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Law v. Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18

May 25, 2006

BARBARA LAW, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LUZERNE INTERMEDIATE UNIT 18, AND LUZERNE INTERMEDIATE UNIT BOARD OF DIRECTORS, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 20) and Defendants' Motion to Strike (Doc. 22). For the reasons set forth below, I will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss. In addition, I will grant Defendants' motion to strike in part and deny it in part. The Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

BACKGROUND

Barbara Law is, and has long been, an employee of Defendant Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18. (Doc. 1, at 1.) In approximately July of 1998, Plaintiff and another employee, Lynn Makar, filed an internal complaint alleging sex discrimination. (Doc. 1, at 2.) On August 18, 1999, Plaintiff and Ms. Makar entered into a Release and Settlement Agreement ("Settlement Agreement") with Defendants. (Doc. 1, ¶ 46, Ex. B.) The Settlement Agreement resolved Plaintiff's claims of discrimination arising out of events prior to the execution of the release, and detailed monetary compensation to be awarded to Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, Ex. B.)

After execution of the agreement, on September 26, 2001, Defendants adopted a new organizational chart showing the relationship between the various levels of managerial employees. (Doc. 1, ¶ 49.) Plaintiff asserts that under the new structure, Plaintiff was required to report to male individuals who had previously been her equals. (Doc. 1, ¶ 51.) In addition, Plaintiff asserts that tasks that were previously performed by Plaintiff were listed under the job duties of male employees in the new organizational chart. (Doc. 1, ¶ 52.) Plaintiff contends that Defendants adopted the new organizational chart in retaliation for her previous claims of discrimination, and that Defendants continue to discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of her sex. (Doc. 1, ¶ 49.)

On October 24, 2005, Plaintiff filed an action with this Court. (Doc. 1.) On March 14, 2006, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 20) and a Motion to Strike (Doc. 22).

Both motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

DISCUSSION

1. Motion to Dismiss

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all factual allegations in the complaint as true and "drawing all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor, no relief could be granted under any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).

In deciding a motion to dismiss, the Court should consider the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record. See Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). The Court may also consider "undisputedly authentic" documents where the plaintiff's claims are based on the documents and the defendant has attached a copy of the document to the motion to dismiss. Id. The Court need not assume that the plaintiff can prove facts that were not alleged in the complaint, see City of Pittsburgh v. West Penn Power Co., 147 F.3d 256, 263 (3d Cir. 1998), nor credit a complaint's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Morse v. Lower Marion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of the claims. See Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The Court does not consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. In order to survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must set forth information from which each element of a claim may be inferred. See Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). The defendant bears the burden of establishing that the plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

a. Count V: Bad Faith Breach of Contract/Breach of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Defendants seek dismissal of Count V of Plaintiff's Complaint. Namely, Defendants argue that Pennsylvania law recognizes a claim for breach of good faith and fair dealing in extremely narrow ...


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