United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER AND MEMORANDUM ON DEFENDANTS' PARTIAL
MOTION TO DISMISS (DOCKET NO. 15)
TIMOTHY S. HILLMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
Ground Freight, Inc. (“UPS”) and Albert Abbott
(“Mr. Abbott”) (collectively,
“Defendants”) move to dismiss the assault and
battery, interference with civil rights, and intentional
infliction of emotional distress claims asserted by Jean Nel
Bazile (“Plaintiff”). (Docket No. 15). Because
Massachusetts state law preempts Plaintiff's claims,
Defendants' motion is granted
as to Counts XI, XIII, and XIV.
following facts are taken from Plaintiff's complaint and
assumed true for the purposes of this motion. UPS employed
Plaintiff, a black Haitian male, as a mechanic in its
Southborough, Massachusetts, facility. (Docket No. 1 at 2).
Mr. Abbott was Plaintiff's immediate supervisor. (Docket
No. 1 at 2). Plaintiff initially worked a 2:00pm through
10:00pm shift Monday through Thursday and a 6:00am to 2:00pm
shift Friday. (Docket No. 1 at 2). In July 2015, the
only other mechanic working in the Southborough facility left
the company. (Docket No. 1 at 3). UPS changed Plaintiff's
schedule to 6:00am to 2:00pm Monday through Friday. (Docket
No. 1 at 3).
this time, Mr. Abbott began subjecting Plaintiff to an
increasingly hostile work environment. (Docket No. 1 at 3).
He changed Plaintiff's start time on Fridays to 2:30pm
despite the previously-granted religious accommodation.
(Docket No. 1 at 3). When Plaintiff objected, Mr. Abbott
denied that UPS had ever given him an accommodation. (Docket
No. 1 at 3). Mr. Abbott made Plaintiff fill out a new formal
request for accommodation and forced Plaintiff to report at
2:30pm on Fridays while he considered the request. (Docket
No. 1 at 3).
another occasion, Mr. Abbott grabbed the bible Plaintiff kept
in his toolbox and asked, “Why is this here? Take this
book and put it in your locker. I want this book gone
tomorrow. I don't ever want to come in again and see your
shit all over my stuff. Do you want to see the picture that I
took, you fucking pain in the ass? Take this fucking bible
and get it out of here.” (Docket No. 1 at 3). Mr.
Abbott accused Plaintiff of reading the bible during company
time and threw it across the room. (Docket No. 1 at 4).
Abbott changed Plaintiff's hours two more times,
eventually requiring Plaintiff to report at 4:00am. (Docket
No. 1 at 4). On November 2, 2015, Plaintiff clocked in 15
minutes late because the main door was locked. (Docket No. 1
at 4). Mr. Abbott harassed Plaintiff for being late. (Docket
No. 1 at 4). Later that day as his shift ended, Plaintiff
caught Mr. Abbott smoking inside the building. (Docket No. 1
at 5). Plaintiff took a picture with his cell phone. (Docket
No. 1 at 5). Mr. Abbott yelled at Plaintiff to delete the
picture. (Docket No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff ignored the demand
and headed for his car. (Docket No. 1 at 5). Mr. Abbott
followed and stood in front of Plaintiff's car door.
(Docket No. 1 at 5). Mr. Abbott then yelled that Plaintiff
could not go home until he gave Mr. Abbott the picture.
(Docket No. 1 at 5). When Plaintiff managed to open his car
door, Mr. Abbott pushed him and slammed the car door shut.
(Docket No. 1 at 5).
began to experience symptoms of fatigue and stress. (Docket
No. 1 at 6). He consulted a doctor who provided a note
restricting Plaintiff from beginning work before 6:00am.
(Docket No. 1 at 6). When Plaintiff submitted this note to
UPS, Mr. Abbott refused to let Plaintiff work until a UPS
doctor examined and cleared him. (Docket No. 1 at 6).
Plaintiff scheduled an appointment with the UPS doctor for
December 3, 2015. (Docket No. 1 at 6). When he showed up for
the appointment, however, the doctor informed him that an
unknown individual had cancelled it on November 24, 2015.
(Docket No. 1 at 6). Mr. Abbott then told Plaintiff to get
his own doctor to clear him for work without restriction.
(Docket No. 1 at 6). Plaintiff received a note from his
doctor clearing him to work without restrictions on January
7, 2016. (Docket No. 1 at 7).
Plaintiff returned to work on February 21, 2016, the
harassment resumed. (Docket No. 1 at 7-8). Mr. Abbott again
scheduled Plaintiff's shifts to begin at 4:00am. (Docket
No. 1 at 7). And on March 13, 2016, Mr. Abbott blocked
Plaintiff from leaving the spare parts room while he asked
Plaintiff a series of questions. (Docket No. 1 at 8). A UPS
driver witnessed this incident and threatened to report Mr.
Abbott. (Docket No. 1 at 9). Plaintiff was terminated three
days later. (Docket No. 1 at 9).
exhausting his remedies with the Massachusetts Commission
Against Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, Plaintiff filed this action. (Docket No. 1 at
10). He asserts sixteen claims against the Defendants.
Relevant to this motion, he alleges assault and battery
(Count XI), interference with civil rights (Count XIII), and
intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count XIV).
evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court must
accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Langadinos v. American Airlines, Inc., 199 F.3d 68,
69 (1st Cir. 2000). To survive the motion, the complaint must
allege “a plausible entitlement to relief.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 559
(2007). “[A] plaintiff's obligation to provide the
‘grounds' of his ‘entitle[ment] to
relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Id. at 555. “The relevant
inquiry focuses on the reasonableness of the inference of
liability that the plaintiff is asking the court to draw from
the facts alleged in the complaint.”
Ocasio-Hernandez v. Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 13
(1st Cir. 2011). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not
permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
defendant may raise an affirmative defense in a motion to
dismiss “provided that ‘the facts establishing
the defense [are] clear “on the face of the
plaintiff's pleadings.”'” Trans-Spec
Truck Serv., Inc. v. Caterpillar Inc., 524 F.3d 315, 320