The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lowell A. Reed, Jr., Senior District Judge.
Now before the Court is the motion of defendants the Bureau of Liquor
Control Enforcement of the Pennsylvania State Police, James P. Corcoran,
Mary Lou Corbett, Robert Hickes, Alfred Campbell, Bettina Bunting, and
Thomas Bickta for summary judgment as to the claims of plaintiff Sharon
Williams, who claims defendants engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional
discrimination against her on the basis of her race, sex, and
disability. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted in part
and denied in part.
Plaintiff Williams is an African American woman who has been employed
as a liquor enforcement officer with the Bureau of Liquor Control
Enforcement of the Pennsylvania State Police ("Bureau") since 1982.*fn1
Among her duties as a liquor enforcement officer are the investigation of
violations of Pennsylvania laws and regulations related to the sale and
consumption of alcohol, conducting undercover surveillance of
establishments serving alcohol, leading and assisting in raids of such
establishments, participating in prosecutions for alcohol-related
violations, and training others to perform the duties of a liquor
enforcement officer. (Plaintiffs' Exh., Vol. 3, Tab. 1, Job Description,
Sharon R. Williams, May 30, 1996; Identification of Essential Job
Functions, Sharon R. Williams). Her job involves "consuming, or feigning
the consumption of, alcoholic beverages." (Id.). Plaintiff is a
Williams alleges that since October 1995, she has been subjected to
discrimination and harassment by the individual defendants, James P.
Corcoran, Mary Lou Corbett, Robert Hickes, Alfred Campbell, Bettina
Bunting, and Thomas Bickta (collectively, the "individual defendants"),
and the Bureau, on the basis of her race, sex, and disability. The
conduct of which plaintiff complains includes three formal actions taken
by the Bureau with the participation of some or all of the individual
defendants: (1) in April, 1996, she was suspended for 15 days without pay
an investigation into her practice of leaving the office prior to end of
her shift and conducting personal business during work hours; (2) in
February 1997, she was presented from returning to work after an extended
leave of absence and forced to take an additional 11 days of sick leave;
(3) in 1998, she was placed on restricted duty, assigned to a desk, and
ordered to relinquish her badge, gun, and state vehicle.
Plaintiff also claims that defendants have discriminated against her in
less formal ways: denying her opportunities to receive training;
presenting false information in investigations and at hearings; initiating
unfounded and retaliatory investigations; giving her low marks on
performance evaluations; issuing written reprimands; behaving
confrontationally toward her; publicly degrading and humiliating her;
giving her undesirable and dangerous work assignments; and ignoring her
complaints of harassment and discrimination.
Plaintiff asserts claims against the Bureau under the Americans with
Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), and the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Stat. §§ 951, et seq.
("PHRA"). She also asserts against the individual defendants
constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 1983 and aiding and
abetting claims under the PHRA. All defendants have moved for summary
In deciding a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, "the test is whether there is a genuine issue
of material fact and, if not, whether the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law." Medical Protective Co. v. Watkins,
198 F.3d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Armbruster v. Unisys Corp.,
32 F.3d 768, 777 (3d Cir. 1994)). "As to materiality, the substantive law
will identify which facts are material. Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
Furthermore, "summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a
material fact is `genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. at
250, 106 S.Ct. 2505.
On a motion for summary judgment, the facts should be reviewed in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654,
655, 82 S.Ct. 993, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962)). The nonmoving party "must do
more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts," Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, and must
produce more than a "mere scintilla" of evidence to demonstrate a genuine
issue of material fact and avoid summary judgment. See Big Apple BMW,
Inc. v. BMW of North America, Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992).
A. Discrimination on the Basis of Disability
Plaintiff argues that the Bureau discriminated against her on the basis
of a disability in violation of the ADA and the PHRA. In particular, she
claims the Bureau regarded her as suffering from the disability of
alcoholism and took adverse employment actions against her because of
Casting a shadow over plaintiffs' ADA claim is the doctrine of state
immunity from suit embodied in the Eleventh Amendment to the United
States Constitution. That shadow has lengthened considerably in a series
of recent Supreme Court cases addressing the authority of Congress to
abrogate states' sovereign immunity.
See Kimel v. Florida Bd. of Regents, 528 U.S. 62, 120 S.Ct. 631, 145
L.Ed.2d 522 (2000); Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Educ. Expense Bd. v.
College Say. Bank, 527 U.S. 627, 119 S.Ct. 2199, 144 L.Ed.2d 575 (1999);
Alden v. Maine, 527 U.S. 706, 119 S.Ct. 2240, 144 L.Ed.2d 636 (1999);
Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida, 517 U.S. 44, 116 S.Ct. 1114, 134
L.Ed.2d 252 (1996).
Just days ago, in Lavia v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 224 F.3d 190
(3d Cir. 2000), the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit extended the
holdings of those Supreme Court cases to the ADA by holding that the
suits against states and their agencies under the ADA are barred by the
doctrine of sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment. See id.,
slip op., at 24, ___, Lavia compels me to the conclusion that the
Bureau, which is part of the Pennsylvania State Police and a state agency
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,*fn2 is immune from suit under the
ADA, and therefore summary judgment will be granted as to plaintiffs' ADA
The same analysis and result applies to plaintiffs' disability-based
discrimination claims against the Bureau and the individual defendants
under the PHRA. While the PHRA has been held to waive Pennsylvania's
immunity from suit in state court, see Mansfield State Coll. v. Kovich,
46 Pa.Cmwlth. 399, 407 A.2d 1387, 1388 (1979), that waiver does not
subject Pennsylvania to a PHRA suit in federal court, see Irizarry v.
Pennsylvania Dep't of Transp., No. 98-6180, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5890,
at *13 (E.D.Pa. Apr. 19, 1999); McLaughlin v. State System of Higher
Educ., No. 97-1144, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4325, at *17 n. 4 (E.D.Pa.
Mar. 31, 1999); Fitzpatrick v. Pennsylvania, 40 F. Supp.2d 631, 635
(E.D.Pa. 1999). Indeed, Pennsylvania law, 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8521(b), is
quite explicit on this point: "Nothing contained in this subchapter shall
be construed to waive the immunity of the Commonwealth from suit in
Federal courts guaranteed by the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution
of the United States." Thus, a plaintiff may never pursue a PHRA claim
against Pennsylvania or its agencies in federal court. For that reason,
plaintiffs' claims pursuant to the PHRA will be dismissed without
B. Discrimination Based on Race and Sex
Plaintiff alleges that the Bureau violated Title VII in three ways.
First, plaintiff alleges that the Bureau retaliated against her for
filing a discrimination complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations
Commission (PHRC). Second, plaintiff asserts she was treated differently
because of her race and gender. Third, plaintiff claims she was ...