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Kishel v. Valley View School District

November 3, 2010

MARIA KISHEL PLAINTIFF,
v.
VALLEY VIEW SCHOOL DISTRICT AND JOSEPH M. DALEY DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MAGISTRATE JUDGE MANNION

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are Magistrate Judge Mannion's Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of August 27, 2010 (Doc. 28) and Plaintiff Maria Kishel's Objections to the Magistrate Judge's R&R (Doc. 29). Magistrate Judge Mannion recommended that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 17) be granted. This Court will adopt Magistrate Judge Mannion's recommendation and grant Summary Judgment in favor of Defendants on all counts for the reasons discussed more fully below.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Maria Kishel filed her Complaint on August 23, 2008. (Doc. 1.) In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that she works for the Valley View School District as an Assistant Principal for the Intermediate School. (Doc. 1, ¶10.) She further alleged that she worked for the Valley View School District for over seventeen years. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff claimed that on or about November 3, 2006, she applied for a Principal position at the High School. (Id. at ¶ 13.) Although qualified for the position, Plaintiff claimed that she was passed over for a male, James Timmons, who was selected for the position. (Id. at ¶ 17.) On or around December 11, 2006, at a School Board meeting in which James Timmons was selected for the High School Principal position, the Board also moved to hire Brian Durkin as the Assistant Principal of the High School. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 18-19.) Plaintiff alleged that there was no posting for the Assistant Principal position and that she was more qualified than Mr. Durkin. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 20-21.) At the Board meeting, Plaintiff claimed she spoke out about the hiring process and how the Assistant Principal position had not been advertised. (Id. at ¶ 24.) The next day, Plaintiff alleged that she was summoned into Defendant Daley's office and retaliated against for speaking out at the Board meeting. Specifically, Defendant Daley said to the Plaintiff "that he could have made a bigger fool of [her] last night, and that [she] was no longer being considered for positions due to [her] comments at the Board meeting." (Id. at ¶26.)

In Count I of her Complaint, Plaintiff alleged gender discrimination in violation of Title VII, the PHRA, and § 1983. (Id at ¶ ¶ 27-32.) Plaintiff claimed Defendants have a history of not hiring women for the Principal position at the High School, and further that she was discriminated against because of her gender when the Defendants failed to follow proper procedures and hired a male with no Principal experience for the Assistant Principal position. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 28-30.)

In Count II of her Complaint, Plaintiff alleged First Amendment retaliation in violation of § 1983. (Id. at ¶ 33-37.) Specifically, Plaintiff claimed she was speaking as a citizen at the School Board meeting and that the improper hiring practices were a matter of public concern. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 34-35.) Plaintiff alleged that the day after the Board meeting, she was summoned into Defendant Daley's office and told that by Defendant Daley that "he could have made a bigger fool of [her] last night, and that [she] was no longer being considered for positions due to [her] comments at the Board meeting." (Id. at ¶ ¶ 36-37.)

Finally, in Count III of her Complaint, Plaintiff claims individual liability against Defendant Daley pursuant to the PHRA. (Id. at ¶ ¶ 38-40.) Plaintiff alleged Defendant Daley, as supervisor, was aiding and abetting Valley View School District in its discrimination of the Plaintiff based on her gender when it failed to hire Plaintiff for the High School Principal position or consider her for the Assistant Principal position. (Id. at ¶ 39.)

Based on the above Claims, Plaintiff sought installment in either the Assistant Principal or Principal position at the Valley View High School, as well as various forms of monetary damages.

Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on September 15, 2009. (Doc. 17.) Magistrate Judge Mannion's R & R recommending the Motion for Summary Judgment be granted was filed on August 17, 2010 (Doc. 28), and Plaintiff's Objection to the R & R was filed on August 27, 2010 (Doc. 29).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

I. Objections to the Report and Recommendation

Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the ...


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