The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONABOY
We address here Defendant's motion for partial summary judgment as to 8 of the 9 counts enumerated in Plaintiff's amended complaint. Defendant seeks to have the scope of Counts I, II, and III restricted to events which occurred subsequent to January 20, 1982. Defendant also seeks summary judgment as to Counts IV through VIII.
This case falls most generally under the ambit of wrongful termination due to racial discrimination. However, Plaintiff also seeks to append various state causes of action and the result has been the 9 count amended complaint alluded to above. We shall consider the viability of these counts sequentially.
Counts I, II, and III are brought on a common basis -- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and amendments thereto. More specifically, Count I alleges: "Decisions that Defendant had made with respect to Plaintiff's terms and conditions of employment were influenced, in part, by impermissible racial considerations. . . ." Count II alleges: "Decisions that Defendant has made with respect to the repeated discipline and occasional discharge of Plaintiff were influenced, in part, by impermissible racial considerations. . . ." Count III alleges that: "Decisions that Defendant had made with respect to Plaintiff's opposition to Defendant's unlawful employment practices and/or Plaintiff's use of the grievance mechanism and/or the filing of charges with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission is evidence of retaliatory action that is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended."
Before Plaintiff was represented by counsel this Court had issued a ruling as to what we considered to be the rightful parameters, chronologically speaking, of Plaintiff's claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. We refer to our Memorandum and Order of October 18, 1984 wherein we stated that anything Defendant may have done to Plaintiff prior to January 20, 1982 was beyond the review of this Court due to a provision of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e) which requires that:
A charge under this section shall be filed within one hundred and eighty days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred . . ., except that in a case of an unlawful employment practice with respect to which the person aggrieved has initially instituted proceedings with a State or local agency . . ., such charge shall be filed by or on behalf of the person aggrieved within three hundred days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred . . . See Docket Item 12 at page 2.
In light of this very explicit statutory language, Defendant has taken the position that our Order of October 18, 1984 is dispositive of the date from which this Court should begin analyzing Plaintiff's various Title VII claims. Defendant relies upon the "law of the case" doctrine under which ". . . a decision on an issue of law made at one stage of a case becomes a binding precedent to be followed in successive stages of the same litigation." See 1B Moore's Federal Practice, § 0.404 at page 117 (1984). This is not to say, of course, that any pre-judgment ruling of this Court may not be reconsidered by us while the case remains under our jurisdiction. However, in the Third Circuit criteria have been established for use in determining when it is appropriate for a trial court to vacate one of its rulings on a matter of law. The case establishing these criteria is Hayman Cash Register Co. v. Sarokin, 669 F.2d 162 (3d Cir.1982). Hayman, supra at 169-70, provides that there are exceptional situations where the "law of the case" doctrine should not be followed. These include situations where new evidence is available to a second judge hearing an issue or where a supervening rule of law is handed down by a superior court during the course of litigation. The first exception is inapplicable to this case and we are unaware of any supervening rule of law which would require this Court to consider relations between these parties prior to January 20, 1982.
Defendant counters this argument by stating that it agrees with the premise that ". . . the parameters of the civil action in the district court are defined by the scope of the EEOC investigation which can reasonably be expected to grow out of the charge of discrimination." Citing Ostapowicz v. Johnson Bronze Co., 541 F.2d 394, 398 (3d Cir.1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1041, 97 S. Ct. 741, 50 L. Ed. 2d 753 (1977). Defendant goes on to state:
However, as the Third Circuit explained in Ostapowicz, this test was intended to be a rule of limitation, not to open the door to any claim whatsoever involving alleged discriminatory behavior by a particular employer.
In order to comply with the spirit of the Act, there must be some limitation on suits in the district court so that the Commission will have the first opportunity to examine the allegations ...