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Beaulac v. All Systems Satellite Distributors, Inc.

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

September 21, 2017

Deborah Beaulac and Nicholas Beattie
v.
All Systems Satellite Distributors, Inc., Richard Logiudice, and Gene's Electronics, Inc. Opinion No. 2017 DNH 203

          ORDER

          JOSEPH DICLERICO, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Deborah Beaulac and Nicholas Beattie brought suit against their previous employers: All Systems Satellite Distributors, Inc.[1]; Richard Logiudice, an owner and officer of All Systems; and Gene's Electronics, Inc. Beaulac and Beattie allege claims against All Systems, Logiudice, and Gene's that arose from events that occurred after Beaulac left All Systems and Gene's hired and then fired Beaulac and Beattie. All Systems and Logiudice move to dismiss the claims brought against them.

         Standard of Review

         In considering a motion to dismiss, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, disregarding mere legal conclusions, and resolves reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Galvin v. U.S. Bank, N.A., 852 F.3d 146, 155 (1st Cir. 2017). Taken in that light, the complaint must state sufficient facts to support a plausible claim for relief. In re Curran, 855 F.3d 19, 25 (1st Cir. 2017). The plausibility standard is satisfied if the factual allegations in the complaint “are sufficient to support the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable.” In re Fidelity ERISA Float Litig., 829 F.3d 55, 59 (1st Cir. 2016) (internal quotation marks omitted). The complaint need not include “a high degree of factual specificity” but “must contain more than a rote recital of the elements of a cause of action.” Carcia-Catalan v. United States, 734 F.3d 100, 103 (1st Cir. 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In their objection to the motion to dismiss, Beaulac and Beattie argue that the motion should not be considered because discovery is needed to develop facts to support their claims. They are mistaken.[2] A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is an appropriate means to test the sufficiency of the pleadings and does not pertain to what facts may be learned through discovery. See Charles Alan Wright & Arthur Miller, 5 Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1203 (3d ed. 2017); see also, e.g., Filler v. Kellett, 859 F.3d 148, 150 (1st Cir. 2017); Pitroff v. United States, 2017 WL 3614436, at *3 (D.N.H. Aug. 22, 2017); Metro. Prop. & Casualty Ins. Co. v. Savin Hill Family Chiropractic, Inc., --- F.Supp.3d ---, 2017 WL 3120273, at *7 (D. Mass. July 21, 2017); Adams v. Town of Montague, 2015 WL 1292402, at *1 (D. Mass. Mar. 23, 2015) (explaining difference between a motion to dismiss and a motion for summary judgment).

         Background

         Beaulac worked at Satellite Systems beginning in 2006 and was promoted to the position of director of sales in New York and New England in 2008. Her job involved selling satellite television services. Logiudice was the principal owner and chief executive officer of All Systems.

         Although Logiudice had had difficult relationships with some of his employees, Beaulac's relationship with Logiudice was good until 2012. Logiudice then imposed new conditions on Beaulac that included increased travel requirements so that she had to be away from home half of each month and demands that she have her car serviced in Connecticut although she lived in New Hampshire. Beaulac believed that the new conditions were intended to force her to leave All Systems. Beaulac resigned, which was effective October 14, 2016.

         Soon after her resignation, Beaulac received job offers from Gene's Electronics and Perfect 10, another satellite distribution company. Beaulac negotiated with Gene's, explaining that she needed a guarantee of employment for at least six months and wanted a job offer for her fiancé, Beattie. Gene's offered Beaulac and Beattie jobs in a letter dated October 26, 2016, and they accepted.

         In late November of 2016, the principals of Gene's, Stephanie and Darnell Oliver, told Beaulac and Beattie that Logiudice had threatened to stop doing business with Gene's unless they terminated Beaulac's employment. The Olivers proposed that they would change the employment relationship to an independent contractor relationship. The next day, however, the Olivers said that they could not offer the independent contractor positions because of a conflict with All Systems. Gene's then terminated Beaulac and Beattie.

         Beaulac learned that Dan Reno of Hughes Communications had sent her an email, to her All Systems email address, offering her a job there. Logiudice found the email and called Hughes Communications, asserting that Hughes was trying to steal his employee. Logiudice's response to the email ended the offer from Hughes.

         Beaulac and Beattie brought suit against All Systems, Logiudice, and Gene's. The defendants all moved to dismiss the claims brought against them. In response, Beaulac and Beattie filed objections and also filed an amended complaint.

         Because the amended complaint became the operative complaint in the case, the motions to dismiss were denied without prejudice. In the amended complaint, Beaulac and Beattie allege claims against All Systems and Logiudice for tortious interference with a business relationship, Counts I and IV, and ...


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