The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER
Presently before the Court is Defendants', Speciality Products and Insulation Co. ("Speciality") and Irex Corp. ("Irex") (collectively "Defendants"), Motion to Dismiss Counts III, IV, and V of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the Motion is denied in part and granted in part.
Plaintiff, David Malone ("Malone" or "Plaintiff"), alleges the following facts. Plaintiff was hired by Defendants in December of 1987 as a truck driver. Plaintiff received a promotion in 1988 to the position of inside salesperson. In 1994 or 1995, Plaintiff, who suffers from chronic asthma, informed Defendants that he would need an accommodation for his disability since the cigarette smoke of other employees in the workplace was aggravating his disability. These employees smoked in and around areas through which the Plaintiff had to pass to perform the essential functions of his position. Defendants assured Plaintiff that they would rectify the situation. However, Defendants failed to correct the problem, and the employees continued to flagrantly smoke in certain areas of the building.
Due to the smoke in the work environment, Plaintiff's asthma was aggravated to the level of becoming a serious illness for which Plaintiff was repeatedly hospitalized and due to which Plaintiff had to leave work on short term disability on several occasions. Further, due to repeated exposure to the cigarette smoke, Plaintiff's asthma worsened to the point that he recently underwent a lung biopsy and has suffered a progressive decrease in pulmonary function. The decrease in pulmonary function has progressed to the point that Plaintiff's life span is dramatically shortened. Plaintiff may have as little as six (6) months left to live.
I. Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss
In considering a 12(b)(6) motion, a court must primarily consider the allegations contained in the complaint, although matters of public record, orders, items appearing in the record of the case and exhibits attached to the complaint may also be taken into account. Pension Benefit Guaranty. Corp. V. White Consolidated Industries, Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court must accept as true all of the allegations in the pleadings and must give the plaintiff the benefit of every favorable inference that can be drawn from those allegations. Schrob v. Catterson, 948 F.2d 1402, 1405 (3d Cir. 1991); Markowitz v. Northeast Lance Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). A complaint is properly dismissed only if it appears certain that the plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support of its claim which would entitle it to relief. Ransom v. Marrazzo, 848 F.2d 398, 401 (3d Cir. 1988).
Defendants argue that Count III of Plaintiff's Complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff has failed to show he is a member of a protected class as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1981. However, Defendants have confused a § 1981 claim with a § 1981a claim. Plaintiff sufficiently pleads a cause of action for violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. Section 1981a serves to make certain damages available for plaintiffs, like Malone, who are bringing, inter alia, an ADA claim. See 42 U.S.C. § 1981a. However, the Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint to clarify that it is § 1981a under which they are claiming relief as opposed to § 1981.
III. Count IV: Negligent, Reckless, or Intentional Failure to Provide Safe Work Place
Defendants further argue that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim to satisfy the so called "personal animus" exception to the Workmen's Compensation Act. See 77 P.S. § 411(1). In order to sufficiently plead such a claim, the plaintiff must allege that the injury was caused "by an act of a third person intended to injure the employe because of reasons personal to him, and not directed against him as an employe or because of his employment." Id. Defendants argue that Plaintiff does not sufficiently state a claim under this exception because the employees who were smoking had no personal animus toward Plaintiff but rather exposed any other "employee who would have been present to the same level of smoke." (Defs.' Mem. at 10).
However, Plaintiff has sufficiently plead a cause of action under this section by stating that the employees "continued their smoking while aware of its effect on Plaintiff [for reasons that] were personal to those employees, and not in any way related to their employment." (Pl.'s Compl. at P 61); see Price v. Philadelphia Electric Co., 790 F. Supp. 97, 100 (E.D. Pa. 1992); see also Groff v. Southland Corp., 956 F. Supp. 560, 562 (M.D. Pa. 1997)(discussing interpretation of "personal animus" exception as the injury being caused "'for purely personal reasons.'")(quoting Hammerstein v. Lindsay, 440 Pa. Super. 350, 655 A.2d 597, 601 (Pa. Super. 1995)). Whether facts sufficient to support this claim will be discovered remains to be seen and is not the proper inquiry in ...