United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ALLISON D. BURROUGHS U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is the amended complaint [ECF No. 9] of
pro se litigant plaintiff Stefan Emil Ventura in
which he claims that defendants Massachusetts General
Hospital and Partners HealthCare (collectively,
“Partners HealthCare”) and its employees
wrongfully terminated his employment. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court will dismiss Ventura's federal
claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, dismiss any state law claims without prejudice for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and order that this
action be dismissed.
Court writes for the parties and assumes the reader's
familiarity with this action. In brief, Ventura filed his
original complaint [ECF No. 1] on October 2018 against
Partners HealthCare. He alleged therein that Partners
HealthCare had terminated his employment in 2014 in violation
of its own policies and based on unlawful bias against him.
He later filed an amended complaint as a matter of right to
include ten additional individual defendants. Pending review
of its subject matter jurisdiction over the action, the Court
ordered that none of the defendants were required to respond
to the amended complaint until further order of the Court.
amended complaint, Ventura invokes the Court's federal
question subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §
1331 (“§ 1331”). See Amend Compl.
at 6. Culling his allegations from the amended complaint and
two subsequently-filed documents in which he reiterates the
statement of his claim [ECF Nos. 13, 14], it is apparent that
he is alleging that his mother was employed by Partners
HealthCare until 2002, when Partners terminated her
employment for taking leave under the Family Medical Leave
Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2619 (“FMLA”).
Ventura's mother subsequently commenced a wrongful
termination lawsuit against Partners HealthCare. In the years
following, Partners HealthCare terminated the employment of
Ventura and four of his relatives. Ventura maintains that his
termination and those of the other four family members were
all in retaliation for his mother's lawsuit against
Partners HealthCare. Ventura further states that his claim
involves “1st Amendment Freedom of Speech/civil
rights/off duty conduct.” Amend Compl. at 6 (as in
Court has an obligation to inquire sua sponte into
its own subject matter jurisdiction. See McCulloch v.
Velez, 364 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2004). Federal courts are
of limited jurisdiction, “and the requirement of
subject-matter jurisdiction ‘functions as a restriction
on federal power.'” Fafel v. Dipaola, 399
F.3d 403, 410 (1st Cir. 2005) (quoting Insurance Corp. of
Ireland v. Compagnie des Bauxites de Guinee, 456 U.S.
694, 702 (1982)). Federal district courts have original
subject matter jurisdiction over civil actions arising under
federal laws, see § 1331, and over certain
actions in which the parties are of citizens of different
states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75, 000,
see 28 U.S.C. § 1332 (“§
1332”). Where a federal district court has original
jurisdiction only under § 1331, the court may exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over related state law claims.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Court has reviewed the amended pleading and other documents
filed by Ventura and concludes that his claims arising under
federal law fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
complaint can be dismissed for failure to state a claim if
the allegations therein, taken as true, show that relief is
precluded by the relevant statute of limitations. See
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007). Both of
Ventura's federal claims fail to state a claim for relief
because they are time barred. An action for a violation of the
FMLA “must be brought . . . not later than 2 years
after the date of the last event constituting the alleged
violation for which the action is brought.” 29 U.S.C.
§ 2617(c)(1). Where the plaintiff alleges a willful
violation of the FMLA, the action must be brought within 3
years of the violation. See 29 U.S.C. §
2617(c)(2). Ventura claims that the retaliatory termination
occurred in 2014, more than three years before he commenced
this action in October 2018. Thus, any claim under the FMLA
a claim for a violation of the First Amendment is barred by
the three-year statute of limitations applicable to actions
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Moreover, even if the defendants
did terminate Ventura's employment because of comments or
statements that he made, such conduct does not implicate the
First Amendment. “[T]he constitutional guarantee of
free speech is a guarantee only against abridgment by
government, federal or state.” Hudgens v.
N.L.R.B., 424 U.S. 507, 513 (1976).
Ventura's federal claims fail to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted, dismissal of these claim would divest
the Court of original subject matter jurisdiction under
§ 1331. Diversity subject matter jurisdiction under
§ 1332 does not exist because complete diversity of
citizenship between the parties does not exist. In the absence
original jurisdiction under § 1331 or § 1332, the
Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any
remaining state law claims. See 28 U.S.C. §
1367(c)(3) (providing that a district court “may
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction” if it
has “dismissed all claims over which it has original
accordance with the foregoing, the Court hereby orders:
(1) The plaintiff's federal claims are dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which ...