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Edwards v. Borough of Dickson City

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 16, 2014

DAVID EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
BOROUGH OF DICKSON CITY, et al., Defendants

For David Edwards, Plaintiff: Cynthia L. Pollick, LEAD ATTORNEY, The Employment Law Firm, Pittston, PA.

For Borough of Dickson City, William Bilinski, Individual capacity, Defendants: Brett A. Zahorchak, Tracy A. Walsh, Weber Gallagher Simpson Stapleton Fires & Newby, LLP, Philadelphia, PA.

OPINION

Page 617

MEMORANDUM

A. Richard Caputo, United States District Judge.

Presently before the Court is the Partial Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) filed by Defendants William Bilinski and the Borough of Dickson City

Page 618

(collectively, " Defendants" ). Because the Amended Complaint sufficiently sets forth a claim for violation of Plaintiff's equal protection rights under § 1983, Defendants' motion will be denied.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are alleged in the Amended Complaint (" Am. Compl.," Doc. 10):

Plaintiff David Edwards has been employed by Defendant Borough of Dickson City since 1995. (Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff is currently forty-three (43) years of age, and at the time of the alleged events he was over the age of forty (40). Id. at ¶ 10. Defendant Bilinski, who was the Police Chief at all relevant times, had the power and authority to schedule all police officers, and any such scheduling decisions were official policy. Id. at ¶ 3. On or about April 6, 2012, Plaintiff approached Defendant Bilinski about the fact that he had not been receiving the kind of shifts that he had received in the past according to his seniority. Id. at ¶ 11. In response, Defendant Bilinski told Plaintiff that he was " 'not as productive as the younger guys.'" Id. at ¶ 12. Younger non-protected part-time police officers have received shifts that Plaintiff should have been allowed to select. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies in good faith and filed his Complaint within 90 days of the issuance of the EEOC's right-to-sue letter. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Borough of Dickson City acquiesced in all discriminatory actions taken by Defendant Bilinski. Id. ¶ 21. Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff commenced this action on August 8, 2013. The Amended Complaint asserts claims for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA" ), 29 U.S.C. § § 621, et seq. ; 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for constitutional violations of equal protection of the law, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (" PHRA" ), 43 P.S. § § 951, et seq. On September 12, 2013, Defendants moved to partially dismiss the Amended Complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted (Doc. 13). The partial motion to dismiss is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court's role is limited to determining whether a plaintiff is entitled to offer evidence in support of his or her claims. See Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165, 173 (3d Cir. 2000). The Court does not consider whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail. See id. A defendant bears the burden of establishing that a plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim. See Gould Elecs. v. United States, 220 F.3d 169, 178 (3d Cir. 2000).

" A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The statement required by Rule 8(a)(2) must give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Detailed factual allegations are not required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955. However, mere conclusory statements will not do; " a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief."

Page 619

Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). Instead, a complaint must " show" this entitlement by alleging sufficient facts. Id. " While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1950, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). As such, " [t]he touchstone of the pleading standard ...


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