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Takki v. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 16, 2018

MARY TAKKI, Plaintiff,
v.
BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS HOSPITAL-PLYMOUTH, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO AMEND AND DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          F. DENNIS SAYLOR IV UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is an action for wrongful termination. Plaintiff Mary Takki was employed as a pharmacist for 40 years by defendant Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Plymouth. On June 21, 2016, Takki cut the hair of a coworker, apparently without her consent. Beth Israel's human resources department then investigated the incident, culminating in Takki's resignation on July 12, 2016.

         Takki brought suit against Beth Israel in state court, alleging state-law claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Defendant removed the action to this Court on the basis that the claims were preempted by the Labor Management Relations Act (“LMRA”), 29 U.S.C. § 185(a).

         Beth Israel has moved for summary judgment, and Takki has moved to amend the complaint to assert a claim under the LMRA. For the following reasons, plaintiff's motion to amend will be granted, and defendant's motion for summary judgment will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         The following facts are as set forth in the record and appear to be undisputed. The Court will draw heavily from factual findings made by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, attached as plaintiff's Exhibit A.

         Mary Takki worked as a pharmacist for Beth Israel from June 26, 1976, to July 12, 2016. (Compl. ¶ 1). At all relevant times, she was represented by the 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East union, and the terms and conditions of her employment were governed by a collective bargaining agreement. (Melvin Aff. ¶¶ 3-4).

         On June 21, 2016, one of Takki's coworkers arrived to work with “windblown” hair. (Pl. Ex. A ¶ 5). Takki told her coworker, whom she had worked with for approximately 30 years, that “I can fix your hair for you.” (Id. ¶¶ 5-6). The coworker responded, “sure, go ahead.” (Id. ¶ 6). Takki then cut the coworker's hair with a pair of scissors. (Id.).

         The two worked together without incident for the following two days. (Id. ¶¶ 10-11). However, news of the haircut quickly spread. On June 23, 2016, the Director of Pharmacy and a human resources manager questioned the coworker. (Id. ¶ 13). The coworker stated that she had not intended that Takki cut her hair, and was surprised when she did so. (Id.).

         Takki was on vacation from June 24 to July 11, 2016. (Id. ¶ 14). After she returned, she met with the Director of Pharmacy, the human resources manager, and a union representative. (Id. ¶ 15). She admitted to cutting the coworker's hair, but stated that she had misunderstood her intentions. (Id.). The following day, on July 12, 2016, the human resources manager informed Takki that her employment would be terminated for cause because she had violated the hospital's workplace violence policy. (Id. ¶ 16). The parties agreed, however, that in lieu of termination, Takki would sign a resignation agreement, agreeing to “waive any rights either [she] or the union may have under the collective bargaining agreement . . . to file a grievance or arbitration in connection with the [haircut incident and separation of employment].” (Id. ¶ 17; Def. Ex. E).

         B. Procedural Background

         Takki filed suit against Beth Israel in Plymouth Superior Court on December 19, 2017. The complaint asserted state-law claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Beth Israel timely removed the action to this Court on January 18, 2018, alleging that both claims were preempted by the LMRA.

         Beth Israel has moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. In her opposition, Takki also moved to amend the complaint to add a claim under the LMRA.[1] Because Beth Israel submitted documents outside the pleadings, on April 9, 2018, the Court entered an order converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, and invited the parties ...


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