ORDER ON MOTION TO DISMISS
Hon. Mary Gay Kennedy, Superior Court Justice.
Defendant Olympia Sports has moved to dismiss Plaintiff Maureen Goff's Complaint for improper venue and to dismiss Count III of the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Maine Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(3) and (6), This court held a non-testimonial hearing on the Defendant's Motion. The Plaintiff has opposed the Defendant's Motion.
The Plaintiff's Complaint contains three counts: Count I is for Maine Human Rights Act age discrimination; Count II is for Maine Human Rights Act retaliation; and Count III is a whistleblower claim. The Plaintiff is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as monetary damages. Her claims are based upon alleged violations of the Maine Human Rights Act (" MHRA"), 5 M.R.S.A. § 4551 et seq ., and the Whistleblowers' Protection Act (" WPA"), 26 M.R.S.A. § 831 et seq .
I. Factual and procedural background
Ms. Goff is a resident of New Gloucester, Maine. (Compl. ¶ 1.) New Gloucester is in Cumberland County. Olympia Sports is a Maine corporation. (Compl. ¶ 2.) According to the Defendant, Olympia Sports' principal place of business is in Westbrook, which is in Cumberland County. Olympia Sports also has over 200 stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including a place of business in Auburn, Maine. (Compl. ¶ ¶ 2, 5.) The Defendant has alleged that Ms. Goff was employed at Olympia Sports in Westbrook.
Ms. Goff began working for Olympia Sports in February of 1994. (Compl. ¶ 12.) In November of 2009, Dick Coffey asked Ms. Goff when she was planning on retiring in advance of her performance evaluation. (Compl. ¶ 14.) At the time, Ms. Goff was 61 and stated that she did not want to retire and could not retire for financial reasons. (Compl. ¶ 14.) Subsequently, in February of 2011, Mr. Coffey, Olympia Sports' then president, and Ms. Goff's supervisor at the time, announced to Ms. Goff that he was planning on retiring and that Eddie Manganello would be the new president. (Compl. ¶ 15.) He informed Ms. Goff that he had looked into her age and realized that she turned 63 the following December. (Compl. ¶ 15.) He again asked her when she planned on retiring, and she reiterated that she could not afford to retire. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Mr. Coffey informed Ms. Goff that she could remain until he retired in October of 2011. (Compl. ¶ 15.)
In February of 2011 a field position became available. (Compl. ¶ 16.) While Ms. Goff had held the job in the past, it was offered to an allegedly less qualified man in his thirties. (Compl. ¶ 16.) On March 18, 2011, Mr. Coffey informed Ms. Goff that she would need to determine when she was planning on retiring, and that in August she would no longer be permitted to attend staff meetings, since they would be run by Mr. Manganello. (Compl. ¶ 17.)
On March 22, 2011 around 9 a.m., Mr. Coffey announced that a group of three men in their thirties and forties were the future of the company, and he omitted the CFO, who was in his 50s. (Compl. ¶ 18.) Mr. Coffey also asked Ms. Goff what she had decided, and she replied that she wished to continue working and retirement was not economically feasible for her. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Mr. Coffey again stated that she could work until October, and Ms. Goff informed him that what the company was doing was not legal. (Compl. ¶ 19.) Later that afternoon, around 4:30 p.m., Mr. Coffey asked if she was prepared to talk. (Compl ¶ 20.) She responded that she needed to talk to her husband at home, rather than over the phone. (Compl. ¶ 20.) Mr. Coffey was " upset and stomped away." (Compl. ¶ 20.)
The next day, March 23, 2011, Ms. Goff was fired, and she was told that she had two days to make a determination regarding a severance package. (Compl. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff claims that changing her separation date from the company was retaliatory and pretextual. (Compl ¶ 24.)
On December 8, 2011, Ms. Goff filed a discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission (" MHRC"). (Compl. ¶ 7.) Olympia Sports' President stated in a hearing with the MHRC investigator that March 23rd was Ms. Goff's last day, because Ms. Goff had stated that what the company was doing was illegal. (Compl. ¶ 27.)
On December 27, 2013, the MHRC issued a letter permitting Goff to pursue her action in court. (Compl. ¶ 8.)
II. Standard of review
When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) the Law Court has held that:
'[w]e view the material allegation of the complaint as admitted and examine the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff to determine whether it sets forth elements of a cause of action or alleges facts that would entitle the plaintiff to relief pursuant to some legal theory. A dismissal is appropriate only when it appears beyond doubt that a plaintiff is entitled to no relief under any set of facts ...