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Gloria J. Stezzi v. Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania

March 27, 2013

GLORIA J. STEZZI
v.
CITIZENS BANK OF PENNSYLVANIA



The opinion of the court was delivered by: O'neill, J.

MEMORANDUM

On August 30, 2010, plaintiff Gloria Stezzi, proceeding pro se,*fn1 filed a complaint against her former employer, defendant Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania, alleging that Citizens Bank retaliated against her for filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charge of discrimination. Dkt. Nos. 4 and 4-1.*fn2 On February 22, 2010, Citizens Bank filed a motion to dismiss this action with prejudice and with costs to Citizens Bank for Stezzi's "knowing and willful failure to comply with this Court's Orders and other rules of procedure. Dkt. No. 78 at ECF p. 1. Also outstanding in this case are Stezzi's multiple motions for summary judgment, Dkt. Nos. 59, 75 and 84, her motion to strike, Dkt. No. 60, and her motion for relief. Dkt. No. 83.

For the reasons that follow, the Court will: 1) dismiss Stezzi's complaint pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; 2) deny each of Stezzi's outstanding motions, including her motions for summary judgment, and 3) grant Citizens Bank's motion for costs.

BACKGROUND

After Stezzi successfully defended her claims against Citizens Bank's motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court scheduled a pretrial conference for November 8, 2012. Dkt. No. 31. Stezzi filed a motion for summary judgment one day prior to the scheduled pretrial conference. Dkt. No. 57. The Court entered an Order canceling the scheduled pretrial conference and directed the parties to "conduct discovery pertinent to the pending motion for summary judgment or to a summary judgment motion to be filed by defendant." Dkt. No. 58. On December 24, 2012, Stezzi filed an amended motion for summary judgment. Dkt. No. 59. On January 11, 2013, she filed a "Motion to Strike Defendant's Non-responsive Pleading to Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Summary Judgment" in which she asked the Court to "declare her motion for amended summary judgment as uncontested." Dkt. No. 60 at ECF p. 7.

On January 28, 2013, in an effort to proceed toward a disposition on the merits of Stezzi's Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court scheduled a conference in this matter for February 5, 2013 and explained that

[m]atters to be discussed at the conference [would] include, but [would not be] limited to: (1) plaintiff's compliance with defendant's notice scheduling her deposition for February 7, 2013;

(2) the method to be used for recording her deposition in accordance with the requirements of Rule 30(b)(3) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; (3) the deadline for the completion of discovery in this matter; (4) a briefing schedule for defendant's response to plaintiff's pending motion for summary judgment; and (5) a briefing schedule for any motion for summary judgment to be filed by defendant and plaintiff's response thereto.

Dkt. No. 66. Stezzi responded on January 30, 2013 with a motion to vacate the Court's Order in which she asked the Court to cancel the scheduled pretrial conference and to require Citizens Bank to respond to her motion for summary judgment. See Dkt. No. 67. In her motion, Stezzi argued, inter alia, that "Rule 56 (a) does not require discovery for a motion for summary judgment." Id. at ECF p. 3. On February 4, 2013, Stezzi filed a document titled "Brief for Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket Number 59 and 67)." Dkt. No. 68. In her brief, she cited the "new Rules of Civil Procedure" and argued that "[t]he smoking gun evidence is so strong that if this were a criminal case plaintiff could have moved for a directed verdict." Id. at ECF p. 1. Stezzi's brief appeared to contend that further discovery in the case was unnecessary because, as she argued, her "retaliation complaint can be summed up with the direct evidence consisting documents authored by the employer and contained in the EEOC investigator's file." Id.

On February 5, 2013, the day of the scheduled conference, Stezzi filed a motion seeking a stay pending the Court's appointment of an attorney to her. Dkt. No. 69. She also filed a "motion in opposition to defendant's naked discovery request after plaintiff filed motion for summary judgment with direct evidence." Dkt. No. 70. In that motion, Stezzi argued that Citizens Bank should not be allowed to take her deposition before filing a response to her motion to summary judgment because "Rule 56 (a) does not require discovery for a motion for summary judgment . . . ." Id. at ECF p. 5.

The Court declined to cancel the scheduled pretrial conference. At the conference, the Court instructed Stezzi that she was obligated to allow Citizens Bank to conduct discovery relevant to its defense of her motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, after the pretrial conference, the Court ordered Stezzi to appear at the United States Courthouse for her deposition on February 19, 2013. Dkt. No. 72. Citizens Bank prepared for Stezzi's deposition and hired a court reporter who appeared at the courthouse with counsel for the bank on the Court-ordered date. Stezzi also appeared at the courthouse on February 19, but rather than participate in her deposition as ordered, she filed a "New Motion for Summary Judgment Complemented by Plaintiff's Response to Defendants improper 'Request for Production,'" *fn3 Dkt. No. 75, and departed the premises. See Dkt. No. 78 at ECF p. 5 (explaining that at around 10:00 a.m. on February 19, Stezzi appeared in the designated courtroom, handed Citizens Bank's attorney a copy of her new motion for summary judgment and walked out of the courtroom with her husband. "Defendant's counsel [then] searched the hallway for Plaintiff but she was nowhere to be found. Defendant's counsel checked a few more times and waited until approximately 11:00 a.m. for Plaintiff to return. Plaintiff never returned for her deposition.").

Counsel for Citizens Bank informed the Court that Stezzi left the courthouse without submitting to her deposition. *fn4 As a result of Stezzi's conduct on February 19, the Court ordered her to appear for a show cause hearing on February 22, 2013 "to show cause why the case should not be dismissed for failure to obey the Court's Order to give her deposition." Dkt. No. 76. The Court warned Stezzi that her "failure . . . to appear at the show cause hearing may result in dismissal of this case." Id. On February 21, 2013, Stezzi filed a response to the Court's Show Cause Order in which she asked the Court to "[v]acate the Order to show Cause and have defendant file proper motions with the court and respond to plaintiff's new motion for summary judgment." Dkt. No. 77 at ECF p. 4. In her filing, Stezzi maintained that her requested deposition was "frivolous," Dkt. No. 77 at ¶ 19, and that she "had no alternative but to deliver the new motion for summary judgment to the court and defendant's counsel at the deposition because if plaintiff sat for the deposition she would be a party to a fraud upon the court." Id. at ¶ 21. Stezzi did not appear at the scheduled show cause hearing. In her response to the Court's Order to show cause, she stated that at the February 5, 2013 pretrial conference, she had explained to defense counsel "that she would be in Florida . . . for 10 days starting on Friday, 22nd of February 2013." Id. at ¶ 22. Stezzi did not give notice of her travel itinerary to the Court at the pretrial conference.

In response to Stezzi's request that the Court vacate its show cause order, on February 22, 2012, Citizens Bank filed its motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 41(b). Dkt. No. 78. The Court entered an Order requiring Stezzi to file a response to Citizens Bank's motion to dismiss and request for costs on or before March 18, 2013. Dkt. No. 79. Rather than respond to the motion to dismiss, on March 15, 2013, Stezzi sent a letter to the Court enclosing a Notice of Intent to File Motion to Strike Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Dkt. No. 82. That motion has yet to be filed. Instead, on March 18, 2013, Stezzi filed a "Motion for Relief from Orders Pursuant to FRCP 60(b)"*fn5 in which she asks the "Court to vacate Docket Orders #'s 74, 76, 78, and 79." Dkt. No. 83 at ECF p. 3. In her motion for relief, she contends -- for the first time -- that she elected not to participate in her deposition because Citizens Bank's attorney "on Tuesday morning February 19, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. was not licensed or admitted to practice law in PAED."*fn6 Id. at ECF p. 4.

On March 27, 2013, Stezzi filed yet another motion for summary judgment with the Court: her "Motion for Full Case Summary Judgment." Dkt. No. 84. In the motion, Stezzi argues that summary judgment should be granted in her favor because "Citizens Bank has no defenses to the direct evidence from the EEOC investigator's file that are now part of the official court record in this case." Id. at ECF p. 14. She asserts that "[t]his is one of those rare Title VII retaliation cases where the plaintiff files for summary judgment and the plaintiff also has direct evidence of retaliation." Id. at ECF p. 16. She contends that "[t]he evidence was discovered in the documents submitted by the defendant Citizens Bank in the EEOC ...


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