United States District Court, S.D. New York
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Chuan Wang, Plaintiff, Pro se, Lexington, Mass.
For Defendants: Timothy M. Pomarole, Esq., Peabody & Arnold L.L.P., Boston, Mass.
For Defendants: Catherine B. Kelleher, Esq., Sedgwick L.L.P., New York, N.Y.
OPINION AND ORDER
KENNETH M. KARAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
On April 1, 2013, pro se Plaintiff Chuan Wang (" Plaintiff" ) filed a Complaint against Samuel J. Palmisano (" Palmisano" ), Martin Schroeter (" Schroeter" ), Mark Loughridge (" Loughridge" ), and J. Randall MacDonald (" MacDonald" ) (collectively, " Defendants" ), who are, respectively, the President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman; the Treasurer; the Chief Financial Officer; and a Senior Vice President
of International Business Machines Corp. (" IBM" ). ( See Compl. ¶ ¶ 2-5 (Dkt. No. 1).) The Complaint alleges multiple claims under federal and Massachusetts state law related to Plaintiff's employment, termination, and subsequent reapplication efforts at IBM. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion To Dismiss all claims. ( See Notice of Mot. To Dismiss (Dkt. No. 16).) For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is granted.
A. Factual History
The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint and are taken as true for the purposes of resolving the instant Motion. Plaintiff, a resident of Massachusetts, is a Chinese-American man and, at the time he filed his Complaint in April 2013, was 56 years old. ( See Compl. ¶ 12.) In February 2008, Plaintiff received a job offer from IBM, a corporation headquartered in New York. ( See id. ¶ 6, 16.) Artech Information Systems L.L.C. (" Artech" ), a separate corporation that previously arranged Plaintiff's interview for the job, ( see id. ¶ 15), informed Plaintiff of the offer, forwarded a proposed employment agreement, and explained to Plaintiff many of the offer's key terms, ( id. ¶ ¶ 16, 18-19). Specifically, Artech told Plaintiff that the offer was for a " full-time position with [a] term of one year or longer," and that he would work " exclusively for IBM." ( Id. ¶ 18.) Artech also told Plaintiff that, because his job was " computer related[,]" he would be an " exempt employee" and therefore " not entitled to [an] overtime pay rate for overtime work he performed, if any." ( Id. ¶ 19.) Plaintiff alleges that he " believed many terms in [the] Employment Agreement [were] unlawful and unfair, [and,] therefore, unacceptable[,]" but he does not allege that he contested the terms or otherwise notified Artech, IBM, or Defendants of his " belie[f.]" ( Id. ¶ 17.)
From March 11, 2008 to March 28, 2008, Plaintiff " performed a full-time service under the direction and control of IBM, and exclusively for IBM." ( Id. ¶ 21.) During this time, Plaintiff worked for 14 days and performed " more than 112 hours" of work in total. ( Id. ¶ ¶ 21-22.) However, in reliance on Artech's prior representations, Plaintiff " assumed [that] he was only entitled to claim [to Artech and/or IBM that he worked] the maximum of 8 hours per day[.]" ( Id. ¶ 22.)
" On about March 28, 2008," Plaintiff's job " was terminated by the defendants." ( Id. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff alleges that his " termination was a result" of his " refus[al] to give up his rights provided by [the] Massachusetts Wage Act and [the] Fair Labor Standards Act." ( Id. ¶ 24.)
Subsequent to terminating Plaintiff, " Defendants, Artech, and/or IBM failed to pay [him] for his services." ( Id. ¶ 27.) Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that he has " repeatedly"
" made many job applications" to IBM, and that he " directly mailed" the applications to Defendants " many times." ( Id. ¶ ¶ 30-31.) Plaintiff also alleges that he " was interviewed by IBM about five times" in connection with his job applications. ( Id. ¶ 32.) However, " IBM repeatedly rejected each and every . . . application made by Plaintiff," a pattern of behavior that Plaintiff alleges has " continued for many years." ( Id. ¶ 34.) Accordingly, " Plaintiff has been unemployed since he was discharged from IBM on about March 28, 2008." ( Id. ¶ 25.)
B. Procedural History
This case is the latest in a line of cases Plaintiff has initiated in both state and federal courts. First, on February 12, 2009, Plaintiff filed a complaint against IBM and Artech in Massachusetts state court. ( See id. ¶ 36.) The case was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds without prejudice. See Wang v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 76 Mass.App.Ct. 1123, 924 N.E.2d 334 (Mass.App. Ct. 2010) (unpublished table decision).
Second, Plaintiff filed another complaint in Massachusetts state court on November 25, 2009. ( See Compl. ¶ 42; see also Mem. in Supp. of Mot. To Dismiss (" Defs.' Mem." ) Ex. B (Dkt. No. 17) (docket details for Massachusetts Civil Docket MICV2009-04616).) The complaint alleged 11 claims arising out of the same events that form the basis of the instant Complaint. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. A (Plaintiff's amended complaint in the second state-court case).) Moreover, in addition to naming IBM and Artech as defendants, Plaintiff also named as defendants Palmisano, Loughridge, and Ranjini Poddar (" Poddar" ), the former two of whom are defendants in this case. ( See id.) On September 30, 2010, the state court granted a motion to dismiss the claims against Palmisano, Loughridge, and Poddar for lack of personal jurisdiction. ( See Compl. ¶ 43; Defs.' Mem. Ex. B (docket details indicating dismissal of Palmisano, Loughridge, and Poddar on Sept. 30, 2010); Defs.' Mem. Ex. C at unnumbered 1 (clerk's notice of dismissal).) Then, in an order entered on July 28, 2011, the state court granted summary judgment in favor of IBM and Artech on all claims. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. C at unnumbered 2-11 (state court memorandum and decision on motion for summary judgment).) Plaintiff appealed both the dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction and the grant of summary judgment. On July 25, 2012, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts affirmed in part and reversed in part the lower court's order. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. D (appellate court memorandum and order); Mem. in Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. To Dismiss Compl. (" Pl.'s Mem." ) Ex. E (Dkt. No. 21)
(same).) Specifically, it affirmed the dismissal on personal-jurisdiction grounds, although it modified the judgment to specify that the dismissal was without prejudice. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. D at unnumbered 3.) And it affirmed summary judgment on nine of the claims alleged against IBM and Artech. ( See id. at unnumbered 2-3.) However, it reversed summary judgment on two of those claims, both of which related to Plaintiff's allegation that IBM and Artech discharged him in retaliation for assertion of his rights under Massachusetts' Wage Act. ( See id. at unnumbered 1-2.) Plaintiff appealed that decision to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, but that court denied the appeal without explanation. See Wang v. Int'l Bus. Machs. Corp., 464 Mass. 1107');"> 464 Mass. 1107, 984 N.E.2d 295 (2013).
Third, on January 4, 2011, after the Massachusetts state court dismissed Palmisano, Loughridge, and Poddar for lack of personal jurisdiction but before it granted summary judgment to IBM and Artech, Plaintiff filed another complaint, this time in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. ( See Compl. ¶ 44.) In his second amended complaint in that action, Plaintiff alleged 19 claims arising out of his employment relationship with IBM and Artech, and in addition to naming Palmisano, Loughridge, and Poddar as defendants, he named Schroeter, MacDonald, Robert C. Weber, Jesse J. Greene, Jr., and CDI Corporation (" CDI" ), the first two of which are defendants in this case. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. E (Plaintiffs' second amended complaint in the first Massachusetts federal case).) On December 9, 2011, the district court dismissed the complaint in its entirety pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See Wang v. Schroeter, No. 11-CV-10009, 2011 WL 6148579, at *6 (D. Mass. Dec. 9, 2011). ( See also Defs. Mem. Ex. F.) With regard to CDI, it held that the complaint failed to state a claim. See Wang, 2011 WL 6148579, at *1 n.1, *3. And with regard to the individual defendants--including all of the defendants in this Action--the court held that it lacked personal jurisdiction over those parties. See Id. at *5. The court also denied Plaintiff's motion to file a third amended complaint, which complaint would have named IBM and Artech as defendants. See Id. at *2, *6. Plaintiff appealed, and, on December 10, 2012, the First Circuit entered a judgment affirming the district court's order in full. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. G.)
Fourth, on January 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed another complaint, again in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. I (docket details for District of Massachusetts Case No. 13-CV-10043).) In his amended complaint in that case, he alleged seven claims arising out of his employment relationship with IBM and Artech, but this time he named only IBM, Artech, and CDI as defendants. ( See Defs.' Mem. Ex. H (Plaintiff's amended complaint in second Massachusetts federal case).) The court ultimately entered two orders dismissing Plaintiff's claims, first against CDI on April 26, 2013, and second against IBM and Artech on June 26, 2013, both based on the grounds of res judicata and failure to state a claim. ( See Letter from Timothy M. Pomarole to Court (June 9, 2014) (Dkt. No. 24) (attaching First Circuit Court of Appeals' judgment affirming the district court's two dismissal orders).) The First Circuit affirmed those orders on May 20, 2014. ( See id.)
Finally, on April 1, 2013, Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint against Palmisano, Schroeter, Loughridge, and MacDonald. ( See Compl.) Plaintiff alleges 10 claims in the Complaint, including (1) failure to pay Plaintiff a minimum wage, in violation of Massachusetts' Wage Act (" Wage Act" ),
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148; (2) failure to pay Plaintiff a minimum wage, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 206; (3) unlawful discharge of Plaintiff in retaliation for seeking rights under the Wage Act, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148A; (4) unlawful discharge of Plaintiff in retaliation for seeking rights under the FLSA, in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3); (5) unlawful refusal to hire Plaintiff in retaliation for seeking rights under the FLSA, in violation of 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3); (6) unlawful refusal to hire Plaintiff in retaliation for seeking rights under the Wage Act, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148A; (7) unlawful refusal to hire Plaintiff based on his age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a)(1); (8) unlawful refusal to hire Plaintiff based on his age, in violation of Massachusetts state law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151B, § 4(1B); (9) failure to pay Plaintiff an overtime wage, in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, § 1A; and (10) failure to pay Plaintiff an overtime wage, in violation of the FLSA, 29 U.S.C. § 207.
Pursuant to a Scheduling Order the Court entered after a conference held on October 24, 2013, ( see Dkt. No. 15), Defendants filed their Motion To Dismiss and accompanying Memorandum of Law on November 4, 2013, ( see Dkt. Nos. 16-17), Plaintiff filed an Affidavit and a Memorandum of Law in opposition to Defendants' Motion on December 31, 2013, ( see Dkt. Nos. ...