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SNYDER v. TEAMSTERS LOCAL NUMBER 249

September 2, 2005.

MARLA SNYDER, Plaintiff,
v.
TEAMSTERS LOCAL NUMBER 249, HBC SERVICE CORPORATION, and JEFFREY LAHEW, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: TERRENCE F. McVERRY, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Presently before the Court for disposition is the MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT filed by Defendants, Teamsters Local Number 249 ("Local 249") and Jeffrey Lahew ("Lahew") (Document No. 54), with brief in support thereof (Document No. 55), the Response and Brief in Opposition filed by Plaintiff, Marla Snyder, (Document Nos. 70 and 75), and the Reply Brief filed by Local 249 and Lahew (Document No. 78).

After careful consideration of Defendants' motion, the filings in support and opposition thereto, the memoranda of the parties, the relevant case law, and the record as a whole, the Court finds that there is not sufficient record evidence upon which a reasonable jury could return a verdict for Plaintiff, Marla Snyder on her federal and state claims of discrimination. Therefore, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment as to all federal and state claims which allege discrimination and dismiss without prejudice the additional pendent state claims alleged by Plaintiff, Marla Snyder. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  On January 23, 2002, Plaintiff commenced this action by the filing of an eight-count Complaint against HBC Service Corporation ("HBC"), Local 249 and Lahew. Plaintiff contends that she was a victim of sexual harassment and a hostile work environment caused by the actions of the Defendants. Plaintiff also alleges that she was constructively discharged as a result of Defendants' actions in that she was forced to take a medical leave of absence from HBC as a result of the continuing harassment.

  Defendants Local 249 and Lahew filed a Motion to Dismiss, which resulted in a number of counts being dismissed against them by the Court. Accordingly, the following claims remain pending against Defendants Local 249 and/or Lahew: federal and state claims of sexual harassment/hostile work environment in violation of Title VII and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"); and claims under Pennsylvania state law for civil conspiracy, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.

  Defendants Local 249 and Lahew have filed the instant motion for summary judgment, in which they contend that there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding any of Plaintiff's claims and, therefore, they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

  BACKGROUND

  The facts relevant to this discussion, and viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, are as follows. Plaintiff began her employment with HBC in December 1996 when HBC acquired a facility in Meadowlands, Pennsylvania from Foxmeyer Corp. Plaintiff had been employed by Foxmeyer since 1993, first at its Leetsdale facility and then in the summer/early fall 1996 she was transferred to the Meadlowlands facility. Local 249 represented the employees at the Meadowlands facility during the time that Foxmeyer was the employer. However, when HBC took over, Local 249 did not initially represent the employees. Beginning in January 1997, the employees, including Plaintiff, no longer paid union dues to Local 249. On August 22, 1998, Local 249 and HBC entered into a collective bargaining agreement which remained in effect through the events surrounding this litigation.*fn1 Beginning in September 1998, the employees in the bargaining unit, including Plaintiff, resumed paying union dues.

  Jeffrey Lahew ("Lahew") commenced his employment at the Meadowlands facility on December 1, 1996, as a temporary employee, and then became a regular employee. From October 1998 through the summer of 2000, Lahew served as a committeeman for Local 249. At no time was Lahew a supervisor of Plaintiff.

  Plaintiff alleges that she first had problems with Lahew in February or March 1997. Plaintiff alleges that she made a verbal complaint to management and to Local 249 at that time, although Local 249 did not represent the employees at that time and thus did not have any standing to raise any issue.

  In May 2000, Snyder made a written complaint to Local 249 in which she claimed that on three separate occasions, in May 1999, August 1999, and April 27, 2000, Lahew had acted abusively towards her.

  According to Plaintiff, the first incident arose in May 1999, when Lahew yelled at Plaintiff and used offensive language because he was angry that Plaintiff "did not organize the totes in the order he felt was appropriate." Pl. Aff. #51. Plaintiff made a verbal complaint to Jan Kish ("Kish"), a management employee of HBC. The complaint led to a meeting with Plaintiff, Lahew, Kish, and John Drevitch, Local 249's steward at the time. Kish issued a verbal warning to Lahew against any behavior that would be inappropriate for the workplace.

  The next incident, according to Plaintiff, occurred in August 1999, when Lahew observed Plaintiff taking an order from the middle of the stack.*fn2 Lahew yelled at Plaintiff again using offensive language and threatening gestures. After this incident, Plaintiff made a complaint to her union business agent, Terry Mahoney ("Mahoney"). Mahoney told Plaintiff that he had spoken to Lahew and warned him about his conduct. After this incident, Plaintiff was assigned to work in a different area from Lahew.

  The third incident, according to Plaintiff, occurred on April 29, 2000, when she was assigned to fill boxes on the conveyor line, along with Bernie Sisler ("Sisler") and Jill Zynosky ("Zynosky"). Lahew came to their section and saw that some of the product had spilled. He became agitated and starting screaming, using offensive language, at Plaintiff, Sisler and Zynosky, telling them that they were not performing their jobs correctly. Pursuant to the HBC sexual harassment ...


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