United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING REMANDING THE CASE FOR LACK OF SUBJECT MATTER
A. BOLDEN UNITED STATE DISTRICT JUDGE.
Susan Cutillo, has sued her former employer, Wellmore
Behavioral Health (“Wellmore”), alleging a total
of twelve legal claims arising out of two separate series of
events. Am. Compl., ECF No. 20. First, she alleges that one
of her Wellmore supervisors sexually harassed her. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 34-39, Count Nine, ECF No. 20. Second, she
claims that Wellmore fraudulently encouraged and facilitated
her application to a student loan repayment program operated
by the federal government, for which she was not eligible.
Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 17, 19-32.
Cutillo alleges that Wellmore’s behavior constitutes
(1) a breach of fiduciary duty; (2) a breach of a statutory
duty; (3) negligent misrepresentation; (4) fraud; (5)
tortious interference with a contract; (6) fraud in the
inducement of a contract; (7) negligence; (8) breach of the
covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (9) a violation of
the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, Conn. Gen.
Stat. §46a-60 et seq.; (10) negligent
infliction of emotional distress; (11) intentional infliction
of emotional distress; and (12) a violation of the
Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act (“CUTPA”),
Conn. Gen. Stat. 42-110a et seq. Id . at Counts One
Cutillo initiated this action in state court. Wellmore
removed the matter to this Court, claiming that it involves
questions of federal law under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et
seq. Notice of Removal 1, ECF No. 1. Now, there are four
motions pending, including a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
18; Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 22; Second Mot. to Amend/Correct
Compl., ECF No. 41; First Mot. to Quash Subpoena, ECF No. 45.
After these motions were filed and fully briefed, Ms. Cutillo
voluntarily dismissed with prejudice, Count Nine, alleging
sexual harassment under CFEPA, Count Ten, alleging negligent
infliction of emotional distress, Count Eleven, claiming
intentional infliction of emotional distress, and Count
Twelve, alleging a violation of CUTPA. Stipulation, ECF No.
58. All of her other claims remain pending at this time.
addressing any of the pending motions, however, the Court
must determine whether it has subject matter jurisdiction
over this case. See Transatl. Marine Claims Agency, Inc.
v. Ace Shipping Corp., 109 F.3d 105, 107-08 (2d Cir.
1997) (subject matter jurisdiction cannot be waived and may
be raised by motion or sua sponte at any time); Sarfraz
v. Vohra Health Servs., PA, 663 F.Supp.2d 147, 149
(E.D.N.Y. 2009) (noting “the Court’s
responsibility to be assured at all times of its subject
matter jurisdiction”); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(h)(3) (“If
the court determines at any time that it lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction, the court must dismiss the action.”);
see also 28 U.S.C. §1447(c) (“If at any
time before final judgment it appears that the district court
lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be
remanded.”); Malanca v. Worth, No.
3:11cv0056(SRU)(WIG), 2011 WL 941381, at *2 (D. Conn. Feb. 8,
2011) (“Lack of removal jurisdiction may be raised by
the Court sua sponte” and upon determining the
Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, “a remand is
Court provided counsel with an opportunity to brief this
issue. Order, ECF No. 51. Wellmore submitted a brief arguing
that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this
case. Def.’s Br. on Jurisdiction, ECF No. 53. For the
reasons that follow, the Court disagrees with Wellmore and
finds that Ms. Cutillo has failed to state any federal legal
claims and, therefore, that it lacks subject matter
jurisdiction over this matter. Accordingly, all of the
pending motions are denied as moot.
Cutillo alleges that she began working for Wellmore on
December 12, 2012 as “Vice President of Adult
Services.” Am. Compl. ¶ 6, ECF No. 20. She claims
that after January 1, 2013, Wellmore told her that it was
enrolled in a federal program which allowed qualified
employees to receive money towards outstanding student loan
debt. Id. ¶ 10. This program is allegedly
administered by the National Health Services Corps
(“NHSC”), which is part of the Federal Department
of Health and Human Services and the Health Resources and
Services Administration. Id. ¶ 11. She claims
that NHSC’s mission, which the loan repayment program
also serves, is to improve the health care services available
to patients in particular identified areas of need.
Id. ¶ 12.
Cutillo alleges that successful applicants to this loan
repayment program enter a contract agreeing to provide
health-related services for two years or more “in a
position of need at a site approved by NHSC” and to
“report to NHSC any change in the participant’s
employment status at the approved site.” Id.
¶ 13. She also claims that employers that have positions
eligible for the loan repayment program receive some kind of
benefit, because they are able to attract more qualified
employees. Id. ¶ 53.
Cutillo alleges that Wellmore “actively
encouraged” her to apply to the NHSC loan repayment
program and that, as a result, she applied to the program in
April 2013. Id. ¶¶ 16-17. She was approved
to participate in the program in August 2013. Id.
Cutillo contends that Wellmore misrepresented her job and the
nature of the services she and Wellmore provided to ensure
that she was accepted into the program. In particular, she
claims that in support of her application, and without her
knowledge, Wellmore misrepresented that she was a
“hands on” care provider or that she was a
“full time direct service to client employee.”
Id. ¶¶ 21-22. She alleges that an
individual in U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s office
informed her that this misinformation likely played a
dispositive role in her approval for the program.
Id. ¶ 23.
Cutillo also contends that, while Wellmore was an
NHSC-approved site for mental health care in February 2013,
it was in the process of phasing out the mental health
component of its services. Id. ¶¶ 14,
24-26. She claims that this phase-out resulted in Wellmore
losing its status as an NHSC-approved health care site. Ms.
Cutillo alleges that Wellmore never told her it was approved
by NHSC for mental health care, as opposed to another type of
health treatment, and that it failed to inform NHSC that it
was transitioning its focus away from mental health toward
substance abuse and addiction. Id. ¶¶
27-28. She also claims that when she filed this case in
September 2015, Wellmore was no longer an NHSC-approved site.
Id. ¶ 33.
Cutillo alleges that she resigned from her employment with
Wellmore on September 30, 2013 and stopped working there on
November 1, 2013. Id. ¶¶ 40-41.