United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON MOTION TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT
AND MOTION TO REMAND
Dennis Saylor, United States District Judge.
a claim for unpaid wages under Massachusetts law. It was
removed to this Court on the basis of diversity of
citizenship. Plaintiff Katherine Coughlin has filed a motion
to amend the complaint to add claims of disability and age
discrimination, and to add a non-diverse party. Plaintiff has
also filed a motion to remand. Because the motion to remand
relies entirely on the success of the motion to amend, the
motions will be considered together.
Coughlin is a 65-year-old resident of Massachusetts.
(Proposed Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1, 14). From 2013 to 2018,
she was employed as a physical-therapy assistant by defendant
750 Woburn Street Operating Company, LLC. (Id.
¶¶ 4, 36).
complaint alleges that in February 2018, Coughlin and her
coworkers noticed that their paychecks did not include hours
that they had logged and worked. (Id. ¶ 8).
Coughlin alleges that she complained about this to a company
administrator, Jeff Crowley, and that after she complained,
an audit was conducted, and she was paid “for all hours
that she had logged.” (Id. ¶¶ 10).
alleges, however, that she was still not paid for working
through her 30-minute lunch breaks. (Id. ¶ 11).
In addition, she alleges that because her supervisors
encouraged her not to work overtime, she logged out to avoid
accruing overtime hours, even though, on average, she
continued to work approximately 45 minutes of overtime twice
per month. (Id. ¶ 14). She alleges that she was
not paid for the overtime work she performed. (Id.
March 2018, Kathy Diorio, the Director of Rehabilitation of
750 Woburn, became Coughlin's supervisor. (Id.
¶ 15). Coughlin alleges that Diorio “discriminated
against [her] on the basis of her age” by
“treat[ing] [her] worse than the younger”
physical-therapy assistants. (Id. ¶ 15-17).
Specifically, she alleges “[f]or example” that
Diorio assigned her to work with the “more difficult
patients, such as the heavier patients and patients who
exhibited difficult behavior, ” even though she
“would say” that her “back [was] killing
[her].” (Id. ¶ 17-18). In addition, she
alleges that Diorio was “kinder to the younger”
physical-therapy assistants and answered their questions
while she ignored both Coughlin's questions and her
“suggestions regarding patients.” (Id.
alleges that on August 15, 2018, she complained to
“Melissa, ” her Area Regional Manager, about her
case load. (Id. ¶ 21). She allegedly told
Melissa that she was “being assigned to [the] heaviest
and most difficult patients” and “patients she
had never seen before on days that they had a family
conference or treatment plan due.” (Id.).
Melissa allegedly told Coughlin that “she realized
[her] complaints were legitimate” and that
“things will change.” (Id. ¶ 22).
contends that she “suffers from migraines with aura,
which can cause blurred vision.” (Id. ¶
29; see ¶ 14). On August 21, 2018, Coughlin
came to work feeling ill. (Id. ¶ 23). At
approximately 12:30 p.m., as she was filling out
documentation on her computer, she put her head down on a
tray table after becoming dizzy and faint. (Id.
¶ 24). While her head was down, two other employees, Amy
and Corey, came in the room and stated that Coughlin was
“sleeping.” (Id. ¶ 26). Coughlin
alleges that she immediately told Corey and Amy that she felt
sick, and Amy asked if Coughlin needed to go home.
(Id. ¶ 27). Coughlin responded that she would
“see if her migraine passed, as she knew they were busy
that day.” (Id.).
Coughlin completed her documentation, which had taken her
longer than usual due to her headache, Amy met her in the
hallway and informed her that she was going to Crowley's
office. (Id. ¶ 30). Crowley allegedly told
Coughlin that “it had been reported to him that she was
sleeping during her shift” and that he was sending her
home so that an investigation could be conducted.
(Id. ¶¶ 31, 33). Coughlin alleges that she
told Crowley she had not been sleeping, but that she had put
her head down because she was “suffering from a
migraine and felt dizzy.” (Id. ¶ 32).
August 27, 2018, Crowley called Coughlin and told her to come
to his office. (Id. ¶ 34). Coughlin then met
with Crowley and the Director of Nurses, Carol Manaysian.
(Id.). At that meeting, Crowley allegedly told her
that he had to fire two aides “a few weeks ago for
sleeping” and would “have to follow the same
protocol” for Coughlin. (Id. ¶ 35). She
was then terminated, effective August 21, 2018. (Id.
¶ 36). The complaint alleges that the company
“failed to engage in the interactive process”
with her “regarding her suffering from
migraines.” (Id. ¶ 37).
October 29, 2018, Coughlin filed a complaint in Middlesex
Superior Court. (Compl. ¶ 1). The complaint named
“Care One Management, Inc. and Kathy Diorio” as
defendants and brought claims under the Massachusetts Wage
Act for unpaid wages (for the lunch breaks) and unpaid
overtime wages (for the hours worked above 40 per week).
(Id. ¶¶ 16, 19).
October 31, 2018, Coughlin filed a Charge of Discrimination
with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
(“MCAD”). (Mot. to Am., Ex. 1 at 2). The charge
alleged that CareOne and Kathy Diorio had discriminated
against her due to her age and her disability.
(Id.). The alleged disability was that she
“suffers from migraines.” (Id. at 3).
November 28, 2018, 750 Woburn's attorney, Joshua Nadreau,
e-mailed Coughlin's attorney, Emily Boney, and advised
that (1) instead of either CareOne or Diorio, Coughlin's
true employer was “750 Woburn Street Operating Company,
LLC” and (2) that Diorio could not be held individually
liable under the Wage Act. (Opp. to Mot. to Am., Ex. A at
10-11). After various other e-mails, and an apparent phone
message, Nadreau sent Boney an e-mail stating that 750 Woburn
was “unable to agree that it would not seek removal
should [Diorio] be dismissed.” (Id. at
January 28, 2019, Coughlin filed an amended complaint that
named only 750 Woburn as a defendant. (State Record at
The amended complaint asserted the same wage claims as the
original complaint. (Id. at 16).
January 31, 2019, Coughlin's attorney, John Davis, asked
to withdraw her complaint with the MCAD, stating that she
“wish[ed] to file a private right of action in civil
court.” (Mot. to Am., Ex. 1 at 2). Davis sent a letter
with the withdrawal request that asked the MCAD to
“note that this letter constitutes a formal Private
Right of Action request, ” and to “grant us a PRA
at your earliest convenience.” (Id. at 3).
February 21, 2019, 750 Woburn removed the case to this Court.
On March 11, 2019, the MCAD sent Coughlin a letter stating
that her complaint before the Commission had been dismissed.
(Id. at 1).
March 25, 2019, Coughlin filed a motion to amend the
complaint. Coughlin seeks to add two claims for disability
and age discrimination under Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 151B, and
seeks to add Kathy Diorio as a defendant. On the same day,
Coughlin filed a motion to remand the case to state court.