Ms. Filipos alleges that, during their discussion, Mr. Sidovar continued
to "stare into the eyes of Xenia Filipos." Complaint at 3. Ms. Filipos
alleges that Mr. Sidovar then leaned across his desk, "bringing his body
very close to the body of Xenia Filipos." Id.
Mr. Sidovar, in turn, states that during the interview Ms. Filipos
"became belligerent and in fact threatened to sue me." Affidavit of
Ronald Sidovar at ¶ 5. He states that he "leaned half way over the [3
to 4 foot wide] desk and told her I was going to call the police." He
states in his affidavit that "[a]t no time did I get any closer than two
feet from her and at no time did I ever touch her." Id. at ¶ 6.
Plaintiff filed this action in the Court of Common Pleas for
Northampton County. Defendant removed the case to this Court in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1442 (a)(1).
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate where the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, reveal no genuine issue of material fact, and the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Our
responsibility is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, but to
determine whether any factual issues exist to be tried. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-49, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202
(1986). The presence of "a mere scintilla of evidence" in the nonmovant's
favor will not avoid summary judgment. Williams v. Borough of West
Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
249, 106 S.Ct. 2505). Rather, we will grant summary judgment unless "the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505.
In making this determination, all of the facts must be viewed in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable
inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party. Id. at 256,
106 S.Ct. 2505. Once the moving party has put the initial burden of
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the
non-moving party must establish the existence of each element of its
case. J.F. Feeser, Inc. v. Serv-A-Portion. Inc., 909 F.2d 1524, 1531 (3d
Cir. 1990) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 323, 106 S.Ct.
2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)).
II. Plaintiff's Failure to Respond to Defendant's Motion
Defendant's Motion was filed on September 30, 1999. Local Rule of Civil
Procedure 7.1(c) requires Plaintiff to respond to Defendant's motion
within 14 days. It has now been more than 45 days since Defendant's
motion was filed. Accordingly, the Court will rule on Defendant's Motion
in accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedures 56(e), which states
that "[i]f the adverse party does not so respond, summary judgment, if
appropriate, shall be entered against the adverse party." Because
plaintiff has not responded to Defendan's Motion, her statement of facts,
and proof of her case, will need to be taken from her Complaint.
III. The Parties Agree on the Material Facts
Plaintiff and Defendant agree that Plaintiff went to the SSA office on
February 3, 1999, for the purpose of objecting to a $45.50 deduction from
her February 2, 1999 social security check. Complaint at 3, Answer at
¶ 2. The parties further agree that Plaintiff wound up at Defendant's
desk, and that after some discussion Defendant stood and leaned across
his desk, but did not at any point touch Plaintiff. Complaint at 3-4,
Answer at ¶ 3.
Admittedly it is not easy to determine whether there is any genuine
issue of material fact in a case in which it is unclear exactly what
cause of action Plaintiff is proceeding under. Having made its best
effort, the Court determines that the
above-described facts seem to be the core allegations made by Plaintiff.
These facts are all admitted by Defendant. Thus, the Court finds that
there is no genuine issue of material fact, and in accordance with
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) now turns to the question of whether summary judgment
is appropriate as a matter of law.
IV Defendant is Entitled to Judgment as a Matter of Law
Plaintiffs' Complaint is titled "Complaint: Sexual Harassment." Her
relief sought is:
[i]n lieu of a Jail Term and Damages . . . an order on
Mr. Ronald G. Sidovar to engage himself in several
years of in depth psycho-therapy, with a
Psychiatrist/Psychoanalyst of his choice, and that he
should report the name, address, and telephone number
of the Psychiatrist/Psychoanalyst to the Court, with
an ongoing report from the Psychiatrist/Psychoanalyst
of the dates and year and clock hours of the visits to
Complaint at 6.
Plaintiff does not clarify under which federal or state law she wishes
to make her claim. However, it is "the Court's duty to construe pro se
complaints liberally." McKeithan v. Cox, 1991 WL 157376 at *5 (E.D.Pa.
1991). Accordingly, the Court has made an effort to find a legal basis
for a sexual harassment claim under the facts alleged by the Plaintiff.
The Court can identify two laws under which a sexual harassment claim
could be made: 1) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; or 2) the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1 —
2000e-17 (1999) and 43 PA.Stat. §§ 951-963 (1999). However, both of
these claims are relevant only in an employment context, and Plaintiff
was not an employee of the SSA, nor was she in any way supervised in an
employment context by Defendant. The Court cannot find any legal basis
for a sexual harassment claim in this case.
Accordingly, Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
There is no genuine issue of material fact in this case. Further,
Defendant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, because the Court
cannot identify any cause of action for sexual harassment that fits the
facts alleged by Plaintiff. Accordingly, summary judgment for the
Defendant is appropriate.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this 29th day of November, 1999, upon consideration of
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, and in accordance with the
foregoing Memorandum, it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant's Motion is
GRANTED. Summary judgment shall be entered in favor of Defendant, and
Plaintiffs' case shall be DISMISSED with prejudice.
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