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BURKS v. CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

September 26, 1995

VALORIE BURKS, et al.
v.
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA and RICHARD SCOTT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BECHTLE

 BECHTLE, J.

 SEPTEMBER 26, 1995

 Presently before the court is City of Philadelphia ("City") and Richard Scott's ("Scott") (collectively, "Defendants") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings for Portions of the Plaintiffs' Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion will be denied.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The parties generally agree on the following facts. The AIDS Activity Coordinating Office ("AACO"), part of the City's Department of Health, receives federal funds to coordinate AIDS prevention activities in Philadelphia. AACO distributes the money to community groups and individuals who work to prevent the spread of AIDS in the city.

 Plaintiffs are eight African-Americans who presently work, formerly worked, or applied for work at AACO during 1993 and 1994. The Plaintiffs who are AACO employees are Valorie Burks, a Health Program Analyst; Marcella B. Mills, a Health Services Social Worker; and David Valentine, an AIDS Educator in AACO's Prison AIDS Project. The Plaintiffs who are former employees are Linda Robb, the former Director of the AIDS Agency Services Unit; James Roberts, a former Education Unit manager; and Terence Young, who worked as a Health Program Analyst. Plaintiffs Veronica Hodges and Noelle E. Sewell work for the City in health-related jobs and unsuccessfully applied for jobs at AACO. *fn1"

 Defendant Scott is a white man who became AACO's AIDS Program Director sometime in 1993. *fn2" In a nutshell, Plaintiffs' complaint alleges that Scott intentionally and maliciously discriminated against them because they are African-American. *fn3"

 Plaintiffs filed a complaint March 21, 1995, asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq. They request a declaratory judgment, compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction mandating the reinstatement of the jobs Plaintiffs held or would have held and the restoration of full income and benefits they would have received. Defendants filed an answer to Plaintiff's complaint on April 24, 1995 and, a week later, a motion for judgment on the pleadings to dismiss the Title VI claim. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs (1) are precluded from recovery under Title VI because a primary object of the federal financial assistance is to provide employment; and (2) lack standing to bring a Title VI claim because they are not the intended beneficiaries of the federal funds.

 II. STANDARD FOR SETTING FORTH A CLAIM FOR RELIEF

 A complaint setting forth a claim for relief must contain, inter alia, "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), and need not set out in detail the facts upon which the plaintiff bases its claim. The requirement of a "short and plain statement" is designed to

 Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47-48, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); quoted in Rannels v. S.E. Nichols, Inc., 591 F.2d 242, 245 (3d Cir. 1979)) (footnote omitted).

 Plaintiffs' complaint is a fact-laden, 36-page, 128-paragraph narrative that describes in unnecessary, burdensome, and often improper argumentative detail, every instance of alleged racial discrimination perpetrated by Defendants over the period of 1993 and 1994. Rather than presenting a "short and plain statement" that summarizes the general nature of the claim in obedience to the rules' goal of notice pleading, the complaint reads more like a novel than the legal pleading it purports to be. For example, the complaint ...


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