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Reese L. Hodge, Plaintiff v. Trinity Industries

February 7, 2011

REESE L. HODGE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TRINITY INDUSTRIES, INC., MCCONWAY & TORLEY, LLC AND MCCONWAY & TORLEY COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Terrence F. McVerry United States District Judge

MEMORANUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pending before the court is DEFENDANTS' RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT (Doc. No. 17), with memorandum of law in support (Doc. No. 18), PLAINTIFF'S REPSONSE TO DEFENDANTS' RULE 12(b)(6) MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL (Doc. No. 19), and DEFENDANTS' REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS' BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF 12(b)(6) MOTION FOR PARTIAL DISMISSAL (Doc. No. 22). On January 27, 2011, oral argument was presented by the attorneys, who advocated their respective positions thoroughly and skillfully. The motion is now ripe for disposition.

Factual and Procedural Background

Plaintiff initiated this action with the filing of his complaint on September 15, 2010. See Doc. No. 1. Plaintiff alleges three counts of race discrimination against his former employer, Defendant McConway & Torley, LLC ("McConway").*fn1 Id. The factual and procedural background of the case follows. Plaintiff was previously employed as a ladleman with McConway, a Pittsburgh based fabricator of railcar parts, until the termination of his employment on November 28, 2008.

On November 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination against McConway with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). More particularly, Plaintiff charged the following particulars:

1. I began working for the respondent June, 2005, and last held the position of Ladleman in the Melt Department. On November 14, 2008, I was suspended pending investigation into an incident which occurred two (2) weeks prior. On or about November 28, 2008, I received a letter signed by Dana Dodds, Human Resources Manager, stating that I was discharged.

2. On November 14, 2008, Dana Dodds, Human Resources Manager, informed me that I was suspended until the investigation into the incident had been completed. Ms. Dodds told me that the reason for my suspension was because I prevented John Bapista, supervisor, from leaving a room by putting my foot against the door. As for my termination, the letter cited disorderly conduct and harassment as the basis for my termination.

3. I believe that the Respondent discriminated against me because of my race, black, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (Title VII) in that I was written up for losing heats, which white individuals have done and not been disciplined. Larry (LNU), Bruce (LNU), and Eric Rudd have lost heats and were not disciplined. In June, 2008, Sam (LNU) became angry after being told to walk the heat. Sam (w) threw a garbage can at the supervisor and began cursing the supervisor. No disciplinary action was taken against Sam. In August/September of 2008, Sam physically assaulted me by grabbing my face and pushing me into the wall, leaving scratches on my face. Again, no disciplinary [sic] was taken against Sam. He was not suspended pending any form of investigation. I was told that since there were no witnesses no action would be taken. There were no witnesses when I allegedly prevented John from leaving the room, which I deny.

See, Doc. No. 18, at exhibit "A". Further, in the block on the charge of discrimination form, Plaintiff indicated the earliest date in which discrimination occurred as "11-14-2008" and the latest date as "11-21-2008". Id.

In his instant complaint, Plaintiff references not only the events described within the EEOC charge of discrimination, but also allegations of other distinct occurrences of discriminatory conduct. In particular and beyond those events occurring in and around November 14 through 21, 2008, Plaintiff alleged the following discriminatory conduct in his civil action complaint:

14. During Plaintiff's employment with Defendants, a melt department supervisor consistently referred to Plaintiff and other black employees as "Niggers", and when he was told that the use of such racially derogatory language was offensive, the supervisor then began referring to Plaintiff and other black employees euphemistically as "Canadians", a term which all workers understood had the same racially derogatory meaning.

15. Plaintiff was asked by Defendants to sign a memorandum prepared by Defendants offering false testimony against a fellow black employee who was alleged to have committed a theft. Plaintiff refused to sign the memorandum, and Defendants were unable to prove the theft charge against Plaintiff's fellow black employee.

16. Plaintiff complained to Dana Dodds to Defendants' Human Resource Department about Defendants' discriminatory treatment of himself and other black employees, including but not necessarily limited to ...


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