The opinion of the court was delivered by: PADOVA
Plaintiffs, a group of City employees and their respective unions, seek injunctive and other relief against Defendant, City of Philadelphia (hereinafter the "City") pursuant to 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (West 1994), claiming that the City deprived them of their constitutionally protected rights without due process of law. The City filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, I will grant the City's motion.
This case arises out of the City's alleged failure to properly implement certain procedures set forth in the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter, 351 Pa. Code §§ 1.1-100 et seq. (Fry 1995) (hereinafter the "Charter"), and the City's Civil Service Regulations, City of Philadelphia Personnel Dep't, Civil Service Regulations (1995) (hereinafter the "Regulations"). The provisions at issue articulate the procedures by which civil service employees may be promoted and by which temporary vacancies may be filled. Specifically, the Charter mandates: (1) the administration of competitive examinations to test the fitness of applicants for various positions, 351 Pa. Code § 7.7-401(c); (2) the filling of vacancies by promotion whenever possible and on a competitive basis where practicable, 351 Pa. Code § 7.7-401(e), and; (3) the establishment of lists of qualified candidates to be used to fill vacancies, 351 Pa. Code § 7.7-401(f). Additionally, the Charter authorizes the Personnel Director to make temporary appointments lasting no more than six months in any twelve month period with or without reference to competitive examinations. 351 Pa. Code § 7.7-401(k). Civil Service Regulation 12.02 also authorizes the Director to fill such temporary positions with any qualified person if there is no person on an appropriate eligible list willing to accept the temporary appointment.
A claim may be dismissed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) only if the plaintiffs can prove no set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle them to relief. ALA, Inc. v. CCAIR, Inc., 29 F.3d 855, 859 (3d Cir. 1994). The reviewing court must consider only those facts alleged in the Complaint and accept all of the allegations as true. Id. Applying this standard, I find that Plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.
To succeed in a § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of state law and that the conduct resulted in the deprivation of rights, privileges or immunities guaranteed by the United States Constitution. 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983; Piecknick v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250 (3d Cir. 1994); Carter v. City of Philadelphia, 989 F.2d 117 (3d Cir. 1993). Where a § 1983 plaintiff claims a due process violation, s/he must demonstrate that the violation infringed upon a constitutionally protected interest in life, liberty or property. U.S. Const. amend. XIV § 1; Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth, 408 U.S. 564, 92 S. Ct. 2701, 33 L. Ed. 2d 548 (1972); Piecknick, 36 F.3d at 1256.
In this case, the particular wrong which Plaintiffs seek to redress is the City's alleged systematic refusal to implement the proper procedure for selecting individuals for promotion. Plaintiffs neither claim an infringement of their life or liberty interests nor set forth allegations that would support such a claim. Instead, Plaintiffs assert a constitutionally protected property interest in the City's promotion procedures -- an interest derived from their claimed entitlement to the process of merit selection as articulated by the Charter and Regulations.
Property interests do not arise from the Constitution itself. They are defined by existing rules or understandings that stem from an independent source, such as state law. Roth, 408 U.S. at 577, 92 S. Ct. at 2709. However, it is federal constitutional law that determines whether the interests articulated by state law rise to the level of a constitutionally protected property interest. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division v. Craft, 436 U.S. 1, 9, 98 S. Ct. 1554, 1560, 56 L. Ed. 2d 30 (1978) (citing Roth, 408 U.S. at 577, 92 S. Ct. at 2709).
"The property interests protected by procedural due process extend well beyond actual ownership of real estate, chattels, or money," Roth, 408 U.S. at 571-72, 92 S. Ct. at 2706, and the types of interests protected as "property" are varied and often intangible, relating to the whole domain of social and economic fact.
Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, 430, 102 S. Ct. 1148, 1155, 71 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1982). However, not every state or municipal law, regulation, or ordinance creates a constitutionally protected entitlement. See Clark v. Township of Falls, 890 F.2d 611, 620 n.4 (3d Cir. 1989) ("A property interest is no more created by the mere fact that a state has established a procedural structure than is a liberty ...