United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper, United States District Judge.
Ivette Kelley (“Kelley”) has filed this lawsuit
against Defendants Lawrence Public Schools and the City of
Lawrence, Massachusetts (collectively,
“Defendants”). D. 1. Following this Court's
ruling on Defendants' motion for judgment on the
pleadings, Kelley's remaining claims are for wrongful
termination (Count I) and a violation of the Family Medical
Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-54
(“FMLA”) (Count IX). D. 32. Defendants have moved
for summary judgment on both counts. D. 57. For the reasons
stated below, the Court ALLOWS 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 PR. 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).
following facts are drawn primarily from Defendants'
statement of material facts, D. 60, Kelley's statement of
disputed facts, D. 64, Kelley's memorandum in opposition
of Defendants' motion for summary judgment,
62, and other supporting documents and are undisputed unless
was hired as a full-time counselor for the Lawrence Public
Schools for the 2011-2012 school year. D. 60 ¶ 1; D. 20
at 1. During Kelley's first year in the position, she
took medical leave for approximately five months, from late
November through early May. D. 60 ¶ 2; D. 20 at 1-2.
After returning from leave in May 2012, she was reappointed
for the 2012-2013 school year. D. 60 ¶ 3; D. 62 at 6.
During that school year, she sometimes attended follow-up
medical appointments during the school day. D. 20 at 2; D. 62
at 6. Kelley provided Defendants with notes from her doctor
regarding the necessity of these appointments. D. 62 at 10;
D. 63-13; D. 63-14. At the end of the 2012-2013 school year,
Kelley received a negative performance evaluation. D. 62 at
3; 7. She was not placed on a “Personal Improvement
Plan.” Id. at 3. According to Kelley, a
Personal Improvement Plan is required before the school can
take adverse employment against an employee covered by the
teachers' contract with Lawrence Public Schools.
Id. On June 4, 2013, Kelley was notified in writing
that she would not be reappointed when her current
appointment ended on June 24, 2013. D. 60 ¶ 4; D. 60-2.
2014, Kelley applied for another position with the Lawrence
Public Schools. D. 60 ¶ 5. Lisa Conran, the principal of
the school to which Kelley applied, informed Kelley on
December 1, 2014 that “[t]he Human Resources Department
called to inform [Conran] that there [was] a ‘do not
rehire' document for [Kelley] so [Conran] [was] unable to
hire [Kelley] . . . .” D. 60 ¶ 5; D. 60-3; D.
63-1. In connection with Kelley's application, Conran
submitted an Employee Information Sheet (“EIS”)
to the Lawrence Public School Central Office. D. 60 ¶ 6;
D. 60-4; D. 60-5 at 3. A Lawrence Public School Central
Office staff member wrote “nonrenewed / can't
hire” on the EIS. D. 60 ¶ 7; D. 60-5 at 3.
According to Defendants, the EIS is an internal document and
neither the EIS nor the internal communications between
Conran and the Central Office were disclosed to any other
school district. D. 60 ¶ 8.
Kelley was not reappointed in 2013, she became an interim
adjustment counselor for Salem Public Schools in Salem,
Massachusetts. D. 62 at 3. Subsequently, Kelley worked as a
behavior specialist for Salem Public Schools for about one
year, after which time she resigned. Id. at 3-4.
Since that time, Kelley has sought but has not been able to
find work as a school counselor. Id at 4. According
to Kelley, her failure to obtain a position as a counselor is
the result of Defendants “using a ‘Do Not
Hire' directive to keep [Kelley] from gaining
employment.” Id. Also according to Kelley,
this Do Not Hire directive “misrepresents] her medical
situation, ” Id. at 9, but Kelley did not
discover the “false statements” in the Do Not
Hire directive until around the time she filed the complaint
in June 2016, D. 1 at 7.
instituted this action on June 18, 2016. D. 1. Defendants
moved for judgment on the pleadings on October 13, 2016, D.
10, which the Court allowed in part and denied in part. D.
32. The Court heard the parties on the Defendants'
pending motion for summary judgment and took the matter under
advisement. D. 68.
Count I: ...