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LAZARZ v. BRUSH WELLMAN

June 30, 1994

TERESA A. LAZARZ, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUSH WELLMAN, INC., and DAVID NICHOLS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDUARDO C. ROBRENO

 EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.

 The case involves multiple counts, pleading sexual harassment and discrimination as well as a number of other causes of action. Before the Court is the motion of defendants Brush Wellman, Inc., and David Nichols to dismiss the instant action for failure to state a claim, or, in the alternative, to grant summary judgment. After careful review of the motion and its accompanying documents, *fn1" the response thereto by plaintiff, and the reply briefs filed by both sides, the Court concludes that summary judgment is appropriate on four of the eleven counts in plaintiff's complaint. The Court will also dismiss plaintiff's claims for compensatory damages under Title VII, and will deny without prejudice Brush Wellman's motion for summary judgment on the issue of sexual harassment. The remainder of the defendants' motion will be denied.

 I. BACKGROUND *fn2"

 On November 2, 1987, defendant Brush Wellman, Inc., hired plaintiff Teresa A. Lazarz as a Personnel Coordinator at Brush Wellman's plant in Shoemakersville, Pennsylvania, at a weekly salary of $ 338.00. The position generally entailed providing clerical support to Doug Miller, the Human Resources Manager at the facility and plaintiff's immediate supervisor. Plaintiff has testified that, shortly after beginning her employment, she was subjected to an off-color sexual remark. While plaintiff was walking past David Sceurman, a co-worker, Sceurman made a comment along the lines of "fu ** ing up against the wall" with the plaintiff. Lazarz Dep. at 68. Plaintiff reported this comment to Miller, but informed him that she wanted to handle the matter. Subsequently, after consulting with her husband, she told Sceurman of her displeasure with his remark and said that any further sexual comments would lead her to contact an attorney and Andy Sandor, Sceurman's supervisor at the time. Sceurman apologized and the matter was dropped.

 Plaintiff further testified that a year later, she was harassed by John Pallam, a corporate counsel for Brush Wellman. In the fall of 1988, plaintiff drove Pallam to the airport, and while she was driving, he put his hand on her leg. He then kissed plaintiff goodbye when he got out of the car. Plaintiff told no one other than her husband about the incident. Later that same year, Pallam brought plaintiff to his hotel room with the avowed intention of discussing union organizing activity at Brush Wellman's plant, but when she arrived, Pallam grabbed her and told her he wanted to sleep with her. Plaintiff was able to flee the hotel room after sending Pallam out for a condom. Plaintiff told no one of the event. Several months later, in early 1989, Pallam lured plaintiff to another hotel room, met her at the door to his room in his boxer shorts, threw her on to his bed, and started to kiss her. Plaintiff was able to make it to the door of the room, whereupon Pallam began to apologize to plaintiff, and allowed her to leave the room. Plaintiff reported this incident to Miller a few days later, indicating that she wanted to keep the matter between Miller and herself, requesting only that Miller keep Pallam away from her. She told no one else of the incident at the time.

 In late November of 1989, plaintiff informed Phillip Bly, Brush Wellman's Risk and Benefits Manager, that Pallam had made certain advances to her, and that Pallam had tried to contact her by phone through the fall of that year. Bly prevailed upon the plaintiff to allow him to discuss the matter with his superiors. She acquiesced, and Bly discussed the Pallam incidents with Mike Hasychak, Brush Wellman's Assistant Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, and Clarke Waite, Brush Wellman's Chief Financial Officer. The three concluded that Hasychak and Waite would meet with Pallam and instruct him to cease contacting plaintiff, which they did. Hasychak then phoned plaintiff to inform her that Pallam would not contact her again, and that she should contact Hasychak if she had any further problems. Plaintiff indicated that she was satisfied with the resolution of the matter. Hasychak confirmed the telephone conversation via letter dated December 12, 1989.

 In January of 1991, Sceurman, who had now become the manager of the Shoemakersville plant, asked plaintiff to have sex with him. She refused and he dropped the matter. She told no one at Brush Wellman about the incident. In February of that year, Sceurman allegedly told John Harlan, a corporate vice-president, that plaintiff's husband was out of town. Harlan then told plaintiff he knew her husband was out of town, and asked her to have sex with him. Harlan had previously had consensual sex with the plaintiff on two nights in January or February of 1991. Plaintiff told no one of her sexual encounters with Harlan.

 Nichols was absent from the Shoemakersville plant for three consecutive weeks in February and March of 1991. Nichols was told by three employees in the Human Resources Department that plaintiff's performance and attendance during his absence had been poor. Nichols returned on March 12, and held a meeting with plaintiff on March 13 to discuss her attendance and performance. Nichols gave plaintiff a memo that listed various requirements and concerns, one of which was "situations of sexual harassment," Lazarz Dep. ex. 7, and mentioned to her the possibility of leaving Brush Wellman and entering a different line of work such as "working on a cruise ship or at a travel agency," id. at 173-74. He instructed her to take a two day leave of absence to prepare a written action plan discussing how she planned to address the issues raised at the meeting.

 Plaintiff returned to work the following week without a written plan. Instead, she handed to Sceurman a letter from her lawyer, indicating that plaintiff would not answer the memo given to her by Nichols, and that the company was punishing the victim of sexual harassment rather than the perpetrator. Sceurman told plaintiff to leave the plant and to not return. On March 27, a meeting was held in office of plaintiff's attorney to discuss how plaintiff could resume her employment at Brush Wellman. This was followed up by a meeting at the company between plaintiff, Nichols, and Skoch. The second meeting ended inconclusively, with plaintiff and the Brush Wellman unable to reach agreement on how to resume plaintiff's career with the company. Plaintiff never returned to her position and Brush Wellman considered her to have voluntarily resigned as of April 15, 1991.

 Subsequently, plaintiff's position was filled by William Key, who was compensated at a rate of $ 518 per week. At the time of plaintiff's departure from Brush Wellman, she was making $ 449 per week.

 In August of 1991, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC"). On May 29, 1992, the EEOC issued its determination letter, finding "no reasonable cause to believe the charge is true." Lazarz Dep. ...


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