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Olaniyan Adefumi v. the City of Philadelphia

March 29, 2011

OLANIYAN ADEFUMI, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is a Defendant City of Philadelphia's Motion to Dismiss pro se Plaintiff Olaniyan Adefumi's complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In February and March of 2009, Mr. Adefumi filed a Complaint and Amended Complaint with this Court bringing claims against the City of Philadelphia for racial and gender discrimination and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.*fn1 Mr. Adefumi alleges that while he was employed by the Free Library of the City of Philadelphia in 1997, he was subject to harassment by a female worker. The co-worker allegedly "loudly made negative remarks against men, especially black men and used the 'n' word."*fn2 This female co-worker also discouraged Mr. Adefumi's fundraising bicycle trips that took him through the South, because she though racially intolerant groups might attack him.*fn3 Mr. Adefumi complained to Library management about the co-worker's conduct and was told to put his complaint in writing.*fn4 Thereafter, management required Mr. Adefumi to undergo a mental health evaluation, which found he was "healthy."*fn5

Still, Mr. Adefumi alleges that management wanted to terminate his employment.*fn6

In September of that year, Mr. Adefumi was traveling by bicycle from Montreal, Canada to Mexico when he was struck by a vehicle in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.*fn7 Mr. Adefumi was severely injured, and a doctor reported that Mr. Adefumi "mostly likely will be permanently disabled."*fn8 Mr. Adefumi attempted to return to work on December 11, 1997.*fn9 He alleges that though he was fully recovered, he was terminated after ten years' of employment because the City believed he was permanently disabled, and due to "sexism and racism."*fn10 Mr. Adefumi was apparently involuntarily retired and given a disability pension.*fn11 Without sufficient income, Mr. Adefumi lost two homes he owned and was homeless for a period of time.*fn12

According to the Complaint, at some point after the accident, Mr. Adefumi was examined by a Dr. Hayes, presumably at the behest of the City of Philadelphia.*fn13 After what Mr. Adefumi alleges was an inadequate evaluation involving only a few questions, Dr. Hayes concluded that Mr. Adefumi was permanently disabled.*fn14

In 2001, Mr. Adefumi filed his first suit against the City of Philadelphia in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In 2003, that litigation, before the Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno, discussed at greater length infra, was dismissed with prejudice on the City's motion for summary judgment.*fn15

In 2007, Mr. Adefumi filed a second action in this Court, which upon agreement of the Parties, was sent to mediation.*fn16 In that Complaint, Mr. Adefumi, also proceeding pro se, challenged Dr. Hayes's medical evaluation as false, biased, and unscientific and sought a reevaluation.*fn17 During the mediation process, the Parties agreed that Mr. Adefumi would again undergo an evaluation by Dr. Hayes to determine his condition.*fn18 In October 2008, the matter was dismissed for statistical purposes and all outstanding motions were dismissed as moot.*fn19

Then, in early 2009, Mr. Adefumi filed the pending complaint alleging race and gender discrimination and violations of the ADA, and seeking relief in the form of replacement of the two homes he lost after he was terminated as well as back pay. In addition to the allegations about the events occurring in 1997 and 1998 cited above, Mr. Adefumi asserts that when he was reevaluated by Dr. Hayes pursuant to the Parties' agreement during the prior mediation in the 2007 litigation, Dr. Hayes reported to him that "the reason[] why [Dr. Hayes] stated that [Mr. Adefumi] will be permanently disabled was because he wanted [Mr. Adefumi] to collect from the Social Security's Disability fund."*fn20 As in the 2007 matter brought by Mr. Adefumi, the Parties agreed to mediation. Because that process has not produced results satisfactory to either Party, the Court proceeds to consider the City's Motion to Dismiss.

II.DISCUSSION

The City has moved to dismiss this matter on grounds that Mr. Adefumi's claims are precluded by Judge Robreno's 2003 decision dismissing Mr. Adefumi's case, and that his Complaint is time-barred. Despite this Court's considerable sympathy for Mr. Adefumi's unfortunate circumstances and its efforts to encourage a satisfactory mediated resolution here, it finds that, even after construing his complaint liberally and accepting Plaintiff's alleged facts as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to him,*fn21 the issues now raised by Mr. Adefumi's complaint are barred by the prior litigation. Mr. Adefumi brings claims for race, gender and disability discrimination based on precisely the same set of events giving rise to the same claims as those found in his 2001 complaint that was dismissed by Judge Robreno. Thus, he is precluded from relitigating them here. Moreover, the Court can find no legal basis for reopening this matter based on Mr. Adefumi's allegations as to Dr. Hayes's statement regarding his motivation for making the earlier diagnosis.

A. Claim Preclusion

"[C]laim preclusion bars a party from initiating a second suit against the same adversary based on the same 'cause of action' as the first suit."*fn22 A claim is precluded where there has been a final judgment on the merits in a prior suit involving the same parties and the subsequent suit is based on the same cause of action.*fn23 Claims are based on the same cause of action if the underlying events giving rise to the various legal claims are essentially the ...


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