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Alicea v. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Corp.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

March 5, 2018

DAVID ALICEA, Plaintiff,
v.
THE SPAULDING REHABILITATION HOSPITAL CORPORATION and DANIEL CLARKE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Denise J. Casper, United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff David Alicea (“Alicea”) has filed this lawsuit against Defendants Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Corp. (“Spaulding”) and Daniel Clarke (“Clarke”), arising out of alleged conduct by the Defendants while Alicea was employed by Spaulding and supervised by Clarke. Alicea asserts claims under Title VII (Count I); the Family and Medical Leave Act (Count II); the Americans with Disabilities Act (Count III); Mass. Gen. L. c. 151B (Count IV); and claims for intentional interference with contractual relations (Count V) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI). D. 1 at 7-12. He asserts the first three claims against Spaulding, Count IV, the Chapter 151B claim against both Defendants and Counts V and VI only against Clarke. Clarke now moves to dismiss all the claims asserted against him; namely, the claims for violation of Chapter 151B (Count IV), intentional interference with contractual relations (Count V) and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI). D. 12-2 at 1. Clarke also moves to strike certain exhibits from Alicea's opposition. D. 14. For the reasons stated below, the Court DENIES the Clarke's motion to strike, D. 14, and GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Clarke's motion to dismiss, D. 12.

         II. Standard of Review

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must include “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); García-Catalán v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013). The Court “must assume the truth of all well-plead[ed] facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable inferences therefrom.” Ruiz v. Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp., 496 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2007).

         III. Factual Background

         The following facts are based upon the allegations in Alicea's complaint, D. 1, and are accepted as true for the consideration of the motion to dismiss. Alicea began working as a cook for Spaulding on or about September 17, 2012, reporting to the Executive Chef, William Landolfi (“Landolfi”). D. 1 ¶ 7. Throughout his employment with Spaulding, Alicea suffered from a medical condition that required him to take short absences from work once or twice a month. D. 1 ¶ 13. Landolfi accommodated Alicea's absences and gave Alicea a positive performance review. D. 1 ¶ 15. On or about May 26, 2013, Alicea was promoted to the position of First Cook. D. 1 ¶ 8.

         In or around mid-2014, Clarke became the new Executive Chef. D. 1 ¶ 16. Clarke criticized Alicea for his intermittent absences and provided Alicea with “a false, negative performance evaluation." D. 1 ¶¶ 17-23. Alicea lodged complaints about Clarke's behavior with Joseph Downey (“Downey”), a “Senior Human Resources Generalist, ” but no one acted on those complaints. D. 1 ¶¶ 25-28. On or about December 15, 2014, Clarke wrote a written warning to Alicea, stating that Alicea had left work without informing Clarke, even though Alicea states that he had informed Clarke that he was leaving work. D. 1 ¶ 29.

         On or about January 19, 2015, Alicea was sexually assaulted by a coworker identified only as “Remy.” D. 1 ¶¶ 31, 38. Alicea did not report the incident to Spaulding at the time. D. 1 ¶ 35. On January 22, 2015, the next day Alicea was scheduled to work, Clarke and Downey informed Alicea that Remy had accused Alicea of threatening Remy on or about January 19, 2015. D. 1 ¶ 36. Alicea then reported that Remy had sexually assaulted him. D. 1 ¶ 37. Upon hearing Alicea's report, Clarke laughed at Alicea and Downey had a humorous expression on his face. Id. Downey responded that Remy's actions did not constitute sexual assault. D. 1 ¶ 38. On or about January 29, 2015, Alicea was terminated from his job at Spaulding and Spaulding stated that reason was the threat against Remy. D. 1 ¶ 40-41. Alicea alleges that the stated reason was pretext and the actual reason was unlawful discrimination against Alicea based upon his medical condition and retaliation against Alicea. D. 1 ¶ 41.

         On or about January 29, 2015, Alicea filed a charge of discrimination against Spaulding with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). D. 1 ¶ 47. In the charge, Alicea did not name Clarke as a respondent, but did discuss Clarke's actions in the substance of the charge. D. 1 ¶ 48. After Spaulding filed its statement with MCAD, which Clarke signed and affirmed, Alicea filed a rebuttal in which he alleged that Clarke acted with animus against him, harassed him, discriminated against him and unlawfully retaliated against him. D. 1 ¶¶ 49-50.

         IV. Procedural History

         Alicea instituted this action on June 9, 2017. D. 1. Clarke has now moved to dismiss. D. 12. Clarke has also moved to strike certain exhibits in Alicea's opposition. D. 14. The Court heard the parties on the pending motions and took Clarke's motions under advisement. D. 19.

         V. Discussion

         A. Chapter 151B ...


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