United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. SARIS, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) (Docket No. 54),
Plaintiff Hector Jenkins, a former mediator in the Boston
Housing Court, brings a Title VII claim against the Housing
Court Department of the Trial Court of the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts (“Trial Court”). Jenkins alleges
that he faced a hostile work environment in the Trial Court
and that the Trial Court discriminated against him on the
basis of race and national origin when it terminated his
employment in 2016.
the Court dismissed with prejudice most of the claims in
Jenkins's First Amended Complaint (“FAC”)
(Docket No. 24), but granted Jenkins limited leave to amend
one Title VII count. See Docket No. 50.
Subsequently, Jenkins filed his SAC. The Trial Court then
moved to strike the SAC and to dismiss the remaining Title
VII claim. See Docket No. 57. The Magistrate Judge
recommended that the Trial Court's motion be allowed.
See Docket No. 60.
Court adopts in part the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation (Docket No. 60), and ALLOWS IN PART and DENIES
IN PART Defendants' motion to strike (Docket No.
following factual background is taken from the allegations in
Jenkins's SAC and must be taken as true at this stage.
See Foley v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 772 F.3d 63, 71
(1st Cir. 2014) .
was a mediator in the Boston Housing Court from 1993 to July
2016, when his employment was terminated. SAC ¶¶ 6,
8. Jenkins is Black and originally from Costa Rica. SAC
Judge Jeffrey Winik, who is White, was appointed to the
Housing Court in 1995, Jenkins began to have disagreements
with him. SAC ¶ 9. Jenkins complained that Black,
Hispanic, and Asian tenants were subjected to forced
mediation settlements and agreements approved by Judge Winik.
SAC ¶ 10. In 2004, Judge Winik became First Justice of
the Boston Housing Court and assumed administrative
responsibility for the Housing Court Department in Boston.
SAC ¶ 12.
Chief Housing Specialist position in Boston was vacant when
Judge Winik took over court administrative duties.
See SAC ¶ 11. Jenkins and Patrick Yoyo, a Black
employee who was the Assistant Chief Housing Specialist at
that time, were both interested in the open position. SAC
¶¶ 13-14. However, during the selection process,
Judge Winik allegedly indicated that he “did not feel
comfortable that [Jenkins or Yoyo] would report violations by
another minority manager, ” which Jenkins understood to
refer to Magistrate Robert L. Lewis, who is Black. SAC
¶¶ 15-16. Neither Jenkins nor Yoyo got the Chief
Housing Specialist job. See SAC ¶¶ 17-18.
Michael T. Neville, who is White, was appointed to the
position of Acting Chief Housing Specialist in late 2004 and
then to permanent Chief Housing Specialist in 2005. SAC
¶¶ 17-18. Jenkins began to lodge complaints with
superiors, arguing that non-White applicants were not
considered for Neville's position and that the in-house
job posting and hiring process “constituted illegal
patronage in violation of the Equal Opportunity Employment
rules of the Trial Court.” SAC ¶¶ 18-20.
and his new boss Neville did not get along. After
Jenkins's complaints, Neville began yelling in
Jenkins's face and making comments, such as “you
are crazy, ” “we don't want you here, ”
and “why don't you quit[?]” SAC ¶ 21.
Jenkins continued to complain about mediation results for
unrepresented parties and Neville singling Jenkins out for
minor infractions at work. See SAC ¶¶
22-23. By 2008, Jenkins had filed complaints with the Trial
Court's entire administrative hierarchy and had been
banned from Judge Winik's courtroom. SAC ¶¶
multiple points during Barack Obama's presidency, Neville
encouraged Jenkins to quit, saying “we don't want
you here” and that Jenkins could “complain to
[his] boy Obama if [he] want[ed].” SAC ¶ 26.
Jenkins perceived these comments to be a racially motivated
attack against him, and specifically interpreted
Neville's remarks to express that Jenkins “was an
unwanted Black foreigner.” SAC ...