2 F.Supp.2d 128 (D.Mass. 1998), Civ. A. 97-10777, French v. United Parcel Service, Inc.

Docket Nº:Civ. A. 97-10777
Citation:2 F.Supp.2d 128
Party Name:French v. United Parcel Service, Inc.
Case Date:April 07, 1998
Court:United States District Courts, 1st Circuit, District of Massachusetts

Page 128

2 F.Supp.2d 128 (D.Mass. 1998)

Christopher FRENCH, Plaintiff,



No. Civ.A. 97-10777-GAO.

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts.

April 7, 1998

Page 129

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 130

Litigant's Attorney, Alan S. Fanger, Needham, MA, for Litigant Christopher French, plaintiff.

Sharon R. Burger, Christa von der Luft, Nutter, McClennen & Fish, Boston, MA, for United Parcel Service, defendant.


O'TOOLE, District Judge.

In this action, the defendant United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS") has moved to dismiss the plaintiff Christopher French's complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the following reasons, UPS' motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is granted.

The complaint alleges the following facts. French began employment with UPS in March 1984 as a track loader. During the next fourteen years he rose through the ranks to the position of Business Manager of the UPS facility in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. On August 17, 1996, after completing his shift, French invited three fellow UPS employees from the Chelmsford facility to attend a beer festival in Derry, New Hampshire. One of the invited employees, Tom Clark, was French's superior. The two other employees, Bari Boyce and Daniel DeButts were supervisory employees but lower in rank than French. Clark, DeButts and Boyce spent several hours at French's home where DeButts consumed alcoholic beverages and became intoxicated, "emotionally volatile and uncontrollable." Compl. ¶ 5. French let DeButts "dry out" in his garage. Id. While DeButts was alone in the garage, he lost control and "went into a violent rage, causing injury to himself." Id. ¶ 6. French, together with Clark and Boyce, found DeButts lying in the garage bleeding. An ambulance was called and DeButts was taken to a local hospital where he was treated and released after twenty-four hours.

Following the incident, French's supervisor, Clark, requested that French report it to his superiors at the Chelmsford facility. "Believing that the incident was none of UPS' business," French initially decided not to do so. Id. ¶ 8. Clark continued to press French, however, and on August 19, 1996, French informed four of the supervisors below him of the details of the incident. Two days later, French related the details of the incident to the division manager of operations, who was French's superior. French was put on leave pending an investigation of the incident. As a result of this suspension, French began treatment for depression. During the next several months while French was still on leave, UPS personnel demanded that French meet with them to discuss the incident. "During these meetings the Plaintiff was peppered with questions, brow-beaten about the incident, and otherwise shamed and made to feel as if his life outside of work was important to his success and future with UPS." Id. ¶ 11. In addition, "UPS repeatedly contacted the mental health professionals who were treating French for depression to determine his condition and prognosis for recovery." Id. ¶ 12. On January 29, 1997, French was demoted to the position of supervisor. He returned to work for about five weeks, but then resigned because of the humiliation he felt in having to perform tasks which he had not been required to perform since the late 1980s. French subsequently brought this complaint, alleging four causes of action against UPS: invasion of privacy; reckless infliction of emotional distress; violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act; and wrongful constructive discharge.

UPS has moved to dismiss all four counts of French's complaint. Dismissal under Fed.R. 12(b) (6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted is proper when it appears beyond a doubt that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to relief. Berner v. Delahanty, 129 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 1997). French is required to set forth in his complaint direct or inferential factual allegations regarding each material element necessary to sustain recovery under some legal theory. Dartmouth Review v. Dartmouth College, 889 F.2d 13, 16 (1st Cir. 1989).

Count 1: Invasion of Privacy

The Massachusetts' right of privacy statute, MassachusettsGen.L. ch. 214, § 1B, provides that "A person shall have a right against unreasonable, substantial or serious interference

Page 131

with his privacy." To constitute an invasion of privacy, the invasion must be both unreasonable and serious or substantial. Schlesinger v....

To continue reading