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Kevin Bradley v. Aria Health (Formerly the Frankford Hospital of the City of Philadelphia

June 14, 2011

KEVIN BRADLEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ARIA HEALTH (FORMERLY THE FRANKFORD HOSPITAL OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA), DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

This is a civil rights case in which plaintiff Kevin Bradley alleges that he was subjected to reverse gender discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (the "PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. St. § 951 et seq. Bradley asserts claims arising out of the termination of his employment with defendant Aria Health ("Aria").

Presently before the Court are defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and in the alternative, defendant's Motion for a More Definite Statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). For the reasons that follow, the Court grants defendant's Motion to Dismiss and dismisses plaintiff's First Amended Complaint without prejudice to plaintiff's right to file a second amended complaint within twenty days if he can allege facts supporting his claim of termination of his employment based on gender animus.

II. BACKGROUND*fn1

Bradley began his employment with Aria in December 2006, and was transferred to a management position on October 30, 2008. (First Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 17-18.) Between November 2008 and January 2009,*fn2 Bradley overheard co-workers discuss the possibility that Anita Triotti, his immediate predecessor, would return to Aria. (Id. ¶ ¶ 19-21.) Specifically, Bradley learned that Triotti, who had left Aria to work elsewhere, was "unhappy" at her new company. (Id. ¶ ¶ 20-22.) Bradley also heard that female co-workers at Aria were socializing with Triotti outside the office. (Id.)

During a meeting on February 3, 2009, Bradley's supervisor, Joanne Kelly, and director, Lillian Carson, fired Bradley, citing performance issues with his work. (Id. ¶ ¶ 25, 28.) Kelly and Carson also mentioned that Triotti did not like her new job and wanted to return to Aria. (Id. ¶ 24.) Carson later informed Bradley that because of budget cuts, Aria did not plan to hire another person to replace him. (Id. ¶ 30.) Eighteen business days later, however, Aria re-hired Triotti to fill Bradley's former position. (Id.)

Bradley alleges that he was subjected to reverse gender discrimination in violation of Title VII and the PHRA. (Id. ¶ 1.) Specifically, he claims that Aria terminated him in favor of a "less qualified female" candidate who was friendly with other employees. (Id. ¶ ¶ 22, 26.) He also alleges that Aria's stated reasons for his dismissal were pretextual. (Id. ¶ 29.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that, in response to a pleading, a defense of "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted" may be raised by motion. In analyzing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court "accept[s] all factual allegations as true, [and] construe[s] the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff . . . ." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted).

"To survive a motion to dismiss, a civil plaintiff must allege facts that 'raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . .'" Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). A complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. __, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). To satisfy the plausibility standard, a plaintiff's allegations must show that defendant's liability is more than "a sheer possibility." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'" Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).

In Twombly, the Supreme Court utilized a "two-pronged approach," which it later formalized in Iqbal. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950; Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Under this approach, a district court first identifies those factual allegations that constitute nothing more than "legal conclusions" or "naked assertions." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557. Such allegations are "not entitled to the assumption of truth" and must be disregarded. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1950. The court then assesses "the 'nub' of the plaintiff['s] complaint -- the well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s] . . . to determine" whether it states a plausible claim for relief. Id.

IV. ANALYSIS

A. Defendant's Motion to ...


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