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Haylett v. Bohrer

August 15, 2006

CAROL HAYLETT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LESLIE BOHRER, CHERYL WEBER AND ST. MARTIN DAY CARE CENTER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLAUGHLIN, Sean J., District J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Carol Haylett has filed this pro se civil action against her former employer, St. Martin Day Care Center ("St. Martin") as well as two of her former supervisors, Leslie Bohrer and Cheryl Weber.*fn1 Plaintiff asserts violations of her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 1981. In addition, she seeks damages for various personal injuries, both physical and emotional, allegedly caused by the Defendants' actions as well as damages under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Pub. L. 93-112, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 701 et seq..*fn2 We have jurisdiction over these claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1367(a).

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claims or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendants have moved for relief under Rule 12(b)(6) or, alternatively, Rule 56, of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), we are required to accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. A Rule 12(b)(6) motion should be granted if it appears to a certainty that no relief could be granted under any set of facts which could be proved. See Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005). Summary judgment under Rule 56 is appropriate only if there are no genuine issues of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, we must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; Gottshall v. Consol. Rail Corp., 56 F.3d 530, 533 (3d Cir. 1995).

Additional consideration must be given to the fact that the Plaintiff here is proceeding pro se. Pro se pleadings, "however inartfully pleaded," must be held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers" and can only be dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears "'beyond a doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief.'" Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521(1972), quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). If the court can reasonably read pleadings to state a valid claim on which the litigant could prevail, it should do so despite failure to cite proper legal authority, confusion of legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or litigant's unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364 (1982); United States ex rel. Montgomery v. Bierley, 141 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969)(petition prepared by a prisoner may be inartfully drawn and should be read "with a measure of tolerance"); Smith v. U.S. District Court, 956 F.2d 295 (D.C. Cir. 1992); Freeman v. Department of Corrections, 949 F.2d 360 (10th Cir. 1991). Under our liberal pleading rules, during the initial stages of litigation, a district court should construe all allegations in a complaint in favor of the complainant. Gibbs v. Roman, 116 F.3d 83 (3d Cir. 1997). See, e.g., Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996) (discussing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard); Markowitz v. Northeast Land Company, 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990)(same).

II. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff was employed at St. Martin from approximately July 1994 to October 2001 when she claims she was constructively discharged. Plaintiff asserts that, during her tenure at St. Martin, she suffered various forms of discrimination at the hands of Weber and Bohrer, including adverse work assignments, a reduction of work hours and benefits, verbal harassment, refusal to reasonably accommodate Plaintiff's back and hip injuries and, ultimately, loss of employment.

Defendants assert several bases for dismissing Plaintiff's claims. We will consider each basis in turn.

A.

First, Defendants move to dismiss from this lawsuit Cheryl Weber and Leslie Bohrer -- respectively, the Executive Director and Director of St. Martin. We agree with Defendants that neither of these individuals is a properly named defendant for purposes of Plaintiff's federal claims. Discrimination claims under the ADA, ADEA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act can only be brought against the plaintiff's "employer." 29 U.S.C. § 623; 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 2000e-2, 12111(2) and (5) and 12112. It is clear from Plaintiff's allegation that her "employer" was St. Martin Center, not Defendants Weber or Bohrer. Similarly, our circuit court of appeals has held that there is no individual liability under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. See Emerson v. Thiel College, 296 F.3d 184, 189-90 (3d Cir. 2002). Accordingly, Plaintiff has not stated a claim against the individual defendants under any of the anti-discrimination laws upon which relief can properly be granted.

B.

Defendants' second argument is that Plaintiff's claims under the ADA, ADEA and Title VII must be dismissed in their entirety as untimely. Defendants' exhibits show that Plaintiff filed a complaint against St. Martin with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission ("PHRC") on August 23, 2001.*fn3 (Def.s' Ex. A.) On April 23, 2003, the PHRC dismissed the complaint on the basis that it found no probable cause to support Plaintiff's allegations. (Def.s' Ex. B.)

Plaintiff's PHRC complaint was cross-filed with the EEOC and, on September 25, 2003, the EEOC issued a dismissal of the complaint and notice of Plaintiff's right to file suit ("Notice of Right to Sue"). (Def.s' Ex. E.) Based on additional information subsequently submitted by Plaintiff in support of her claims, the EEOC on January 6, 2004 issued a notice of intent to reconsider Plaintiff's claims and rescinded its prior dismissal. (Def.s' Ex. F.) Upon reconsideration, the EEOC found reasonable cause to support at least some of ...


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