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ROCKWELL v. ALLEGHENY HEALTH

September 10, 1998

PAUL ROCKWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLEGHENY HEALTH, EDUCATION & RESEARCH FOUNDATION and GLORIA F. DONNELLY, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 JOYNER, J.

 SEPTEMBER 10, 1998

 Plaintiff, Paul Rockwell ("Plaintiff" or "Rockwell"), has brought this action against Defendants, Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation ("the Foundation"), under Count I for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), and Gloria F. Donnelly ("Defendant" or "Donnelly") under Count II for defamation pursuant to 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8343. Before this Court is Defendant Donnelly's Motion to Dismiss Count II pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, the motion is denied.

 Background

 Plaintiff alleges the following facts. Plaintiff was employed by the Foundation on and off from March 1993 through March 7, 1997. His last assignment was as an administrative assistant in the School of Nursing. Plaintiff was the only male in a support staff position, and throughout his employment was treated differently than similarly situated female employees by, but not limited to, the support staff Manager and the Defendant, Dean of the school, Dr. Gloria F. Donnelly.

 Plaintiff continually rejected sexual advances by the support staff Manager. As a result, the support staff Manager attempted to damage his reputation among co-employees and supervisors. In spite of these efforts, his two direct supervisors gave him exceptional ratings for his job performance. They defused attempts by the support staff Manager to have the Plaintiff dismissed, making it clear that they viewed him as a valuable employee and would not support any allegations against him. It was at this time that the Defendant, Dr. Donnelly, was appointed as the new Dean.

 After an initial period where the Defendant recognized Plaintiff's strong work performance, Plaintiff experienced several career setbacks, coinciding with a non-stop campaign by the support staff Manager to convince the Defendant to terminate him. For example, because of treatment for Hodgkin's Disease, Plaintiff occasionally missed work. Both the support staff Manager and the Defendant questioned these absences. His two direct Supervisors maintained that Plaintiff's record of attendance was justified. It followed that the Supervisors became increasingly subject to questioning, verbal attacks and retaliation for their support of Plaintiff. During this period, Plaintiff filed several internal complaints claiming he was the subject of discriminatory misconduct. Plaintiff also filed a complaint with Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR). The Defendant ignored the concerns Plaintiff raised in his complaints.

 During a meeting with Plaintiff's two direct Supervisors to discuss Plaintiff's complaint filed with the PCHR, the Defendant stated that Plaintiff was "sick" and "vindictive," implied that he was having an inappropriate affair with one of the Supervisors, and accused him of abusing his sick time and time off. The two direct Supervisors disputed the Defendant's assertions and one of them became so traumatized by the continual attacks that she took a leave of absence.

 As a result of continued discrimination and retaliation against the Plaintiff with the specific intent of forcing his resignation, Plaintiff resigned from his employment with the Foundation.

 Discussion

 A. Standards for Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) Motions

 In considering a Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true the facts alleged in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those facts after construing them in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Pearson v. Miller, 988 F. Supp. 848, 852 (M.D. Pa. 1997)(citing Jordan v. Fox, Rothschild, O'Brien, and Frankel, Inc., 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir. 1994)). Dismissal is limited to those instances where it is certain that no relief ...


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