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Bethel v. Jendoco Construction Corp.

filed as amended february 1 1978.: January 16, 1978.

JAMES BETHEL, APPELLANT,
v.
JENDOCO CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, NAVARRO CORPORATION, NORALCO CORPORATION, DICK CORPORATION, GRAZIANO CONSTRUCTION CO., INC., MARTIN & NETTROUR CONTRACTING COMPANY, CARPENTERS' DISTRICT COUNCIL OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA, UNITED BROTHERHOOD OF CARPENTERS AND JOINERS OF AMERICA, JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY, APPELLEES (CIVIL ACTION NO.76-57)



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Seitz, Chief Judge, Garth, Circuit Judge, and H. Curtis Meanor,*fn* District Judge.

Author: Garth

GARTH, Circuit Judge.

James Bethel, a black carpenter, instituted a civil rights action against various companies engaged in the construction business and against certain unions which represent construction workers.*fn1 Essentially, he complained that the defendants, individually and in concert, engaged in racial discrimination in violation of, inter alia, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983, 1985(3), 1986 & 2000e et seq. (Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act).*fn2 By Order of December 6, 1976, the district court dismissed Bethel's complaint in its entirety against three of the construction companies: Navarro Corporation (Navarro), Noralco Corporation (Noralco), and Martin & Nettrour Contracting Company (Martin & Nettrour).*fn3 We affirm the district court's dismissal of Bethel's § 1983 claim but we reverse the dismissal of Bethel's other statutory claims which are the subject of this appeal.

I.

Bethel's complaint, as defined by two amendments,*fn4 was dismissed by the district court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) ("failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted"). This procedural posture at the time of dismissal is significant, in that we take as true all the averments made by Bethel in his complaint.

Under such circumstances, we must take all of the well pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any circumstances, the plaintiff might be entitled to any relief.*fn4 As the Supreme Court admonished in Scheuer v. Rhodes,*fn5 . . .:

When a federal court reviews the sufficiency of a complaint, before the reception of any evidence either by affidavit or admissions, its task is necessarily a limited one. The issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support his claims.*fn6

Helstoski v. Goldstein, 552 F.2d 564, 565 (3d Cir. 1977); accord, Jennings v. Shuman, 567 F.2d 1213, slip op. at 3 (3d Cir. 1977). With this principle in mind, we turn to Bethel's complaint.*fn4a

The most relevant sections of the complaint which bear on our discussion of the various statutory claims other than § 1983 read as follows:

11. Defendant employers, individually and in concert, acting alone and through their agents, employees and officers, engaged in and continue to engage in racially discriminatory employment practices against plaintiff and other black persons from 1966 to the present, including but not limited to the following practices:

(a) Refusing to employ plaintiff as a journeyman carpenter because of his race;

(b) Employing plaintiff for only short periods of time, because of his race, and then, for the sole purpose of undertaking the most undesirable duties of a journeyman carpenter, while giving the more desirable jobs to white persons;

(c) Laying off plaintiff after completion by plaintiff of the most undesirable jobs of journeyman carpenters and then employing white carpenters to continue in plaintiff's stead, despite their lack of experience, skill, seniority and residence, as compared to plaintiff;

(d) Laying off plaintiff, because of his race, while retaining or employing white carpenters despite their lack of skill, experience or seniority as compared to plaintiff;

(e) Transferring plaintiff, because of his race, from job site to job site during job inspections by governmental agents investigating defendants' compliance with the aforementioned Equal Employment Opportunities Act, in order to give the false impression that defendants employed black carpenters and/or other craftsmen or tradesmen;

(f) Denying plaintiff the opportunity to engage in overtime work because of his race, while granting overtime work to white carpenters, regardless of whether or not they had more or less skill, experience or seniority than plaintiff;

(g) Intentionally depriving plaintiff of the opportunity of having among his co-workers, as journeyman carpenters, other members of his own race;

(h) Refusing to consider plaintiff or other blacks for supervisory positions within the defendant corporations and in ...


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