The opinion of the court was delivered by: United States Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.
A. Relevant Procedural History
Plaintiff, an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion, Pennsylvania, originally filed this case in the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County, Pennsylvania, as a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Defendant William Grove, CEO of the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA ("Grove").
In his original complaint, Plaintiff claimed that Grove violated his Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection rights when he reported Plaintiff's criminal activity to the Erie City Police and then terminated Plaintiff's employment. Grove had this case removed to this Court pursuant to a Notice of Removal filed on September 30, 2009. Shortly thereafter, Grove filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, citing multiple grounds. [Document # 3]. In response, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint abandoning his original claims against Grove and raising new claims of employment discrimination under section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) ("Title VII"); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 623 ("ADEA"); and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa.C.S. § 955 ("PHRA").
On November 17, 2009, Grove filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint, arguing that: (i) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to his claims under Title VII, the ADEA, and the PHRA; (ii) Grove cannot be held individually liable under Title VII or the ADEA, in any event; and (iii) Plaintiff has failed to state a prima facie case of discrimination under Section 1981. [Document # 7]. Plaintiff has since filed a brief in opposition to Grove's motion. [Document # 9]. The parties have each consented to having a United States Magistrate Judge exercise jurisdiction over this matter. [Document ## 11, 12]. This matter is now ripe for consideration.
B. Relevant Factual History
Plaintiff, a self-described "elderly black man," was employed by the Mental Health Association of Northwestern PA ("MHA") on October 20, 2008, when he worked his regularly scheduled hours and went home. (Amended Complaint at ¶¶ 3, 4, 16). According to Plaintiff, he returned to MHA at approximately 2:50 a.m. on October 21, 2008, to retrieve his wallet that was left there. (Id. at ¶¶ 5-6). Plaintiff alleges that he entered the MHA facility with his access code and found his wallet after searching several areas. (Id. at ¶ 7-8).
When Plaintiff returned to work on October 22, 2008, Grove informed him that money was found missing from an office after a security video showed Plaintiff entering the facility at "an unusual hour," and that he was being suspended indefinitely pending an investigation by the Erie Police. (Id. at ¶ 9). Plaintiff was subsequently terminated from his job on November 12, 2008, "without an explanation of the reason." (Id. at ¶ 10).
On February 26, 2009, Plaintiff was arrested by the Erie Police and charged with Burglary, Criminal Trespass, and Theft by Unlawful Taking, related to the money that was taken from MHA on or about October 21, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 11). After a jury trial, Plaintiff was ultimately found guilty of the first two charges, and was acquitted of the third. (Id. at ¶ 12).
Plaintiff claims that his termination from employment was based on race and age discrimination. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that other employees of MHA had entered the facility "multiple times" after hours and did not have their employment terminated. Plaintiff claims that these employees were younger and white. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that he was replaced by a "younger, white, person." (Id. at 15-17). As relief for his claims, Plaintiff seeks back pay and compensatory and punitive damages.
A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)(rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also ...