APPEALS FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS [Hon. F. Dennis Saylor IV, U.S. District Judge]
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Boudin, Circuit Judge.
Before Boudin, Lipez and Howard, Circuit Judges.
This appeal embraces two of the many private lawsuits brought against healthcare providers throughout the country by a single law firm. These two suits, like others of the same pattern, allege that various hospital employees who work for the particular hospital or hospital group have been deprived of compensation for work performed during their meal break, for work performed before and after shifts, and for time spent attending training sessions.
The named plaintiffs, Patricia Cavallaro and Monique Herman, brought the two lawsuits at issue here seeking to represent a potential class of hospital employees--some covered by collective bargaining agreements ("CBAs") and others not; the defendants were eight named entities (primarily hospitals and health care providers) in the UMass Memorial Healthcare network ("UMass") and two officials of UMass (CEO John O'Brien and Human Resources VP Patricia Webb). Ultimately, the district court dismissed all but one claim on grounds of "complete preemption" and the remaining claim on the merits.*fn1
One case, denominated No. 11-1073 in this court, began as an action in Massachusetts state court and asserted only state law claims, reflecting the type of wage issues loosely described above, based on contract, common law torts and regulatory statutes. The case was removed by UMass on the ground--revealed not in the complaint but in the motion to dismiss--that Cavallaro and Herman are employees of one network hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center ("UMMC") and, as members of the Massachusetts Nursing Association, the terms of their employment are governed by a CBA.
The second case, No. 11-1793 in this court, began as an original action in the federal district court and, raising like wage issues, asserted claims under federal law--specifically, the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 206-207, and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), id. §§ 1059(a)(1), 1104(a)(1). The district court dismissed the claims on the ground that the plaintiffs had failed adequately to allege an employment relationship with any of the named defendants.*fn2
The plaintiffs appeal in each of the two cases. The two appeals, although addressed to the same or overlapping conduct, present different questions and we address them separately. The issues relating to the state law claims largely turn on legal doctrine as to which our review is de novo. O'Donnell v. Boggs, 611 F.3d 50, 53 (1st Cir. 2010). The dismissal of the federal action rested on a judgment call as to which the standard of review, given the circumstances, does not fit neatly into one category.
No. 11-1073 (State Law Claims). The original state complaint alleged thirteen counts that may be grouped as follows:
-violation of the Massachusetts Payment of Wages Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 148 (Count 1);
-violation of the overtime provision of the Massachusetts Fair Minimum Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, § 1A (Count 2);
-breach of contract or implied contract (Counts 3, 4 and 5);
-money had and received; quantum meruit/unjust enrichment (Counts 6 and 7);
-fraud and conversion (Counts 8 and 12);
-negligent misrepresentation (Count 9);
-equitable and promissory estoppel (Counts 10 ...