United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM & ORDER GORTON, J.
NATHANIEL M. GORTON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case arises out of an industrial accident in which Steven
Pajak (“Mr. Pajak” or “plaintiff”)
suffered serious personal injuries. He brings claims for
negligence against Rohm & Haas Company (“Rohm &
Haas”) and The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow
Chemical”) (collectively “the Dow
defendants”) as the entities that owned and maintained
both the allegedly defective container which caused the
accident and the chemical manufacturing facility where the
Pajak alleges that the Dow defendants improperly designed,
maintained, inspected and developed safety procedures and
failed to protect against various hazards associated with the
“trimethylaluminum reclamation process” in which
he was engaged when injured.
this Court is the motion of Rohm & Haas and Dow Chemical
to dismiss the claims against them pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) because they submit that the claims are barred by
the statute of limitations.
Pajak is a resident of Billerica, Massachusetts. He was
employed at a chemical manufacturing facility located in
North Andover, Massachusetts which is owned, operated and/or
maintained by the Dow defendants (“the
& Haas is a Delaware corporation with a principal place
of business in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. It manufactures
specialty chemicals for use in building and construction,
electronic devices, packaging and household and personal care
products. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Chemical.
Dow Chemical is a Delaware corporation with a principal place
of business in Midland, Michigan. It is one of the largest
American, multi-national, chemical corporations and it
manufactures plastics, chemicals and agricultural products.
Dow Chemical is, in turn, is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Dow, Inc. which is a publicly held company (and not a named
defendant). The defendants together allegedly own, operate
and maintain the Facility.
about January, 2016, Mr. Pajak was working at the Facility
when oxygen came into contact with trimethylaluminum
contained in the allegedly defective container, resulting in
an explosion and fire. Plaintiff sustained serious personal
injuries as a result of the explosion, including serious
burns to his face and hands and loss of vision in his left
sought and obtained compensation from Rohm and Haas
Electronic Materials LLC (“RHEM”), a subsidiary
of Defendant Rohm and Haas, under the Massachusetts
Workers' Compensation Act (“the MWCA”),
M.G.L. c. 152. In August, 2017, the Massachusetts Department
of Industrial Accidents (“the DIA”) approved his
lump sum settlement agreement with RHEM and its workers'
compensation insurer pursuant to § 48 of the MWCA. He
was paid $253, 000 as a result of that settlement. In the
form submitted to the DIA for approval of the settlement, Mr.
Pajak explicitly acknowledged that RHEM was his employer and
that the payment he received was in redemption of the
liability owed to him by RHEM under the MWCA.
January, 2019, plaintiff filed a complaint in the
Massachusetts Superior Court for Essex County against the Dow
Defendants, REHM and Alfa Laval, Inc. (a corporation which
had allegedly designed, manufactured, marketed and/or
distributed the purportedly defective container). In
February, a notice of removal was filed by Alfa Laval (to
which the other defendants consented), invoking this
Court's federal diversity jurisdiction. Subsequently, all
defendants filed motions to dismiss on various grounds. In
July, 2019, this Court allowed 1) Alfa Laval's motion to
dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, 2) REHM's
motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to
state a claim and 3) the motion of Rohm & Haas and Dow
Chemical for judgment on the pleadings. All claims were
dismissed without prejudice and the Court granted the
plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint.
16, 2019, plaintiff filed an amended complaint against only
the Dow defendants, which promptly moved to dismiss. The Dow
defendants submit that the statute of limitations on Mr.
Pajak's claims expired between the time this Court
dismissed his claim without prejudice and the time he filled
his amended complaint. Mr. Pajak responds that his claim is
not barred because it relates back ...