United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
LEONARD R. O'NEILL, JR., Plaintiff,
ELECTRIC BOAT CORPORATION, Defendant.
J. McConnell, Jr. United States District Judge
the Court is Defendant Electric Boat Corporation's Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff Leonard R. O'Neill, Jr.'s
Complaint. ECF No. 21.
R. O'Neill, Jr. worked at Electric Boat for fifteen years
as a shipfitter and a structural inspector. Electric Boat
laid him off in 1997 in good standing. In 2013, Mr.
O'Neill applied for work again at Electric Boat and they
offered him a job but rescinded it a few months later after
discovery of Mr. O'Neill's pending federal criminal
charge. Mr. O'Neill filed a charge of discrimination
against Electric Boat with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission alleging sex and criminal status discrimination.
During a telephone conference mediation, Mr. O'Neill
alleges that Electric Boat and he reached an oral agreement
that if a position was available after his incarceration,
Electric Boat would hire him. The signed settlement agreement
says nothing about this oral agreement.
his release, Mr. O'Neill applied for a job at Electric
Boat in 2016, but Electric Boat refused to hire him. As a
result, he filed this lawsuit claiming that Electric Boat
breached its promise to him to hire him when he was released
and discriminated against him. Electric Boat has moved to
dismiss the complaint claiming that it had no contract with
Mr. O'Neill to rehire him, and that he alleges no valid
claim for age discrimination.
O'Neill's claim that he had a contract with Electric
Boat for it to rehire him after his release does not hold up
for at least three reasons:
1. Mr. O'Neill does not allege a valid enforceable
contract because he does not plead that he gave any
consideration (benefit negotiated between the parties) to
Electric Boat in exchange for a promise to rehire him.
See Andoscia v. Town of N. Smithfield, 159 A.3d 79,
82 (R.I. 2017) (finding that no contract existed where there
was no evidence of consideration in exchange for a guaranteed
term of employment).
2. The written settlement agreement (the contract) does not
have the promise Mr. O'Neill alleges. He claims that it
was an oral promise, but the law does not support an oral
promise when there is a complete written agreement. See
Giorgio v. Nukem, Inc., 624 A.2d 896, 899 (Conn. App.
1993) (holding that prior negotiations and agreements may not
add to a fully integrated written agreement); accord Riley
v. St. Germain, 723 A.2d 1120, 1122 (R.I. 1999) (holding
that contemporaneous oral modifications may not add to an
integrated written agreement).
3. The law requires a contract that cannot be completed
within one year to be in writing. Because Electric Boat made
the alleged oral promise in 2013, and Mr. O'Neill sought
enforcement in 2017, any enforceable contract would have to
have been in writing. See R.I. Gen. Laws §
9-1-4 ("No action shall be brought...to charge any
person upon any agreement which is not to be performed within
the space of one year from the making...unless the promise or
agreement upon which the action shall be brought., .shall be
in writing, and signed by the party to be charged...").
these reason Mr. O'Neill's claim of breach of
O'Neill claims that Electric Boat discriminated against
him in violation of the "discrimination in employment
act of 1967." He is referring to the Age Discrimination
in Unemployment Act of 1967. 29 U.S.C. § 621. The
problem with this claim is that Mr. O'Neill neither
alleges his age, nor any plausible facts that would allow one
to conclude that Electric Boat did not hire him because of
it is certainly understandable that Mr. O'Neill is
frustrated that his criminal record is keeping him from
getting a job that he wants, unfortunately for him, neither
contract law nor ...