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Young v. St. Luke's Hospital

March 30, 2010

MADELINE YOUNG, PLAINTIFF
v.
ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Knoll Gardner, United States District Judge

OPINION

This matter is before the court on the motions of defendant to dismiss plaintiff's first Amended Complaint*fn1 and plaintiff's motion for permission to file a Second Amended Complaint*fn2 . For the reasons expressed below, I grant plaintiff's motion to amend and dismiss defendant's motions to dismiss as moot.

[First] Amended Complaint On August 5, 2009, plaintiff Madeline Young filed a first Amended Complaint (Document 2) against her employer, defendant St. Luke's Hospital. In Count I of the first Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleged a disparate treatment violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 ("ADEA"). In Count II, plaintiff alleged a disparate impact violation of the ADEA. Count III alleged a violation of the Pennyslvania Human Relations Act, Act of October 27, 1955, P.L. 744, No. 222, §§ 1-13, 43 P.S. §§ 951-963 ("PHRA").

In her first Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleged that she was employed as a Cleaning Aide at St. Luke's Hospital in Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania.*fn3 She contends that she was qualified for the position and received positive reviews of her job performance.

Plaintiff avers that on March 16, 2007 she was punched in the face twice by a co-worker, Karen Boken. Plaintiff, allegedly acting in self-defense, hit Ms. Boken back. Plaintiff alleges that she was unfairly forced to resign and was never given an opportunity to provide her version of what happened to her regarding Ms. Boken.

Plaintiff asserts that she was rehired by defendant approximately two weeks after the fight, but was demoted to a lower employment position.

Plaintiff claims that defendant was aware of Ms. Boken's history of mental instability and continued harassment towards plaintiff, and of the hostile environment created by Ms. Boken, but took no action against Ms. Boken or corrective measures to remedy Ms. Boken's behavior.

Plaintiff further alleges that her immediate supervisor Jeffrey Smith made several age biased comments to plaintiff such as, "hey old lady" and "hey grandma, when are you retiring?"

Finally, plaintiff avers that defendant discriminated against her by forcing her to resign and demoting her to a lower position upon her rehiring. Plaintiff contends that defendant has shown a pattern of discriminatory behavior by eliminating the employment positions of older workers and keeping younger workers employed and by disciplining older workers more severely than younger workers.

Second Amended Complaint

On August 31, 2009, plaintiff filed Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Complaint together with a proposed Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint is identical to her first Amended Complaint, except as follows.

Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint adds introductory paragraphs alleging that plaintiff has suffered an adverse job action*fn4 and that plaintiff filed charges with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission*fn5 .

The Second Amended Complaint also deletes plaintiff's ADEA disparate impact claim (former Count II) and renumbers plaintiff's PHRA count (former Count III) as Count II. Finally, the Second Amended Complaint adds an averment to the PHRA claim clarifying that plaintiff's Pennsylvania Human Relations Act claim is based upon age discrimination.*fn6

Amendment of Pleadings

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a)(2) provides that courts "should freely give leave" to amend a pleading "when justice so requires." See, e.g., Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182, 83 S.Ct. 227, 230, 9 L.Ed.2d 222, 226 (1962); Toll Brothers, Inc. v. Township of Readington, 555 F.3d 131, 144 n.10 (3d Cir. 2009). Motions to amend pleadings should be liberally granted. Long v. Wilson, 393 F.3d 390, 400 (3d Cir. 2004); see Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 202, 206 (3d Cir. 2006); Bechtel v. Robinson, 886 F.2d 644, 652 (3d Cir. 1989). "Leave to amend must generally be granted unless equitable ...


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