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Dr. Flora Mosaka-Wright v. Laroche College

July 25, 2012

DR. FLORA MOSAKA-WRIGHT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
LAROCHE COLLEGE, DEFENDANT.



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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NOS. 32 and 40)

I.Introduction

Presently before the Court are Defendant, LaRoche College's ("LaRoche") Motions for Summary Judgment. Doc. Nos. 32 and 40. On September 8, 2011, pro se Plaintiff, Dr. Flora Mosaka-Wright ("Plaintiff"), filed a Complaint against La Roche, her former employer, alleging:

(1) retaliation and (2) race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"). Doc. No. 1-2. On January 17, 2012, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint alleging: (1) discrimination based upon national origin in violation of Title VII and (2) age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").*fn1

Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment contending that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because: (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies for her age discrimination claim; and (2) Plaintiff's discrimination claim based upon national origin fails as a matter of law. Doc. No. 33. The Court issued a Text Order on July 3, 2012, finding that because of her pro se status, Plaintiff's Amended Complaint supplemented her Original Complaint, rather than supplanting it. Accordingly, because Defendant only moved for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's claims in the Amended Complaint, the Court invited either party to file a Motion for Summary Judgment on the claims from Plaintiff's Original Complaint. 7/3/2012 Text Order. Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the claims in Plaintiff's Original Complaint on July 10, 2012. Doc. No. 40. Defendant did not file an accompanying brief, but rather, indicated that it relied on its prior brief in support which addressed Plaintiff's claims in the Original Complaint (Doc. No. 33). After careful consideration of Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment (Doc. Nos. 32 and 40), brief in support thereof (Doc. No. 33), and Plaintiff's responses in opposition (Doc. Nos. 37 and 43), Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment (Doc. Nos. 32 and 40) will be GRANTED.

II.Statement of Facts

Plaintiff was hired by LaRoche as the Associate Dean of International Programs in September 2000. Doc. No. 35-2, 39. Plaintiff's position with the University was terminated in November 2002. Id. at 62-63, 74. When her position as Associate Dean was eliminated, Plaintiff was offered a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Academic Affairs. Doc. No. 35-1, 67. Plaintiff refused this position because it would have required her to teach as a visiting professor and to continue to perform her duties as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for a smaller salary than she had been earning. Doc. No. 35-2, 71-72.

After speaking to her supervisor, Plaintiff accepted the visiting professor position without any Assistant Dean responsibilities. Id. at 72. Plaintiff signed a Faculty Appointment Agreement ("FAA") to serve as a visiting assistant professor from January 1, 2003 through May 15, 2004. Id. As a visiting professor, Plaintiff was classified as a "temporary" employee. Doc. No. 35-1, 11. In the fall semester of 2003, Plaintiff's supervisors approved her transition to developing course work instead of teaching an additional course. Id. at 83-84. During the same time period, Plaintiff received negative reviews from her students. Id. at 17.

On or about May 4, 2004, Plaintiff received a second FAA for the period of August 15, 2004 through May 15, 2005, for a greatly reduced salary. Doc. No. 35-2, 104-05. Plaintiff hired an attorney who sent a letter to Plaintiff's supervisor (dated June 2, 2004) claiming that the contract was late and should have been for an 18-month period. Id. at 93, Exhibit 7. LaRoche's General Counsel responded to the letter. Id. at 94-98, Exhibit 8. Beginning in June 2004, Plaintiff began complaining to her supervisor, Dr. Ishiyama, about difficulties she was having with Dr. Ferguson. Id. at 111-114, 126, 129-30, 137, 143, 147, 151, 157-58, 166-67, 220-21. Dr. Ishiyama expressed that Plaintiff's contract would end in May of 2005. Id. at 191. Plaintiff's position ended with the end of her FAA period. Doc. No. 32-1, 25. She filed a Complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") on May 9, 2005, alleging discrimination based upon national origin, color, religious creed, and sex and retaliation. Doc. No. 32-2, 275, 277-78, Dep. Exhibit 21. On March 30, 2006, Plaintiff, through counsel, filed an Amended Complaint alleging race discrimination and retaliation. Id. at 278-80, Exhibit 22.

III.Standard of Review

Summary judgment may be granted if, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, "the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).

A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or non-existence might affect the outcome of the suit under applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, (1986); Charlton v. Paramus Bd. of Educ., 25 F.3d 194, 197 (3d Cir. 1994). Disputes must be both: (1) material, meaning concerning facts that will affect the outcome of the issue under substantive law, and (2) genuine, meaning the evidence must be such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

A party moving for summary judgment has the initial burden of supporting its assertion that fact(s) cannot be genuinely disputed by citing to ...


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