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Kress v. Birchwood Landscaping

March 14, 2007

ELIZABETH KRESS, PLAINTIFF
v.
BIRCHWOOD LANDSCAPING, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

Magistrate Judge Mannion

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS

On February 23, 2007, Magistrate Judge Mannion filed a Report and Recommendation recommending that Defendant Birchwood Landscaping's Motion for Summary Judgment ("the Motion")(doc. 19) be granted in part and denied in part and that the Plaintiff's complaint be dismissed in part and proceed to trial on counts one, four in part, and five.

Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report were due by March 12, 2007 and to date none have been filed. This matter is now ripe for disposition.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND/PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Elizabeth Kress ("Plaintiff") filed the instant action on March 21, 2005 by filing a complaint (doc. 1) against the Defendant, her former employer. The Plaintiff was employed by the Defendant, a sole proprietorship of Joseph Czarnecki from August 11, 2002 until her resignation in August 2003. Plaintiff was employed first as a sales associate in the Defendant's garden center and was later promoted to garden center manager. (Rec. Doc. 42, pp. 7-9). The Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Czarnecki sexually harassed her from the time she was hired until December 2002.

The complaint raises seven counts based on gender and pay discrimination. Count One raises a hostile work environment on the basis of gender claim in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et. seq., as amended. Count Two raises a quid pro quo sexual harassment claim in violation of Title VII. Count Three raises a retaliation claim for Plaintiff's exercise of her Title VII rights, in violation of Title VII. Count Four alleges discrimination on the basis of gender by not providing equal pay, in violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 ("EPA"), 29 U.S.C. §206(d). Count Five raises the Title VII gender discrimination allegations under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act of 1955 ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. § 951, et. seq., as amended. In Count Six, Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant constructively discharged her by subjecting her to gender and age discrimination. Finally, in Count Seven, Plaintiff alleges that the defendant intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon her in violation of the common law of Pennsylvania. The Plaintiff seeks damages and equitable relief. The Defendant answered the complaint on July 7, 2005. (Rec. Doc. 3).

Following the close of discovery, the Defendant moved for summary judgment on August 18, 2006. (Rec. Doc. 19). The motion was fully briefed by the parties, and on February 23, 2007, Magistrate Judge Mannion issued a Report and Recommendation on the motion for summary judgment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

When no objections are made to a magistrate's report, the district court is not statutorily required to review a magistrate judge's report before accepting it. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). According to the Third Circuit, however, "the better practice is to afford some level of review to dispositive legal issues raised by the report." Henderson v. Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987). When a district court accepts a magistrate judge's report, the report becomes the judgment of the court. Id.

DISCUSSION

Our review of this case confirms Magistrate Judge Mannion's determinations and well-reasoned analysis, and while we have not been presented with any reason to revisit them, we do reiterate the salient aspects of the Magistrate Judge's report.*fn1

First, Magistrate Judge Mannion found that a genuine issue of material fact remained as to whether the Defendant is a covered Title VII employer. As noted by the Magistrate Judge, the protections of Title VII apply only to an employer as defined by Title VII.*fn2 We agree that the Defendant's evidence does not show whether or not it employed the threshold number of employees to be covered by Title VII in the subject years. Therefore, Magistrate Judge ...


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