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ISAJEWICZ v. BUCKS CTY. DEPT. OF COMMUNS.

February 25, 1994

JO ANNE ISAJEWICZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BUCKS COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNICATIONS, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT F. KELLY

 R.F. KELLY, J.

 Plaintiff, Jo Anne Isajewicz, brought this action against Defendants, the Bucks County Department of Communications and its Director, Martin Ficke ("Bucks County Defendants"); Peter Kostmayer, former member of the United States House of Representatives for the Eighth Congressional District of Pennsylvania *fn1" ; and Carmen Raddi, former Township Manager for Bensalem Township. In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants terminated or conspired to terminate her employment at the Bucks County Department of Communications in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and § 1985(3) because she is a member of the Republican Party. *fn2"

 Before the Court are Defendant Kostmayer's Motion for Summary Judgment, Bucks County Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings or for Summary Judgment, and Defendant Raddi's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, all motions are granted.

 I. FACTS

 While working on December 9, 1990, Plaintiff received a call from a Bucks County resident, Scott Porter, who reported that he found a lost dog and requested the police to pick it up from his house. A few moments later, Mr. Porter called back regarding the lost dog. Finding that the dispatcher was unhelpful to Mr. Porter, Mrs. Porter and her six year old daughter sent letters to Congressman Kostmayer, expressing dissatisfaction with the handling of the phone call and stating that the dispatcher who handled the call was "very rude." Letter of Ms. Porter to Kostmayer (emphasis in original).

 On December 14, 1990 a letter was sent from Kostmayer's office to Carmen Raddi, who was believed to be the Bensalem Township Manager. Kostmayer enclosed copies of the Porters' letters and asked Raddi to "look into the matter." By letter dated January 11, 1991, Francis Friel, Director of the Bensalem Police Department, informed Kostmayer's office that the dispatcher was under the control of Bucks County and not Bensalem Township. Therefore, Director Friel forwarded the information to the proper Bucks County agency.

 Plaintiff claims that shortly thereafter, she was charged with violating a department regulation that requires all calls to be processed in a polite manner. This was Plaintiff's third charge of violating department policy since August, 1990. Because this was Plaintiff's third violation within one year, she was terminated.

 Plaintiff filed a grievance concerning her termination pursuant to her union's agreement with Bucks County. Plaintiff's grievance was submitted to binding arbitration and heard on July 23, 1991. By opinion dated July 30, 1991, the decision to dismiss Plaintiff was upheld. Plaintiff then filed the instant suit.

 II. STANDARD

 Pursuant to Rule 56(c), summary judgment is proper "if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The moving party has the initial burden of informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). The non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings, but rather that party must go beyond the pleadings and present "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P 56(e); Id. If the court, in viewing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, then summary judgment is proper. Celotex, 106 S. Ct. at 2552 (1986); Wisniewski v. Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1987).

 III. CONGRESSMAN KOSTMAYER'S MOTION

 The basis for Plaintiff's claim against Kostmayer is that, he, "acting as a private citizen but using his Congressional letterhead to add 'clout'" wrote a letter to Defendant Raddi asking him to "look into the matter." Complaint at P 20. The Complaint goes on to state:

 
21. Plaintiff believes, and therefore alleges, that this letter was produced for public consumption and was deliberately left brief and vague to conceal the formation of the illegal conspiracy which followed. Plaintiff believes, and therefore alleges, that Congressman Kostemayer [sic], personally or through agency, initiated one or more communications with Carmen Raddi or his agents to select a Republican employee of the county to serve as a 'sacrificial lamb' to appease a Democratic constituent and for other political gain. Plaintiff believes, and therefore alleges, that all Democratic employees ...

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