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Eldeeb v. Potter


December 8, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anita B. Brody, J.



Plaintiff, Osama E. Eldeeb ("Eldeeb"), brings this suit against Defendant, John E. Potter, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service ("the Postal Service"), claiming that he was subject to employment discrimination based on his race, national origin, and religion in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Eldeeb claims that while employed with the Postal Service he was subject to verbal harassment, humiliation, and insults to his name by his supervisor.*fn1 Currently before me are the Postal Service's Motion to Dismiss for failure to state a claim and Eldeeb's Response.


Eldeeb's claims are brought under Title VII, therefore this Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a court must grant a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Id. "[A] complaint must contain sufficient factual matter . . . to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Gelman v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 583 F.3d 187, 191 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)) (internal quotation marks omitted). "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged--but it has not 'show[n]'--'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1950 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).


From November 17, 2007 through November 21, 2007, all of five days, Eldeeb was employed by the Postal Service as a temporary casual employee at the Southeastern Pennsylvania Processing and Distribution Center in Tredyffrin Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. Eldeeb resigned from his employment on November 21, 2007, allegedly because of his supervisor's verbal harassment, humiliation, and insults. On January 3, 2008, Eldeeb filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Postal Service. Eldeeb's complaint was dismissed on January 9, 2008. Eldeeb filed an appeal with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but his appeal was denied on April 30, 2008.


The Third Circuit has established a framework for analyzing Title VII complaints. In order to make out a prima facie case of an actionable hostile work environment under Title VII, Eldeeb must plead and prove that (1) he suffered intentional discrimination because of his race, national origin or religion; (2) the discrimination was severe and pervasive; (3) the discrimination detrimentally affected him; (4) the discrimination would detrimentally affect a reasonable person of the same protected class in that position; and (5) there is respondeat superior liability. E.g., Weston v. Pennsylvania, 251 F.3d 420, 426 (3d Cir. 2001).

The Postal Service focuses its argument on the severity and pervasiveness of the alleged discrimination. In Clark County Sch. Dist. v. Breeden, 532 U.S. 268 (2001), the Supreme Court established a framework for analyzing the "severe and pervasive prong":

[H]arassment is actionable under Title VII only if it is so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of the victim's employment and create an abusive working environment. Workplace conduct is not measured in isolation; instead, whether an environment is sufficiently hostile or abusive must be judged by looking at all the circumstances, including the frequency of the discriminatory conduct; its severity; whether it is physically threatening or humiliating, or a mere offensive utterance; and whether it unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance.

Id. at 270-71 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

Eldeeb's complaint is devoid of any facts that might indicate the frequency, severity, or abusive nature of the harassment to which he claims to have been subjected. It is impossible to reasonably infer from his allegations that the harassment he purportedly faced was "so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of [his] employment." Id. Eldeeb's complaint is the quint-essential "unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation," which "tenders naked assertions devoid of further factual enhancement." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-57 (2007)) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). As such, it fails "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id.

V. Conclusion

For the reasons explained above, the Postal Service's Motion to Dismiss Eldeeb's Title VII hostile work environment claim is granted without prejudice. Eldeeb shall be given until January 18, 2010 to file an appropriately amended complaint that meets the pleading standard set forth in Iqbal. See Fletcher-Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 251-52 (3d Cir. 2007) (plaintiff in a civil rights case must be given the opportunity to amend a deficient complaint, unless that opportunity would be inequitable or futile).*fn3 If Eldeeb fails to submit a timely amended complaint, the Postal Service may apply for dismissal of the action. If Eldeeb does not wish to amend his complaint, he may file an appropriate notice with the Court asserting his intent to stand on the complaint, which would also lead to dismissal of the action. See Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235 (3d Cir. 2004).

Anita B. Brody, J.

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