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Mason v. Central Mass. Transit Management, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

September 20, 2019

RAYMOND R. MASON, SR, Plaintiff,



         Raymond R. Mason, Sr. (“Plaintiff”) filed this action alleging state and federal law claims related to the termination of his employment. James Parker (“Defendant”) moves to dismiss all claims against him. (Docket No. 36). For the following reasons, the Court grants Defendant’s motion.


         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint (Docket No. 14) and assumed true for the purposes of this motion.

         On May 5, 2003, Plaintiff began working for Central Mass. Transit Management, Inc. (“CMTM”) and Worcester Regional Transit Authority (“WRTA”) as a part-time van driver. (Docket No. 14 at 3). On December 23, 2015, CMTM entered into a Supplemental Agreement with Amalgamated Transit Union Local 22 (the “Union”) that stated, “if [an] employee is found to be using a personal electronic device and the employee is in front of the yellow line in a fixed route bus or in front of the curb side door well stanchion in a lift equipped van, the consequence will be immediate termination of employment by the Company.” (Docket No. 14-1 at 6). Under that agreement, “an employee cannot challenge the discipline imposed for an employee’s use of a personal electronic device while on duty.” (Docket No. 14-1 at 6). Neither the Union nor CMTM circulated this agreement to their employees. (Docket No. 14 at 3–4).

         On April 3, 2017, Plaintiff returned to work after a medical emergency at his home. (Docket No. 14 at 5). At 2:23 p.m., as he was leaving the parking lot of WRTA in his van, he received a call on his cell phone from Francesca Jandrow (“Ms. Jandrow”), Transportation Coordinator for CMTM. (Docket No. 14 at 6). Unsure if the call was related to the previous emergency, Plaintiff answered. (Docket No. 14 at 5). Ms. Jandrow offered him a night-time position at the WRTA Van Division. (Docket No. 14 at 5).

         The next day, David Trabucco (“Mr. Trabucco”), Assistant General Manager for CMTM, notified Plaintiff that CMTM was investigating Plaintiff’s improper cell phone use while on duty. (Docket No. 14 at 10). Mr. Trabucco spoke with Business Agent Kenneth Kephart (“Mr. Kephart”) and scheduled a disciplinary hearing for that day. (Docket No. 14 at 10). Mr. Kephart attended the hearing on Plaintiff’s behalf because Plaintiff allegedly refused to be present. (Docket No. 14 at 10). However, Plaintiff claims that “there is absolutely no truth to Mr. Trabuco’s account that ‘Plaintiff refused to attend or be present at a hearing.’” (Docket No. 14 at 11).

         After the hearing, Mr. Kephart asked Plaintiff to report to the company building. (Docket No. 14 at 1). Mr. Kephart met with Plaintiff and told him, “you have two choices, either to resign or be fired and lose everything.” (Docket No. 14 at 12). Mr. Kephart alluded to a video showing Plaintiff using his phone while on duty, although he refused to let Plaintiff view this video. (Docket No. 14 at 12).

         Plaintiff then met with Mr. Trabucco at the office of Jo-Ann Clougherty in Human Resources. (Docket No. 14 at 12). Mr. Trabucco instructed Plaintiff to sign the Notice of Termination. (Docket No. 14 at 12). Plaintiff signed the notice and was terminated from his position. (Docket No. 14 at 12). Plaintiff believes the word “resignation” was added to the notice after he signed it. (Docket No. 14 at 12).

         After his termination, Plaintiff filed claims with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”). Plaintiff provided the Court with a response letter from the NLRB, dated July 26, 2018, that references a March 9th, 2018, letter from Plaintiff to the NLRB, “requesting, for a second time, reconsideration of [the NLRB’s] decision denying [Plaintiff’s] appeal in the captioned cases, ” i.e., two cases against CMTM and WRTA and one against the Union (Docket No. 14-1 at 18).

         Legal Standard

         In 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)).

         Because Plaintiff appears pro se, the Court construes his pleadings more favorably than it would those drafted by an attorney. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, Plaintiff must comply with procedural and ...

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