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COREIA v. SCHUYLKILL CTY. AREA VOCATIONAL-TECH. SCH. AUTH.

September 16, 2005.

JOHN J. COREIA, Plaintiff
v.
SCHUYLKILL COUNTY AREA VOCATIONAL-TECHNICAL SCHOOL AUTHORITY, ET AL. Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN JONES, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint ("the Motion") (doc. 24) filed by Defendants Schuylkill County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority, James Monaghan, Gerald Achenbach, and James S. Fogarty (collectively "Defendants") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) on June 30, 2005.

  For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

  PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

  The plaintiff, John J. Coreia ("Plaintiff" or "Coreia") initiated this action by filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on November 5, 2004 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1342, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and invoking the Court's supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). On January 24, 2005 Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, which was briefed by the parties. On March 24, 2005, we issued an Order directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint as Plaintiff attached factual allegations to his submission that were not contained within the four corners of his complaint. (See Rec. Doc. 19).

  Defendants filed the instant Motion on June 30, 2005, which has been briefed by the parties. The Motion is therefore ripe for disposition.

  STANDARD OF REVIEW:

  In considering a motion to dismiss, a court must accept the veracity of a plaintiff's allegations. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); see also White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). In Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996), our Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit added that in considering a motion to dismiss based on a failure to state a claim argument, a court should "not inquire whether the plaintiffs will ultimately prevail, only whether they are entitled to offer evidence to support their claims." Furthermore, "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); see also District Council 47 v. Bradley, 795 F.2d 310 (3d Cir. 1986).

  FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

  Plaintiff alleges in his amended complaint that he was employed by Defendant Schuylkill County Area Vocation-Technical School Authority ("VOTEC") as a machine trades technology teacher and was forced to resign effective August 21, 2003. (Am. Compl. ¶ 11). His active contracted employment with Defendant VOTEC ended on or about June 9, 2003. Id. On or about August 15, 2003 Plaintiff was approached by Defendant James Monaghan ("Monaghan"), Director of Education at Schuylkill County VOTEC and Plaintiff's supervisor, who stated that he was going to send in the application for Plaintiff to get his emergency teaching certificate ("ETC"). Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff asserts that he then gave Monaghan the signed application and money order, assuming that Monaghan was going to mail the items. Id.

  On or about August 18, 2003, Monaghan told Plaintiff that his application had been denied and gave Plaintiff his application and money back. Id. ¶ 13. "Monaghan never mentioned to Plaintiff that he was going to lose his job and Plaintiff continued to enter his classroom after this date." Id. Plaintiff noticed that the date of the application and the date on the denial letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Education were the same. Id.

  Two days later, on August 20, 2003, at approximately 11:30 a.m., while Plaintiff was working in his classroom, Monaghan told Plaintiff that he had to submit a letter of resignation or he was going to be terminated. Id. ¶ 14. Plaintiff's decision had to be made by 3:00 p.m. that day. Monaghan told Plaintiff that if he was terminated, he would lose all the course credits he had earned toward his teaching degree and never be able to teach in Pennsylvania again. Id. Plaintiff asked Monaghan if he could give his answer after he had an opportunity to speak with the education department's attorney; however, Monaghan responded that he could not and stated that Plaintiff had until 3:00 p.m. on August 20, 2003 to either resign or to be terminated by Monaghan. Id. ¶ 15.

  Plaintiff alleges that he immediately contacted Edward E. Demyanovich ("Demyanovich"), the president and union representative of Plaintiff's union of the Pennsylvania State Educational Association, the Schuylkill County Area Vocational Technical School Educational Association ("Schuylkill County AVTSEA") as of June 2002, to seek his union's representation in a grievance process. Id. ¶ 24. Demyanovich was working in his classroom in preparation for the new school year and attempted to contact Martin Herring ("Herring"), the union's attorney in Philadelphia. "Attorney Herring was not available until the next day, and therefore Demyanovich contacted his more senior past union contacts and other representatives for advise [sic]. Based upon his contacts and/or lack of contacts, he stated to Plaintiff that `Jim [Monaghan] being the director of education must know what he is talking about . . . [that Plaintiff would loose al [sic] his credits from Temple University and would never be able to teach in Pennsylvania again] . . . and that we must trust his judgment.'" Id. ¶ 25.

  After speaking with Demyanovich, Plaintiff explained to Monaghan that the union attorney would not be available under the next day and asked that Monaghan wait until the next day. Id. ¶ 26. The said request was denied and Plaintiff was again told that if he did not resign before 3:00 p.m., that he would be terminated that day. Id. ¶ 27. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that requests to meet or discuss the termination with Dr. Gerald Achenbach ("Achenbach"), Monaghan's immediate director, were unsuccessful on August 20, 2003. Achenbach directed Monaghan to terminate Plaintiff or to have him resign that date by 3:00 p.m. Id. ¶ 28.

  A letter of resignation written by Monaghan was given to Plaintiff to sign. With no viable options, Plaintiff signed the letter of resignation. Id. ¶ 16. The following day, Herring and the Schuylkill County AVTSEA regional Unit-Serve Representative, Janet Kuykendall ("Kuykendall") told Demyanovich that because Plaintiff resigned, he was no longer a union member and no grievance could be pursued on his behalf. Id. ¶ 29.

  Plaintiff states that he never received a verbal or written reminder from anyone regarding the amount of time he had to receive his Vocational I Certificate. Id. ¶ 17. Moreover, during his relevant time of employment, Plaintiff asserts that he was working for Defendants pursuant to an "internship certificate." On the back of this certificate, it states that it is valid for a three year period from the date of issuance and does not indicate a date of expiration. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff was taking classes at Temple University toward his teaching certification. Id.

  DISCUSSION:

  We initially note that Plaintiffs' claims are brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on the basis of alleged constitutional violations of the Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process ...


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