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Lipsitt v. Plaud, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-156-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750;  (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11285   CYRUS D. LIPSITT  vs.  JOSEPH J. PLAUD & another.[1] Worcester.     April 2, 2013.  ‑  August 12, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Massachusetts Wage Act.  Common Law.  Contract, Employment, Performance and breach.  Damages, Quantum meruit.  Practice, Civil, Statute of limitations, Motion to dismiss, Motion to amend.  Limitations, Statute of.  Attorney General.  Corporation, Corporate disregard.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on September 20, 2010.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Dennis J. Curran, J., and a motion to amend the complaint was considered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Mark I. Zarrow for the plaintiff. Brandon H. Moss for the defendants.       CORDY, J.  In this case, we are asked to decide whether G. L. c. 149, §§ 148, 150 (Wage Act), is intended to be the exclusive remedy for the recovery of unpaid wages under Massachusetts law, preempting common-law claims for breach of contract and related quasi-contract claims.  We conclude that it is not. Cyrus D. Lipsitt filed suit against the defendants, the Franklin D. Roosevelt American Heritage Center, Inc. (Heritage Center), and its president, Joseph J. Plaud, for failing to pay approximately $ 117,500 in compensation he claimed was owed to him under an employment contract.  The complaint asserted claims for breach of contract, quantum meruit, and violations of the Wage Act, among others.  A judge in the Superior Court dismissed all but Lipsitt’s claim under the Wage Act, reasoning that the Wage Act is the exclusive remedy for the recovery of unpaid wages, thereby preempting his common-law claims.  Further, because Wage Act claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations, G. L. c. 149, § 150, the judge ruled that Lipsitt’s potential recovery would be limited to wages earned but unpaid during the three-year period preceding the filing of the suit.  After voluntarily dismissing the remaining portion of his Wage Act claim with prejudice, Lipsitt appealed from the earlier dismissal and we transferred his appeal to this court on our own motion.  We reverse. 1.  Background.  We review the allowance of a motion to dismiss de novo, accepting as true all factual allegations in the complaint and favorable inferences drawn therefrom.  Curtis v. Herb Chambers I-95, Inc. 458 Mass. 674, 676 […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 13, 2013 at 2:19 am

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