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DAVIS v. LEVY

October 13, 1998

EMILY F. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
LEVY, ANGSTREICH, FINNEY, BALDANTE, RUBENSTEIN & COREN, P.C. JOHN BALDANTE, ESQ. and STEVEN E. ANGSTREICH, ESQ. Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

 October 13, 1998

 JOYNER, J.

 Plaintiff, Emily F. Davis, brought this action against Defendants, John Baldante and Steven E. Angstreich, and the law firm of Levy, Angstreich, Finney, Baldante, Rubenstein & Coren, P.C. Counts I, II and IV allege that Defendant law firm terminated Plaintiff's employment in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et. seq., the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA), 43 P.S. § 951, et. seq., and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. §§ 1132(e), 1140, respectively. Count III alleges that Defendants Angstreich and Baldante aided and abetted the discriminatory practices of the employer law firm in violation of the PHRA. Defendants Baldante and Angstreich now move to dismiss Count III pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), and the defendant law firm moves for a more definite statement of Count IV pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(e). For the following reasons, both motions are denied.

 Background

 According to the complaint, Plaintiff was employed as an associate attorney by Levy, Angstreich, Finney, Baldante, Rubenstein & Coren, P.C. ("the law firm"), from November 27, 1995 to April 26, 1996. Prior to commencing her employment with the law firm, Ms. Davis was diagnosed as having manic depression. She did not, however, inform defendants of this diagnosis when she was hired.

 On April 15, 1996, the defendant law firm placed Plaintiff on sixty days' probation for poor work performance, but assured her that no adverse action would be taken against her prior to expiration of the probationary period. One week into the probationary period, Plaintiff spoke privately with Defendant Angstreich, a partner in the defendant law firm, to discuss the firm's short and long term disability policies. Plaintiff did not disclose her medical condition at that time. On April 24, 1996, Plaintiff was questioned extensively by Defendant Baldante, also a partner in the Defendant law firm, about her basis for requesting information on the disability policy. It was at this time that Plaintiff advised Baldante of her manic depression, and also suggested that it may have been contributing to her poor work performance. Plaintiff also made certain work accommodation requests to Baldante that would enable her to cope with her condition.

 The following day, Baldante informed Plaintiff that her employment was terminated effective immediately due to poor work performance and notwithstanding the fact that her sixty day probationary period had yet to expire. Plaintiff alleges that after Defendants learned of her disability, they engaged in a systematic and continuous pattern of discrimination, with the intent of depriving her of her employment.

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

 In reviewing a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true the facts alleged in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn 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 could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved. Alexander v. Whitman, 114 F.3d 1392, 1398 (3d Cir. 1997).

 Discussion

 A. Motion to Dismiss Count III of Plaintiff's Complaint

 By this motion, Defendants ask the Court to dismiss Count III for failure to state a PHRA claim upon which relief can be granted against Defendants Baldante and Angstreich given that their acts represent the acts of the firm, and therefore they cannot be viewed as aiding and abetting a PHRA violation.

 Like Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111, et. seq., § 955(a) of the PHRA, 43 P.S., renders it unlawful for an employer to discharge an employee because of a non-job related handicap, among other things. Kohn v. Lemmon Co., 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1737, 1998 WL 67540, *8 (E.D.Pa. 1998), (citing Dici v. Pennsylvania, 91 F.3d 542, 552 ...


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