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Puidokas v. Rite-Aid of Pennsylvania

May 10, 2010

BRENDA PUIDOKAS, PLAINTIFF
v.
RITE-AID OF PENNSYLVANIA, INC., DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiff's amended complaint. (Doc. 9). The motion has been briefed and is ripe for disposition.

BACKGROUND

This is a civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Brenda Puidokas ("Puidokas") against Defendant Rite Aid of Pennsylvania, Inc. ("Rite Aid") for violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Puidokas worked for Rite Aid from January 18, 2006 to December 18, 2006. (Amended Complaint at ¶ 14 (Doc. 6)). Puidokas's daughter also worked for Rite Aid. (Id. at ¶ 15).

Puidokas alleges that Rite Aid discriminated against her daughter based on her daughter's gender. (Id. at ¶ 16). Specifically, Puidokas alleges that Rite Aid District Manager Rodney Bryant ("Bryant") held Puidokas to a standard he also applied to male managers, though Puidokas's daughter was not given commensurate responsibilities or compensation. (Id. at ¶ 17). When Puidokas's daughter protested that she was being discriminated against based on her gender, Bryant allegedly attempted to transfer her to another store. (Id. at ¶ 18). Bryant's attempts allegedly failed because of Puidokas's daughter's union membership. (Id.) Puidokas's daughter filed a charge against Rite Aid with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. at ¶ 16).

Puidokas alleges that, having been unsuccessful in retaliating against Puidokas's daughter, Bryant threatened to transfer Puidokas to another store. (Id. at ¶¶ 19, 20). Rite Aid was allegedly aware that Puidokas did not have a means of transportation to the other store. (Id. at ¶ 20). Rite Aid, at this point, invoked its policy against employees working in store locations alongside relatives. (Id. at ¶ 21). Puidokas alleges that, after speaking to her supervisor, Scott Luttrell ("Luttrell"), she faced the ultimatum of accepting a transfer to another store to which she had no transportation or seeing her daughter's employment terminated. (Id. at ¶¶ 22, 23). Puidokas decided to resign on December 18, 2008, after speaking with Luttrell. (Id. at ¶ 23).

Puidokas filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on January 9, 2009. (Id. at ¶ 11). The EEOC issued Puidokas a Notice of Right to Sue on August 5, 2009. (Id.) Puidokas cross filed her complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. (Id.)

Puidokas filed her complaint on November 3, 2009. (Doc. 1). Rite Aid moved to dismiss and Puidokas amended her complaint. (Docs. 5, 6). Rite Aid filed its motion to dismiss the amended complaint on February 3, 2010, bringing the case to its present posture. (Doc. 9).

JURISDICTION

The court has federal question jurisdiction over this civil rights action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1343(a)(3), (4) (granting district courts jurisdiction over civil actions brought to redress deprivations of constitutional or statutory rights by way of damages or equitable relief).

LEGAL STANDARD

When a 12(b)(6) motion is filed, the sufficiency of a complaint's allegations are tested. Granting the motion is appropriate if, accepting as true all the facts alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff has not pleaded "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," or put another way, "nudged [his or her] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The Third Circuit interprets Twombly to require the plaintiff to describe "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" each necessary element of the claims alleged in the complaint. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). Moreover, the plaintiff must allege facts that "justify moving the case beyond the pleadings to the next stage of litigation." Id. at 234-35.

In relation to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), the complaint need only provide "'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,' in order to 'give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests,'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation omitted). "[T]he factual detail in a complaint [cannot be] so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232 (citation omitted). "Rule 8(a)(2) requires a 'showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." Id.

The issue is whether the facts alleged in the complaint, if true, support a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a 12(b)(6) motion, the court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and give the pleader the benefit of all reasonable inferences that can fairly be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). However, "we are not bound to accept as true a legal ...


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