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Schwarzmeier v. Allegheny County Jail

July 22, 2010

JANICE M. SCHWARZMEIER, PLAINTIFF(S),
v.
ALLEGHENY COUNTY JAIL, OFFICER MICHAEL MANUEL, SERGEANT PHILLIP CESTRA, DEFENDANT(S).



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Before the Court is defendants‟ Motion for Summary Judgment filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (doc. no. 37). Plaintiff, Janice M. Schwarzmeier, claimed defendants, Allegheny County, Allegheny County Jail, Officer Michael Manuel, and Sergeant Phillip Cestra, harassed and discriminated against her because of her race, gender, and age, and then retaliated against her when she opposed said treatment. Plaintiff sued defendants under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42 U.S.C. " 2000(e) et seq., the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (AADEA@), 29 U.S.C. ' 621 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (APHRA@), 43 Pa.C.S.A. ' 951 et seq. She also raised several state law tort claims. See Amended Complaint at doc. no. 7.

Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint alleged defendants subjected her to "a continuous and ongoing hostile work environment, subject to disparate treatment, harassment, humiliation and discrimination" based on her sex and/or gender. Doc. no. 7. Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint outlined several discrete events in her Complaint which she claims exemplify this discrimination, disparate treatment, and hostile work environment. Id. After defendants answered plaintiff=s Amended Complaint, the parties engaged in discovery.

Defendants now move this Court to enter judgment in its favor on the following bases:

(1) plaintiff‟s discrimination and harassment claims fall outside the applicable statute of limitations; (2) plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case for disparate treatment under Title VII; and (3) there is no issue of material fact for a fact finder to consider with respect plaintiff‟s harassment claim.

After plaintiff failed to respond to defendants‟ Motion for Summary Judgment in a timely fashion (i.e. by July 12, 2010), this Court issued a Rule to Show Cause why summary judgment should not be granted and ordered plaintiff to respond to the Rule, or the Motion for Summary Judgment, by noon on July 16, 2010. On July 15, 2010, in response to the Rule, counsel for plaintiff filed a one sentence response to the Motion for Summary Judgment as follows: "Based on the pleadings, depositions, answers, interrogatories, admissions, affidavits and declarations, there is a genuine issue of material fact and summary judgment must denied." See doc. no. 41.

This sort of response is essentially a non-response as it blatantly fails to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B) and 56(e)(2).

Accordingly, this Court will grant defendants‟ Motion for Summary Judgment for the reasons that follow.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, a 53-year old Caucasian woman, worked at the Allegheny County Jail since February 2, 1987 as a "floater". As a floater, plaintiff did not have an assignment with a steady shift. Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint alleged harassment and discrimination based on her gender, age, and race as follows:

Beginning on or about 2003 and continuing to the present, defendants engaged in unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII, the ADEA, and the PHRA. More specifically, Plaintiff alleged that on September 8, 2003, defendant Cestra sent a memo stating that only male officers could be "assigned to Commissary." Doc. No. 7, ¶15(a-e).

Plaintiff also alleged in her Amended Complaint that on September 29, 2005, she reported for work at the law library and was told by another officer named "Connie" that only male officers worked in the library. This matter escalated between the women and eventually, plaintiff‟s superior officer and her union representative became involved. Ultimately, plaintiff received a disciplinary letter which was placed in her personnel file concerning the incident. Id. at ¶15(f-j).

Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint also alleged that a male officer, defendant Mike Manuel, had been overpaid $2,500 in overtime. When defendant Manuel was disciplined therefore, he blamed plaintiff, and began to use disparaging and foul language when he spoke to her. Plaintiff‟s Amended Complaint also indicated that management knew defendant Manuel subjected plaintiff to this harassing treatment, ...


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