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Liu v. Verizon New England Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 18, 2018

YEN YI. LIU, et. al. Plaintiff,
v.
VERIZON NEW ENGLAND INC., et. al., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          INDIRA TALWANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiffs Wen Y. Chiang and Yen Yi. Liu, proceeding pro se, bring claims against Defendants Verizon New England, Inc., and Verizon Wireless (collectively, the “Verizon Defendants”) arising from Plaintiffs' cellular and television accounts, and against Defendants Tucker, Saltzman, Dyer & O'Connell, LLP, and Attorney Samuel A. Kennedy-Smith (collectively, the “Law Firm Defendants”) arising from threats allegedly made by the Law Firm Defendants while representing the Verizon Defendants in prior proceedings. Compl. [#1]. Defendants jointly moved pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) to dismiss all counts of Plaintiffs' Complaint [#1], but filed along with the motion a number of exhibits that relate to “matters that are outside the pleadings.” Mot. Dismiss at 1. n.1 [#26]; Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss (“Defs.' Mem.”) Exs. 1-11 [#27]. The court did not exclude the exhibits attached to the pleadings presented by Defendants, and instead gave notice that the motion would be treated as a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56, and gave Plaintiffs an opportunity to present material pertinent to the motion. See Order [#44]; Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The record before the court now includes, in addition to the above documents: Plaintiffs' Memorandum in Support of Plaintiffs Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss as Treated Summary Judgment [#55], the Affidavit of Yen Li, Liu [#56], Plaintiffs' Undisputed Materials Fact [#57] and exhibits thereto, and Defendants' Reply [#58].

         For the reasons set forth in this order, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss All Counts of Plaintiff's Complaint, Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6) [#26], treated as a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(d) and 56, is ALLOWED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         A. Chiang's State Court Complaints

         On February 8, 2016, Chiang filed a small claims complaint against Verizon Wireless in Woburn District Court (“Chiang Lawsuit No. 1”). Defs.' Mem. Ex. 1 [#27-1]; Pls.' Undisputed Material Facts (“Pls. SOF”) Ex. J [#57-2]. In his complaint, Chiang alleged that Verizon Wireless had overcharged him for his cell phone account starting in June 2015, failed to credit Chiang's account after Chiang noticed and complained about the overcharges, and never gave Chiang a $300 gift card that Verizon Wireless had promised Chiang. Id.

         The parties reached a settlement to resolve the dispute and on July 11, 2016, Chiang executed an agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) stating:

Verizon New England . . . and its affiliates . . agree[] to zero out . . . [Chiang's] final bill and issue [him] a one-time check in the amount of $240 . . . . [Chiang] agree[s] to voluntarily dismiss . . . [his] claims in this matter with prejudice . . . [Chiang] agrees to release and forever discharge Verizon, and its . . . parents, subsidiaries, [and] affiliates . . . from all causes of action . . . arising out of or relating to the Dispute.

Defs.' Mem. Ex. 2 [#27-2].

         Meanwhile, on July 6, 2016, Chiang filed a complaint against Verizon New England in Woburn District Court (“Chiang Lawsuit No. 2”). Defs.' Mem. Ex. 3 [#27-3]. The complaint restated the allegations in Chiang Lawsuit No. 1 and added two additional allegations: (1) that Verizon had wrongfully reported to the Credit Bureau that Chiang owed Verizon $1, 050.00, which Chiang only learned about in February 2016 after he had filed his complaint in Chiang Lawsuit No. 1; and (2) that Chiang again did not receive a $300 gift card when he opened a new account under a tenant's name.[1] Id.

         Verizon New England moved to dismiss the complaint in Chiang Lawsuit No. 2 on the grounds that res judicata barred Chiang's claims in Chiang Lawsuit No. 2 and that, additionally, the Settlement Agreement covered Chiang's claims. Defs.' Mem. Ex. 4 [#27-4]. On October 13, 2016, the Woburn District Court allowed Verizon New England's motion to dismiss on the grounds that the Settlement Agreement covered the claims in Chiang Lawsuit No. 2:

Upon review of the documents and hearing arguments from the parties, the Court finds that it is undisputed that on July 11, 2016[, ] Plaintiff executed a broadly-worded release of claims which includes all claims related to a previous dispute arising against Defendant up to July 6, 2016. The language of that release reasonably covers, by its terms, the subject of this current action initiated by a complaint which Plaintiff dated July 6, 2016. This action is therefore dismissed with prejudice as barred by the July 11, 2016 release.

Id.

         On August 11, 2017, Chiang filed another complaint against Verizon Wireless in Woburn District Court (“Chiang Lawsuit No. 3”). Defs.' Mem. Ex. 7 [#27-7]. Chiang alleged that he was overcharged for several items, including activation fees and taxes, in connection with the trade-in of two iPhones and the purchase of two iPods during Thanksgiving ...


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