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Blasi v. Pen Argyl Area School District

United States District Court, Third Circuit

December 5, 2013

WILLIAM BLASI Plaintiff,
v.
PEN ARGYL AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, District Judge.

This is a Title VII and age discrimination suit brought by the plaintiff, a white male over 40 who is a member of a mixed race family. He alleges that the defendant's failure to hire him as a middle school sports coach entitles him to relief. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the foregoing reasons, I will grant the defendant's motion and dismiss the action.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff William Blasi is a 52-year-old white male who, according to his complaint, is married to an Asian ethnic Chinese woman. They have seven mixed race children, some of whom attend schools in Defendant Pen Argyl Area School District (PAASD).[1] He claims the defendant services an almost entirely white population.[2]

In April 2008, the plaintiff spoke on the phone with the defendant's Athletic Director Dwight Repsher about his interest in being hired as the middle school boys' basketball coach. However, he was never interviewed nor hired for the position. Mr. Blasi claims that he was discriminated against because of his marriage to an Asian woman and his age, on three separate occasions: 1) when the defendant hired Jovanni "Geo" Pagan for the middle school boys basketball position in the fall of 2008; 2) when the defendant hired five assistant baseball coaches in the spring of 2009; and 3) when the defendant hired Matt Young as the middle school boys basketball coach in fall of 2009.[3] According to the plaintiff, this alleged discrimination was a "conscious course of conduct to discriminate against families with children of mixed race white and Far East Asian Heritage."[4] Mr. Pagan was a white male under 30 who was married to a white woman.[5]

The assistant baseball coaches and Mr. Young were also white males under 30 who were not from mixed race families.

The plaintiff indicates that he was never advised that these positions were open, though he had expressed an interest in employment as a coach with the defendant.[6] The defendant's hiring practice for all non-head coaching positions was to advertise via word of mouth or by community communications. These positions were not advertised in print media, on television, or online. The plaintiff claims this practice is intended to ensure that members of mixed race families, specifically members of white/Far East Asian families, will not be employed in these positions.

The plaintiff asserts that he is more qualified than Mr. Pagan and Mr. Young because of his life experience, understanding of the development of middle school-aged males, basketball experience, education, and teaching experience.[7] He also claims he is more qualified than the assistant baseball coaches for the reasons stated above along with the fact he has prior baseball coaching experience.

Subsequent to the alleged discriminatory acts, the plaintiff filed charges with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC).[8] The plaintiff received his right to sue letters on February 21, 2012 and June 12, 2012 and commenced this suit shortly thereafter.[9]

The plaintiff alleges that the hiring of others in the above-mentioned positions, instead of the plaintiff, constitutes direct discrimination against him as a member of a mixed race family and/or are acts of retaliation for his complaining about discrimination against his children by the Wind Gap Athletic Association-the feeder program for the defendant's basketball program.[10] He seeks both damages and equitable relief under Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).[11]

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW[12]

A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted examines the legal sufficiency of the complaint.[13] Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, a federal court must construe the complaint liberally, accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id .; see also D.P. Enters. v. Bucks County Cmty. Coll. , 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir. 1984).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff to plead in detail all of the facts upon which he bases his claim. Conley , 355 U.S. at 47. Rather, the Rules require a "short and plain statement" of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Id . The "complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 564. Neither "bald assertions" nor "vague and conclusory allegations" are accepted as true. See Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997); Sterling v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transp. Auth. , 897 F.Supp. 893 (E.D. Pa. 1995). The claim must contain enough factual matters to suggest the required elements of the claim or to "raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" those elements. Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556).

In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), district courts must accept all well-pled facts as true but may disregard legal conclusions. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Courts can consider "the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim." Lum v. Bank of Am. , 361 F.3d 217, 222 (3d Cir. N.J. 2004) (citing In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig. , 114 ...


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