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CRA International, Inc. v. Painter (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-039-17)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS SUFFOLK, ss. SUPERIOR COURT. 1684CV02417-BLS2 ____________________ CRA INTERNATIONAL, INC. v. DONALD J. PAINTER ____________________ MEMORANDUM AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS AND MOTION TO DISMISS COUNTERCLAIM This lawsuit arises from CRA International, Inc.’s short-lived employment of Donald J. Painter. CRA seeks a declaration that, because Mr. Painter worked for CRA for less than a year, Painter is contractually obligated to repay his $ 30,000 signing bonus and a $ 900,000 loan, pay all interest that has accrued on that loan, and reimburse CRA for reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses incurred to collect that loan. Painter asserts that his employment agreement and promissory note were induced by intentional fraud or negligent misrepresentations and are therefore “invalid” and unenforceable. He also asserts a counterclaim for fraud and seeks leave to amend facts alleged in his counterclaim. The Court concludes that CRA is entitled to the dismissal of Painter’s counterclaim and that Painter’s proposed amendment of his counterclaim would be futile. It also concludes that, given the facts admitted by Painter in his answer and the failure of his fraud in the inducement defense, CRA is entitled to judgment in its favor on its claim for declaratory judgment. The Court will allow CRA’s motion for judgment on the pleadings and to dismiss Painter’s counterclaim, deny Painter’s motion to amend his counterclaim, deny CRA’s motion to strike Painter’s jury demand as moot, and order the entry of a declaratory judgment in CRA’s favor. 1. CRA’s Motion to Dismiss the Counterclaim. Painter’s counterclaim for fraud fails as a matter of law because it does not allege any facts plausibly suggesting that CRA made a false statement of material fact to Painter or that CRA failed to disclose some material information that it had a duty to disclose. See generally Lopez v. Commonwealth, 463 Mass. 696, 701 (2012) (to survive a motion to dismiss under Mass. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a complaint or counterclaim must allege facts that, if true, would “plausibly suggest[] … an entitlement to relief”) (quoting Iannacchino v. Ford – 2 – Motor Co., 451 Mass. 623, 636 (2008), and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 557 (2007)). Painter’s proposed amendment to his counterclaim would be futile for the same reasons. 1.1. The Counterclaim Fails to Allege Any Fraud with Particularity. A claim of fraudulent inducement must be alleged with particularity in accord with Mass. R. Civ. P. 9(b). See VMS Realty Inv., Ltd. v. Keezer, 34 Mass. App. Ct. 119, 119-120 (1993). This rule “heightens the pleading requirements placed on plaintiffs who allege fraud and deceit.” Equipment & Systems for Industry, Inc. v. NorthMeadows Constr. Co., Inc., 59 Mass. App. Ct. 931, 932 […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 27, 2017 at 9:23 am

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