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Miller v. Clinton County

April 5, 2007

RITA MILLER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CLINTON COUNTY AND THE HONORABLE RICHARD SAXTON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint Filed on Behalf of the Honorable Richard N. Saxton, President Judge ("the Motion")(doc. 22) filed on December 14, 2006.

For the following reasons, the Motion (doc. 22) will be denied.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 22, 2006, Plaintiff Rita Miller ("Plaintiff" or "Miller") filed a two-count complaint against Defendant Clinton County ("Clinton County")*fn1 in the United States Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. (Rec. Doc. 1). Thereafter, on April 25, 2006, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Amend to Add Party (doc. 14), namely Defendant the Honorable Richard N. Saxton ("President Judge Saxton"), which was granted by this Court. (Rec. Doc. 15). The amended complaint added President Judge Saxton as a party and stated a First Amendment retaliation claim against him and Defendant Clinton County, contained in Count I. Count II of the amended complaint raises a due process claim against Defendant Clinton County in name, and Defendant Saxton by implication. After the amended complaint (doc. 16) was filed on October 27, 2006, President Judge Saxton filed the instant Motion. The Motion has been fully briefed by the parties and is therefore ripe for our review.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

In considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 12(b)(6), 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.2d3 310 (3d Cir. 1986).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is a former full-time employee of the Probation Office of Clinton County. Plaintiff was employed as an Adult Probation Officer. (Amended Complaint, ¶¶4, 7).

Plaintiff alleges that during the course of her employment, her "supervisors indicated that clients of the Adult Probation Office were 'scum' and no government money should be wasted on rehabilitation and as a result of the positions of [her] supervisors, the Adult Probation Office was being run in an ineffective manner." (Amended Complaint, ¶7). Plaintiff alleges that she "made a good faith effort to address her complaints and concerns with President Judge Saxton by letter dated January 22, 2006." (Amended Complaint, ¶8). Plaintiff alleges that in response to the letter, President Judge Saxton terminated her employment with Clinton County effective January 31, 2006. (Amended Complaint, ¶9).

DISCUSSION

President Judge Saxton moves this Court to dismiss the amended complaint as against him pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).*fn2 Alternatively, Defendant Saxton argues that he is ...


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