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Wang v. Lee

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 22, 2014

TIANYI WANG, Plaintiff,
v.
ARAM LEE, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Currently before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 42) filed by Defendant Aram Lee ("Defendant") in response to a Complaint filed by Plaintiff Tianyi Wang ("Plaintiff) in which he alleges the following: Invasion of Privacy (Count I); Wrongful Use of Civil Proceedings (Count II); Fraud (Count III); Defamation (Count IV); Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations (Count V); Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (Count VI); and Negligence (Count VII). Doc. No. 1.[1] Jurisdiction is based upon diversity of citizenship. Defendant moves this Court to enter judgment in her favor on all seven counts and contends the allegations lack factual and legal support. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 42) will be DENIED.

II. Procedural and Factual Background

In ruling on a Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court must consider all factual allegations in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Kaucher v. County of Bucks, 455 F.3d 418 (3d Cir. 2006). The facts of this case, solely for the purposes of this Memorandum Order, are as follows:

Plaintiff was employed as a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health ("GSPH") from September 1, 2005, to June 30, 2013. Doc. Nos. 43 and 56, ¶ 3. Defendant was a graduate student at GSPH starting in August 2011. Id. at ¶ 4. Defendant was a research assistant in Plaintiff's laboratory in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology. Id. at ¶ 5. Plaintiff was also Defendant's professor during some of her time at the University. Id. at ¶ 8.

In May 2012, the Parties began dating and having a sexual relationship. Id. at ¶ 7. The relationship included sending photos of their genitalia to each other. Id. at ¶ 11. Plaintiff was married during this relationship and other relevant times. Id. at ¶ 10.

The University of Pittsburgh had a policy forbidding sexual relationships between professors and their students. Id. at ¶ 9. Plaintiff was aware of the policy. Id . In mid-August 2012, Dr. Rinaldo, a University official, addressed reports about the affair with Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 33. Plaintiff denied the affair. Id. at ¶ 35. Defendant also denied the affair when confronted by University officials. Id. at ¶ 37.

In September 2012, Plaintiff told his pastor's wife that he was having an affair. Id. at ¶ 40. That same month, Plaintiff received a letter from Church officials encouraging Plaintiff to cease his affair. Id. at ¶ 42. In October or November 2012, Plaintiff told two member of the Church that he was having an affair. Id. at ¶ 43. Around this time, Plaintiff's wife became aware that Plaintiff was having an affair. Id. at ¶ 45. Plaintiff admitted to an affair. Id. at ¶ 46. Plaintiff's parents and siblings were informed Plaintiff was having an affair by Plaintiff's wife. Id. at ¶ 47.

At some point in late 2012, Defendant learned she was pregnant with Plaintiff's child or children. Id. at ¶ 12. Defendant moved to the State of Washington. Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff sent Defendant cash, groceries, perfume, shoes, and other items for a time. Id. at ¶¶ 56-57.

On February 28, 2013 and March 2, 2013, Defendant sent emails to the Department Chair and Associate Dean for Education at GSPH and the University of Pittsburgh Police. Id. at ¶ 17. The email set forth that the Parties had previously had a sexual relationship, Plaintiff had been emailing Defendant, and Defendant feared for her safety. Doc. No. 45, 24. On February 28, 2013, Defendant sent a similar email to Plaintiff's wife and his church friends. Doc. Nos. 43 and 56, ¶ 18. On May 18, 2013, another email outlining the relationship (including that Plaintiff was disgusted by his wife and was sending money and other gifts to Defendant but would never see the twins) was sent to Plaintiff's wife and 37 associates and personal acquaintances of Plaintiff. Id. at ¶ 19. A photograph of Plaintiff's penis was attached. Id.

Prior to May 2013, Plaintiff applied for a faculty position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Id. at ¶ 96. Plaintiff contacted Dr. Luo, a professor at the University of Alabama, to inquire about a faculty opening. Id. at ¶ 97. Plaintiff told Dr. Luo he was leaving the University of Pittsburgh, in part, because he had an affair with Defendant. Id. at ¶ 98. Plaintiff told Dr. Luo to contact Lt. David Kirchner of the University of Pittsburgh Police as a reference. Id. at ¶ 100. Lt. Kirchner had been involved with Plaintiff and Defendant after Defendant contacted police in March 2013 about the affair. Id. at ¶ 101. Lt. Kirchner agreed to speak with the University of Alabama. Id. at ¶ 102. It is unknown if Lt. Kirchner was contacted. Id. at ¶ 103. When contacted by Plaintiff, Dr. Luo indicated that officials from the University of Alabama had spoken with the University of Pittsburgh. Id. at ¶ 104. The conversation raised concerns and prevent them from offering Plaintiff a faculty position. Id . The concerns related to Plaintiff's alleged harassment of Defendant and Defendant's safety concerns. Id.

Plaintiff resigned from his associate professor position at the University of Pittsburgh on June 30, 2013. Id. at ¶ 84.

In June 2013, Plaintiff applied for a faculty position at the University of Maryland. Id. at ¶ 86. He was invited to conduct a seminar on July 29, 2013, as part of a ...


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