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Engelke v. Aldie Counseling Center

November 21, 2008

BRYANT ENGELKE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ALDIE COUNSELING CENTER, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Tucker, J.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before this Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Pursuant To FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) (Doc. 7), and Plaintiff's Response in Opposition (Doc. 9). For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is denied.

BACKGROUND

From the evidence of the record, taken in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the pertinent facts are as follows. Plaintiff alleges that he worked for Defendant for approximately nine months as a supervisor, providing drug and alcohol counseling to clients. Plaintiff claims that he suffers from permanent health problems with his heart, specifically an ascending aorta aneurysm.

According to Plaintiff, after seven months of employment, Plaintiff notified his supervisor about his heart problems. Plaintiff claims that, within one week of disclosing his health problems, Defendant inquired about whether he intended to file for disability. Approximately one month later, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment. Plaintiff claims that he never received any written or oral discipline prior to his termination, however, Defendant disagrees.

Plaintiff believed that the termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"). Accordingly, Plaintiff filed a timely charge of discrimination with both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC").

In Plaintiff's EEOC charge, he claimed in relevant part, "I specifically told Respondent's Executive Director, that I suffered from this condition and that I would need to seek treatment for it. I did not take any extended period of time off from work after being diagnosed with this condition. Within one week of my telling Respondent that I was diagnosed with an aneurysm, he asked me whether I intended on applying for disability. On or about June 11, 2007, I was terminated by Respondent . . . ."

Within ninety days of receiving a notice of dismissal from the EEOC, and within one year of filing his charge with the PHRC, Plaintiff filed this timely suit. In the present action, Plaintiff claims that his termination constituted wrongful discharge in violation of the ADA and PHRA, as well as retaliation in violation of the ADA and PHRA.

Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's claims of retaliation under the ADA and the PHRA. According to Defendant, Plaintiff did not assert claims for retaliation in his charges to the EEOC and PHRC. Defendant argues that, since the retaliation claims were not included in his original charges to the EEOC and PHRC, Plaintiff cannot raise claims for retaliation in his civil complaint.

Plaintiff, however, disagrees. Plaintiff insists that charges to EEOC and the PHRC need not explicitly claim retaliation, as long as the narratives provided in the charges contained facts sufficient to support a claim of retaliation.

LEGAL STANDARD

In considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6), the court "must take all the well pleaded allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the pleadings, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Colburn v. Upper Darby Township, 838 F.2d 663, 665-66 (3d Cir. 1988). While the court will accept well-pled allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept bald assertions, unsupported conclusions, or unwarranted inferences. Morse v. Lower Merion School District, 132 F.902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997).

A complaint should be dismissed only "if 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). The question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts consistent with his allegations that will entitle him to relief, not whether the claimant will ultimately prevail. Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165, 173 (3d Cir. 2000).

The claimant must set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claims or to permit inferences to be drawn that the elements exist. Kost v. Kozakewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (quoting 5A Wright & Miller, Fed. Practice & Procedure: Civil 2d ยง 1357 at 340). The court may consider the allegations of the complaint, as well as documents attached to or ...


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