DORSETT-FELICELLI, INC., d/b/a PYRAMIDS; PYRAMIDS PRE-SCHOOL, INC.; and MELISSA DORSETT-FELICELLI, Plaintiffs,
COUNTY OF CLINTON; PAULA CALKINS LACOMBE, individually and in her capacity as Director of the County of Clinton Department of Public Health; KATHERINE O'CONNOR, individually and in her official capacity as Early Intervention Official and Pre-School Related Service Coordinator; NORTH COUNTRY KIDS, INC.; STEPHANIE GIRARD; KELLY McCAULEY; and MELISSA PUCHALSKI, Defendants.
DECISION and ORDER
LAWRENCE E. KAHN, District Judge.
Presently before the Court are a Motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed by Defendants County of Clinton, Calkins Lacombe, and Katherine O'Connor (collectively, "County Defendants") and a Motion and Letter Motion for entry of partial final judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b) filed by North Country Kids, Inc., Stephanie Girard, Kelly McCauley, and Melissa Puchalski (collectively, "North Country Kids"). Dkt. Nos. 112 ("NCK Motion"); 115 ("NCK Letter Motion") (collectively with the NCK Motion, "North Country Kids' Motions"); 117 ("County Defendants' Motion"). For the following reasons, County Defendants' Motion is granted and North Country Kids' Motions are denied as moot.
The Court assumes the parties' familiarity with the factual and procedural background of this case as set forth in detail in the Court's Memorandum-Decision and Order filed on March 22, 2011, and in the parties' previous filings. See Dkt. Nos. 1 ("Complaint"); 74 ("Amended Complaint"); 80-2; 109 ("March 2011 Order") at 2-4. The Court therefore recites here only the facts and procedure necessary to address the instant Motions.
A. Factual Background
Dorsett-Felicelli, Inc., and Pyramids Pre-School ("Pyramids") (collectively, "Corporate Plaintiffs") were providers of early-intervention and pre-school services under a written agreement entered into between Corporate Plaintiffs and County Defendants. Dkt. No. 80-3 ("Provider Agreement"). Under the Provider Agreement, Corporate Plaintiffs agreed to provide early-intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities in exchange for reimbursement by County Defendants. Id. at 1, ¶ 10. County Defendants could terminate the Provider Agreement on thirty days' notice or immediately for cause. Id . ¶ 21.
Beginning in Fall 2003 and continuing through December 2003, both Pyramids and Melissa Dorsett-Felicelli ("Dorsett-Felicelli") (collectively with Corporate Plaintiffs, "Plaintiffs"), the chief executive officer, president, and executive director of Corporate Plaintiffs, complained to County Defendants that County Defendants had given independent-contractor status to individual service providers unlawfully and asked that County Defendants cease this illegal activity. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9, 28-29. After Pyramids and Dorsett-Felicelli made their complaints, County Defendants transferred 57 weekly intervention sessions, representing $207, 480 in yearly gross revenue, from Corporate Plaintiffs to recently approved individual service provider North Country Kids, Inc., which had been formed by Defendants Girard, McCauley, and Puchalski, all of whom were former employees of Corporate Plaintiffs. Id . ¶¶ 31-42. County Defendants thereafter continued to transfer substantial additional numbers of sessions away from Corporate Plaintiffs to North Country Kids, Inc., and to reduce the number of case referrals made to Corporate Plaintiffs. See id. ¶ 43. No such transfers of intervention sessions or reductions in referrals were made by County Defendants prior to Pyramids' and Dorsett-Felicelli's complaints. Id . ¶ 45.
On December 5, 2007, Pyramids filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of New York. Dkt. No. 80-2. The petition did not list the instant action as an asset in the bankruptcy proceeding. See generally id. On October 6, 2009, the bankruptcy court dismissed Pyramids' bankruptcy proceeding. In re Dorsett-Felicelli, Inc., No. 07-13345-1, Dkt. No. 109 (Bankr. N.D.N.Y. Oct. 6, 2009).
B. Procedural Background
Corporate Plaintiffs commenced this action by filing a Complaint on September 30, 2004. Compl. The Complaint alleged three causes of action: (1) that County Defendants violated Corporate Plaintiffs' First Amendment right to free speech by transferring intervention sessions away from Corporate Plaintiffs and reducing case referrals to them in retaliation for Pyramids' and Dorsett-Felicelli's complaints; (2) that County Defendants violated Corporate Plaintiffs' First Amendment rights to petition the government for redress of grievances and for unimpeded access to the courts by taking those actions; and (3) that North Country Kids engaged in tortious interference with Corporate Plaintiffs' contractual relationship with County Defendants. Id . ¶¶ 69-74.
On March 12, 2009, Corporate Plaintiffs moved to amend and supplement the Complaint in several respects. Dkt. No. 51 ("Motion to Amend"). The Honorable Randolph F. Treece, U.S. Magistrate Judge, granted in part and denied in part the Motion to Amend. Dkt. No. 73. Among other things, Judge Treece permitted Corporate Plaintiffs to add Dorsett-Felicelli as a Plaintiff with respect only to the first and second causes of action. Id. at 45. The Amended Complaint, in which Dorsett-Felicelli also asserts the first and second causes of action against County Defendants, was filed on October 2, 2009. Am. Compl.
On October 9, 2009, North Country Kids filed a Motion to dismiss all causes of action asserted against them in the Amended Complaint. Dkt. No. 80 ("NCK Motion to Dismiss"). The Court granted the Motion in full in the March 2011 Order. Mar. 2011 Order. The NCK Motion and NCK Letter Motion followed on April 19 and May 9, 2011, respectively. See North Country Kids' Mots. In their Motions, North Country Kids request entry of partial final judgment as to them, arguing that it would be unjust to force them to wait for final judgment until all causes of action asserted against County Defendants are also resolved. See Dkt. No. 112-3 at 1. Corporate Plaintiffs, which are not currently represented by counsel, do not oppose North Country Kids' Motions. See generally Dkt.
County Defendants filed their Motion to dismiss on May 16, 2011. Cnty. Defs.' Mot. In their Motion, County Defendants request dismissal of all causes of action asserted against them in the Amended Complaint by Corporate Plaintiffs. See id. Corporate ...