, 2012,
Rahim formed AR to cease operating Arlington Gulf as a sole
proprietorship. Id., ¶ 36. Yassin was employed
at Arlington Gulf from May 2009 until November 2012. D. 42,
¶ 3. While employed at Arlington Gulf, Yassin drove
himself to and from work each day. D. 41, ¶ 27.
Yassin's responsibilities at the gas station included
pumping gas, selling items in the snack shop, cleaning,
keeping inventory and driving customers' cars to various
off-site mechanics. D. 41-7 at 6; D. 42, ¶ 4. Yassin was
paid $10 an hour in cash for pumping gas, but was not paid
for his other responsibilities. D. 41-7 at 6; D. 42, ¶
7. Yassin generally worked from noon until 9 p.m. pumping
gas, but frequently stayed later or arrived earlier to
fulfill his other unpaid responsibilities. D. 42-1,
¶¶ 5-6. Defendants dispute that Yassin was employed
at Arlington Gulf, but do not offer any admissible evidence
in support of their position asserted at the motion hearing
that Yassin was “helping” at Arlington Gulf,
rather than performing work commanded by another. See
United States v. Callahan, 801 F.3d 606, 620 (6th Cir.
2015), cert. denied sub nom. Hunt v. United States,
136 S.Ct. 1477 (2016) (defining “labor or
services” for purposes of TVPRA). Accordingly, for the
purposes of the summary judgment motion, the Court considers
the term “labor or services . . . in accord with its
ordinary meaning.” Callahan, 801 F.3d at 620
(quoting United States v. Marcus, 628 F.3d 36, 44
(2d Cir. 2010)).
employee at Arlington Gulf who witnessed Yassin and
Rahim's interactions during this time had not witnessed
anything of a negative tenor. D. 41, ¶ 28. This is
disputed by Yassin, who recalled Rahim asking him to pick up
oxycodone prescriptions from a pharmacy on his behalf, which
Yassin refused to do. Id., ¶ 31. Yassin
testified that when he refused, on both occasions Rahim
called him a “slave” and “mule, ” and
threatened to report him to immigration. D. 41-7 at 8; D. 42,
¶ 11. Rahim testified that he did not threaten Yassin.
D. 42-2 at 3. The nature of these insults is also disputed,
because Aamar characterizes the insults as jokes between
friends, D. 41-4 at 5, while another employee said that he
considers the word “slave” in Arabic to be an
insult that he does not often hear used. D. 41-6 at 3. On
multiple other occasions, Yassin asked Rahim to be paid for
all of his responsibilities working at Arlington Gulf, and in
response Rahim said that if he tried to do anything about the
nonpayment, Rahim would report Yassin to immigration and he
would be deported because he did not have a green card. D.
41-7 at 8. As explained above, this is disputed by
Rahim's testimony. D. 42 -2 at 3. Yassin testified that
he took these threats seriously, believing that without a
green card his immigration status would not allow him to
legally work elsewhere. D. 42-1, ¶ 9. Rahim testified
that he believed Yassin was subject to a pending deportation
case and that he knew Yassin was concerned about being
deported. D. 42-2 at 3.
instituted this action in Middlesex Superior Court on October
24, 2016. D. 1-1. Defendants removed the case to this Court
on November 14, 2016. D. 1. The parties proceeded with
discovery. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment. D.
39. The Court heard the parties on the pending motion on
November 1, 2017, and took this matter under advisement. D.
AR - Corporate Existence ...