Stevenson v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al
Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV: ORDER entered. MEMORANDUM AND ORDER. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. (Schultz, Allison)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS
AMAZON.COM, INC. and
SECURITY INDUSTRY SPECIALISTS, INC., )
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ON
DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This action arises out of an employment dispute between plaintiff and her former
employer, Security Industry Specialists, Inc. Plaintiff’s only remaining claim seeks the
expungement of allegedly false information from her personnel record pursuant to the
Massachusetts Personnel Records Law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 52C. Defendant Security
Industry Specialists, Inc. has moved for summary judgment on the ground that it has already
expunged the information at issue from plaintiff’s records, thereby granting plaintiff all of the
relief to which she is entitled under the statute. Because it appears undisputed that defendant has
in fact expunged the information, defendant’s motion for summary judgment will be granted.1
The following facts are either undisputed or stated in the light most favorable to the
Plaintiff failed to file an opposition to defendant’s motion for summary judgment and failed to appear at
the hearing on the motion.
plaintiff as the non-moving party.
Plaintiff Janice Stevenson was employed by Security Industry Specialists, Inc. (“SIS”) to
provide security services to its client, Amazon.com, Inc. (Venturini Aff. ¶ 2, 4 & Ex. A). On
September 30, 2015, her supervisor issued an Employee Counseling Form—essentially, a
disciplinary report—to her. (Def. Ex. A). According to the form, the reasons stated for the
counseling were “refusal to perform work duties” and “insubordination.” (Id.).
Stevenson took issue with the form, contending that it contained false information.
(Venturini Aff. ¶ 5; Compl. ¶ 27). On October 5, 2015, she filed this pro se action alleging,
among other things, a violation of Massachusetts Personnel Records Law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch.
149, § 52C. (Compl. ¶¶ 27-33).2 As relevant here, she sought relief in the form of the removal
of the September 30, 2015 counseling form from her personnel record. (Id. at ¶ R-2). On March
17, 2016, the Director of Human Resources at SIS, Jeffrey Venturini, removed the form at issue
from Stevenson’s personnel record. (Venturini Aff. ¶ 6). Stevenson’s personnel record no
longer includes any reference to the September 30, 2015 counseling form. (Id. at ¶ 7).
On January 20, 2017, defendant moved for summary judgment on the only remaining
claim. For the reasons stated below, that motion will be granted.
The role of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order
to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. General Elec. Co., 950 F.2d 816,
The complaint also asserted claims against both SIS and Amazon under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964; the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution; the Equal Rights
Amendment to the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; the Massachusetts payment of wages statute, Mass. Gen.
Laws ch. 149, §§ 148, 150; and the Massachusetts whistleblower statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 185. On
January 22, 2016, this Court dismissed all claims against Amazon and all claims purported to arise under the United
States Constitution pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). On March 2, 2016, defendant SIS moved to dismiss all
remaining claims. On May 13, 2016, that motion was granted as to all claims except the Massachusetts Personnel
Records Law claim.
822 (1st Cir. 1991) (quoting Garside v. Osco Drug, Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 50 (1st Cir.1990)).
Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party shows that “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). A genuine issue is “one that must be decided at trial because the evidence,
viewed in the light most flattering to the nonmovant . . . would permit a rational fact finder to
resolve the issue in favor of either party.” Medina-Munoz v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., 896
F.2d 5, 8 (1st Cir. 1990) (citation omitted). In evaluating a summary judgment motion, the court
indulges all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See O'Connor v. Steeves,
994 F.2d 905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). When “a properly supported motion for summary judgment is
made, the adverse party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotations omitted). The nonmoving party may not simply “rest upon mere allegation or denials of his pleading,” but instead
must “present affirmative evidence.” Id. at 256-57.
The Massachusetts Personnel Records Law provides employees with the right to review
their personnel record. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, § 52C. It also provides that “[i]f an employer
places in a personnel record any information which such employer knew or should have known
to be false, then the employer shall have the remedy through the collective bargaining agreement,
other personnel procedures or judicial process to have such information expunged.” Id. Having
the false information corrected or expunged is the only remedy available under the statute. See
Kessler v. Cambridge Health Alliance, 62 Mass. App. Ct. 589, 597 (2004).
It appears undisputed that SIS removed the counseling form at issue on March 17, 2016.
(Venturini Aff. ¶ 6). As a result, there is no genuine dispute as to a material fact, and defendant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.3
For the reasons stated above, defendant’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
/s/ F. Dennis Saylor
F. Dennis Saylor IV
United States District Judge
Dated: February 27, 2017
The Court notes that, while defendant framed its motion as a motion for summary judgment, it could also
have been framed as a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. As defendant contends, because plaintiff has
already received all of the relief to which she is entitled under the law, her only remaining claim is now moot. See
Cruz v. Farquharson, 252 F.3d 530, 533 (1st Cir. 2001) (holding case moot when plaintiff had already received
complete relief). As a result, it appears that the court no longer has jurisdiction over this matter. See id. (stating that
jurisdictional case and controversy requirement must be satisfied at every stage of litigation and that “[w]hen a case
is moot . . . a case or controversy ceases to exist, and dismissal of the action is compulsory”).
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