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BISHOP v. NATIONAL R.R. PASSENGER CORP.
October 7, 1999
LORRAINE E. BISHOP, DOREEN CAIN, AND JUDY MORRIS, PLAINTIFFS,
NATIONAL RAILROAD PASSENGER CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Van Antwerpen, District Judge.
Plaintiffs Lorraine E. Bishop, Doreen Cain, Judy Morris, and
Patricia Thompson ("Plaintiffs") filed this action on July 23,
1998 against Defendant National Railroad Passenger Corporation
("Defendant") pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964.*fn1 Plaintiffs seek damages for claims of sex
discrimination and sexual harassment.
We have before us Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). An issue is
"genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which
a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d
202 (1986) ("Anderson I"). A factual dispute is "material" only if
it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law. Id. at
248, 106 S.Ct. 2505. All inferences must be drawn and all doubts
resolved in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold,
Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962); Gans v.
Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 341 (3d Cir. 1985).
On motion for summary judgment, the moving party bears the
initial burden of identifying those portions of the record that
it believes demonstrate the absence of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986). To defeat summary judgment, the non-moving party
cannot rest on mere denials or allegations, but must respond
with facts of record that contradict the facts identified by the
movant. Id. at 321 n. 3, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)); see also First Nat. Bank of Pennsylvania v. Lincoln Nat.
Life Ins. Co., 824 F.2d 277, 282 (3d Cir. 1987). The non-moving
party must demonstrate the existence of evidence that would
support a jury finding in its favor. See Anderson I, 477 U.S. at
249, 106 S.Ct. 2505.
The following facts have been taken from the submissions by the
parties. Because this is a consideration on a motion for summary
judgment, we view the facts in the light most favorable to
Each of the three Plaintiffs alleges that she was sexually
harassed by Larry Platt. At all relevant times, Mr. Platt worked
for Defendant, commonly known as Amtrak, as a first-level foreman.
At the times relevant to the instant action, he worked in two of
Amtrak's Delaware facilities, first in the "Wilmington" facility
and then in the "Bear" location. Although Mr. Platt at various
times worked in the same facility as one or more of the Plaintiffs,
he was not the supervisor or foreman of any Plaintiff during any
time period pertinent to this case. None of the allegations
include physical touching or requests for sexual favors.
Lorraine E. Bishop was hired by Amtrak in 1977. Bishop Dep. at
31. In 1986, she began working as a clerk in the Locomotive Shop
("Loco Shop") office, where she worked until 1991. Id. at 39-40,
57-59, 64, 74. Her foreman from 1989 to 1991 was Rick Parke. Id.
Mr. Platt was a foreman in the Loco Shop at the time Ms. Bishop
worked there. Id. at 63, 65. Although he neither was Ms. Bishop's
supervisor nor worked with her, he frequently was in the Shop
office for work-related reasons and to visit Mr. Parke, with whom
he was friendly. Id. at 67-68. According to Ms. Bishop, Mr. Platt
came into the Loco Shop almost daily, more than any other foreman.
Id. at 66.
Ms. Bishop claims that while she worked in the Loco Shop,
approximately 1989 through 1991, she was harassed by Mr. Platt.
Id. at 43-44, 68-69. Ms. Bishop's primary complaint is that Mr.
Platt would stand and stare at her, and that he made some
comments and expressions that were sexual in nature. Id. at
68-69, 77, 72, 139. For instance, he once said that "he loved
big women and he loved women with big breasts." Id. at 68-69. He
would "leer" and "get into making remarks about body parts," once
telling her that if she "played her cards right . . . he could
make life easier." Id. at 14-16, 72. He asked her some personal
questions, including whether he could take her out on a date. Id.
at 68. Also, Mr. Platt referred to himself as Ms. Bishop's "stud
muffin," which Ms. Bishop claims became a running joke between
Mr. Platt and Mr. Parke. Id. at 73-74.
Ms. Bishop told Mr. Parke about Mr. Platt's behavior. Id. at
77. Mr. Parke "laugh[ed] it off," so she complained to her
manager, Ray Knight. Id. at 77, 80. Mr. Knight told Mr. Platt not
to enter the shop when Ms. Bishop was alone, and asked her to
leave if Mr. Platt went into the shop. Id. At 80-81. Thereafter,
Mr. Platt cut down on his visits to Ms. Bishop's office. Id. at
84, 87. However, a window was installed in the wall of Ms.
Bishop's office, and Mr. Platt would "stand at the window
smiling . . . and just leering . . ." Id. at 85. Ms. Bishop did
not complain further, as she "figure[d] . . . nobody was doing
anything anyway." Id. at 85, 87-88. Mr. Platt was also warned by
Ms. Bishop's brother, who worked at Amtrak, to leave her alone.
Id. at 117.
Mr. Platt was "bumped out" of Ms. Bishop's area in
approximately 1991, ending his contact with her. Id. at 16. In
1993, Ms. Bishop went out on disability leave for reasons
unrelated to the charges in this case, and she returned to Amtrak
in January 1995. Id. at 134.
Ms. Bishop was aware of Amtrak's non-discrimination policies
from her experience as a clerk in the Labor Relations Department
in the 1980s. Id. at 44, 49-50. She knew, for instance, that an
employee has the right to complain to the union and to management,
and to go to higher levels if the response is not satisfactory.
Id. at 51-52. She never saw any statements or policies concerning
sexual harassment during 1989 — 1991, but she did receive
an employee handbook describing Amtrak's sexual harassment
policies. Id. at 54, 130.
Doreen Cain was hired by Amtrak in March 1990 as a probationary
coach cleaner in the Bear Maintenance Facility, where she worked
for three months. Cain Dep. at 37, 42. She alleges that during
those three months, Mr. Platt made various offensive statements
to her at least ten to fifteen times. Id. at 49-51. Id. at 49,
52. For instance, he would ask her whether she was dating anyone,
make comments about her dating situation, and ask other personal
questions. Id. at 51. Mr. Platt was not her foreman and never had
any supervisory or disciplinary power over Ms. Cain. Id. at 56, 57.
About a month after she was hired, Ms. Cain told her foreman,
Bruce Carlton, that Platt was "bothering [her] and it made [her]
feel really uncomfortable." Id. at 5355. She asked Mr. Canton to
sit with her while she worked, because Mr. Platt "would not leave
[her] alone." Mr. Carlton began keeping an eye on her, and Ms.
Cain was satisfied with this response. Id. at 53-55, 57.
Ms. Cain was transferred to an Indiana facility in June 1990,
for reasons unrelated to the allegations in this case. Id. at
42-43. She had no interactions with Mr. Platt in Indiana. Id. at
In 1993, Ms Cain returned to work in Delaware, id. at 58, where
she claims Mr. Platt subjected her on a few occasions to further
offensive behaviors. Id. Ms. Cain and Mr. Platt had the "same type
of conversations," id., and a few times Mr. Platt, who left his
shift as Ms. Cain arrived for hers, "did the same thing, staring
whispering comments, the strange looks." Id. at 58. Ms. Cain does
not know what Mr. Platt was whispering. Id. at 59.
Sometime in early 1996, Ms. Cain complained to her supervisor,
Vince Nesci. Id. at 60-62, 70. Also, in early 1996 or thereabouts,
Ms. Cain spoke generally with Roosevelt Gill, general foreman at
Amtrak, about Mr. Platt's behavior.
Ms. Cain was advised, during an early 1996 meeting about sexual
harassment, of Amtrak's policy against sexual harassment, as well
as the provision for reporting harassing behavior. Id. at 117.
She also had received a copy of the employee handbook describing
Amtrak's sexual harassment policies.
Ms. Cain attended three sessions with a counselor in September
1998 because of the stress of bringing a lawsuit and personal
matters unrelated to the instant case. Cain at 11-12. She has
never sought counseling due to Mr. Platt's alleged behavior
toward her, id. at 120, although she asserts that it caused her
"a lot of fear" for her job, and that she "lost a lot of sleep
for being afraid." Id. at 120.
Mr. Platt, who at that time was not yet a foreman, would enter
her shop and "stand there and stare . . . every day, a couple of
times a day." Id. at 13. He asked her personal questions, such as
where she lived. Id. Ms. Morris did not tell anybody, because she
felt afraid and intimidated by the disproportionate number of men
to women in the facility. Id. at 15. Ms. Morris's partner in the
Loco Shop noticed that Mr. Platt was standing around the area, and
told Mr. Platt to leave Ms. Morris alone. Id. at 18.
Ms. Morris transferred to the Electric Shop in 1991. Id. at 19.
She contends that Mr. Platt would appear once a week or more and
glare at her. Id. Also, he stood by the time clock, watching her
and other people "come in and he would glare at them with this
goofy grin on his face." Id. at 19, 25. Ms. Morris complained to
her foreman, Tommy Reese, but the frequency of the staring did
not decrease. Id. at 19-20. However, Ms. Morris asked Mr. Reese
not to involve anybody else. Id. at 51.
It appears that Ms. Morris transferred to the Bear facility in
April 1995, where she still works. Id. at 19; Def.'s Brief, Ex.
7. Mr. Platt transferred to Bear in September of the next year.
Morris Dep. at 19. Ms. Morris was able to avoid Mr. Platt at Bear
because his shifts did not always overlap with hers. Id. at 31,
66. According to Ms. Morris, the "staring instances . . . were
much fewer when [Mr. Platt] was at Bear. . . ." Id. at 67.
However, he continued to stare at her. Id. at 68-69. Also, he
made comments to other ...