United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING AND ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
A. BOLDEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
January 30, 2018, Lori Alterio (“Plaintiff”)
filed a civil complaint in Connecticut Superior Court against
Almost Family, Inc. (“Defendant” or “Almost
Family), her former employer. Compl., ECF No. 1-1. Ms.
Alterio alleges that she was terminated in violation of the
public policy of the state of Connecticut and the covenant of
good faith and fair dealing. Id.
March 2, 2018, Almost Family removed the case to this Court
on diversity grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 1446.
Notice of Removal from State Court, ECF No. 1, ¶¶
March 9, 2018, Almost Family moved to dismiss the case. Def.
Mot. to Dismiss or for a More Definite Statement (“Mot.
to Dismiss”), ECF No. 10.
reasons set forth below, the Court now
GRANTS Almost Family's motion to
dismiss, ECF No. 10, but also grants Ms. Alterio leave to
file an Amended Complaint by April 5, 2019.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
more than 20 years at Almost Family, Inc., Ms. Alterio
allegedly held “positions of increasing
responsibility[.]” Compl. ¶ 6. In October of 2016,
Ms. Alterio allegedly agreed to serve as the Director of
Professional Services for Almost Family's Trumbull,
Connecticut Willcare Agency. ¶ 9.
the next year, Ms. Alterio allegedly discovered several
documentation and healthcare compliance issues at various
Almost Family sites in Connecticut. Id. ¶ 19.
She allegedly conducted an audit and discovered deficiencies
in employee and patient recordkeeping at Almost Family's
Watermark Assisted Living Facility and Sunrise of Stamford
facility. Id. ¶ 6. Ms. Alterio allegedly
communicated her concerns about missing documents and
non-compliance to Brent Piepenbring, Almost Family's
Executive Director for Connecticut, and Sippy Olarsch, Almost
Family's Northeast Regional Rehab Director. Id.
summer of 2017, Ms. Alterio allegedly informed Almost
Family's previous Executive Director, Nicole Lavin, and
Northeast Regional Clinical President, Sheryl Rossingnol,
that the company needed to hire a new Home Health Aide
Supervisor to comply with Connecticut state requirements.
Id. ¶ 25-27. Ms. Rossingnol allegedly told Ms.
Alterio that a registered nurse from another branch had been
designated as the new Home Health Supervisor for Connecticut.
Id. ¶ 28. Ms. Alterio still felt that there
were compliance issues since Almost Family's
“Willcare Agency [allegedly] held its own provider
number which separates it from the defendant's other
offices.” Id. ¶ 29. Ms. Rossignol
allegedly told Ms. Alterio to address the issue with Mr.
Piepenbring. Id. ¶ 30. Ms. Alterio allegedly
raised her concerns in meetings with Mr. Piepenbring in July
and September of 2017. Id. ¶ 32.
Alterio also allegedly expressed concerned about an account
executive who “would overstep the legal boundaries of
his position and participate [in] the clinical
decision-making process, in violation of the regulations of
the State of Connecticut.” Id. ¶ 34. She
allegedly raised these concerns with Mr. Piepenbring in
October of 2017. Id. ¶ 37.
November 3, 2017, Almost Family allegedly terminated Ms.
Alterio from its employment. Id. ¶ 6. Ms.
Alterio contends that she “was terminated by the
defendant as a result of the legitimate, scrupulous and
professional efforts [she took to] properly maintain health
care records, properly appoint a Home Health Aide Supervisor,
keep a separation between clinical . . . and non-clinical
staff in communicating with a patient's physician when
developing a patient's healthcare plan, [in honor of] the
provisions of the Connecticut Patient Bill of Rights.”
Id. ¶ 48.
Alterio therefore alleges that Almost Family unlawfully
discharged her in violation of the public policy of the state
of Connecticut, id. ¶¶ 1-54, and breached
the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, id.
January 30, 2018, Ms. Alterio filed her Complaint in
Connecticut Superior Court, Judicial District of Fairfield.
March 2, 2018, Almost Family removed the case on diversity
grounds under 28 U.S.C. § 1441 and 1446, alleging that
Almost Family is incorporated in Delaware with a principal
place of business in Kentucky, and that the amount in