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Roy v. Soar Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 25, 2014

CAROLINE ROY, Plaintiff,
SOAR CORP., Defendant.


RONALD L. BUCKWALTER, Senior District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant SOAR Corp. ("SOAR" or "Defendant")'s Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion to Strike Defendant's Objections to Discovery. For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion is granted in part and denied in part, and Plaintiff's Motion is denied.


Plaintiff Caroline Roy ("Plaintiff") is an individual residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 1.) Defendant SOAR is a business entity with its principal place of business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 2.)

A. Defendant's Business

Defendant is an outpatient substance abuse treatment clinic offering various services, including counseling. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A, Deposition of Plaintiff ("Plaintiff Dep."), Jan. 9, 2014, 41:19-42:14.) From 2008 through 2012, Defendant responded to three Requests for Proposals ("RFPs") issued by the non-profit corporation Community Behavioral Health ("CBH"). (Pl.'s Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Exs. F, H, J, Def.'s CBH Proposals of 2008, 2010, and 2012.) On October 6, 2008, in a proposal responding to CBH's RFP to offer medication-assisted treatment in Southwest Philadelphia, Defendant emphasized that it "strive[d] to meet the needs of our primary target population (largely African-American) at all points of service" and stated that "it is the intention of SOAR... to hire and staff the [Medication Assisted Treatment Program] with representatives of the cultural mix that can be found in the SW area of Phila[delphia]." (Def.'s CBH Proposal of 2008.) In another CBH proposal dated August 3, 2010, Defendant certified that it "intend[ed] to work with M[inority]/W[omen]/D[isabled] Business Enterprises with the goal of reaching 25% of the dollars subcontracted to for-profit M/W/DSBE subcontractors within 12 months of contract award." (Def.'s CBH Proposal of 2010.) This proposal won Defendant a provisional contract with CBH. (Pl.'s Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Ex. I, CBH Award Letter.)

B. Plaintiff's Employment and Adoption Leave

Defendant hired Plaintiff on March 2, 2009 as a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. (Id. at 42:20-25; Compl. ¶ 6.) As a counselor, Plaintiff maintained a caseload of approximately thirty-five patients. (Plaintiff Dep. 42:20-25.) On November 28, 2010, following Plaintiff's completion of supervisor training as required by state regulations, Defendant named Plaintiff as a "clinical supervisor." (Id. at 57:19-58:17; Pl.'s Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Ex. A, Plaintiff Status Change.) As a clinical supervisor, Plaintiff was responsible for supervising at least four other counselors, assigning new patients to counselors, conducting staff meetings, interacting with clients, and managing patient grievances. (Plaintiff Dep. 59:18-60:23.) In naming Plaintiff a "clinical supervisor, " Plaintiff went from being paid an hourly wage to earning an annual salary of $50, 000. (Id. at 54:21-56:15; Plaintiff Status Change.) Between November 2010 and February 2011, Plaintiff carried a decreased caseload from her time as a counselor. (Plaintiff Dep. 60:7-9.) In February 2011, Plaintiff became the sole clinical supervisor at SOAR. (Id. at 63:5-13.) At that point, she stopped carrying a caseload altogether. (Id.)

In May 2011, Plaintiff notified Mark Besden, regional director for Defendant, that she would be taking two months' leave in July 2011 to finalize the adoption of a child. (Plaintiff Dep. 69:2-70:12.) Besden voiced no objection to Plaintiff taking her leave. (Id.) That same month, Besden asked Plaintiff if she was interested in an open executive director position and whether she thought she could "manage the responsibilities" of that position. (Plaintiff Dep. 92:15-93:22). Plaintiff responded that she was interested in the position and that she was capable of managing the responsibilities of being an executive director. (Id.) Defendant ultimately chose Robert Stringer ("Stringer"), a Caucasian man, to fill the open executive director position. Plaintiff is a Caucasian woman. (Compl. ¶ 1.)

Before Plaintiff took her adoption leave, she recommended two Caucasian, female colleagues - Ann Riordan and Ruth Zangerle - to take over her duties as interim clinical supervisor. (Plaintiff Dep. 80:15-81:9; Pl.'s Resp. Opp'n Mot. Summ. J., Ex. K, Organizational Chart.) Stringer opted instead to name Jonathan Marino ("Marino"), a Caucasian man, as interim clinical supervisor. (Id.) In July 2011, Plaintiff took her adoption leave. (Plaintiff Dep. 68:10-12.)

C. Defendant's CARF Audit

Sometime during Plaintiff's absence, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities ("CARF") conducted a three-day audit of Defendant as part of its licensing process. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. H, Deposition of Mark Besden, Jan. 31, 2014 ("Besden Dep.") 197:18-198:11.) As part of the audit, Defendant had to produce approximately 160 pages' worth of Plaintiff's weekly supervision notes on eight counselors for CARF. (Id. at 198:18-199:10; 201:3-11.) In Plaintiff's absence, neither Besden nor any of his subordinates could locate any of Plaintiff's supervision notes. (Id.) Over the course of the three-day audit, Besden e-mailed Plaintiff three-to-four times "begging her to tell me, please, where [were] the supervision notes." (Id. at 198:19-199:1.) Besden never received an e-mail response from Plaintiff. (Id.)

Under the belief that CARF would not continue to license Defendant if he could not locate Plaintiff's records, Besden opened Plaintiff's filing cabinet with a crowbar. (Id. at 196:8-23.) Besden did not find Plaintiff's supervision notes in her filing cabinet. (Id. at 199:9-10.) Eventually CARF agreed to grant Defendant a provisional license because Besden was able to produce supervision notes from 2009 and 2010, predating Plaintiff's tenure as a clinical supervisor. (Besden Dep. 197:6-198:7; Plaintiff Dep. 57:19-58:17.) Neither Besden, nor Plaintiff, nor any other employee of Defendant ever located the missing supervision notes. (Besden Dep. 199:9-200:22.)

D. Plaintiff's Return from Adoption Leave and Termination

Plaintiff returned from her adoption leave in October 2011. (Plaintiff Dep. 68:10-12.) At that time, Stringer decided that, going forward, Marino would continue performing the duties of a clinical supervisor going forward and would supervise ten counselors. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., Ex. I, Deposition of Robert Stringer, Feb. 6, 2014 ("Stringer Dep."), 303:1-14.) Plaintiff would supervise two counselors and once again carry a caseload of patients. (Id.; Plaintiff Dep. 103:18-104:4.) Plaintiff and Marino would share other supervisory duties. (Plaintiff Dep. 102:9-18.) Representatives of Defendant later testified that Plaintiff received disproportionately fewer counselors to supervise upon her return because Defendant needed Plaintiff to take on a limited caseload of patients, because state regulations put a limit on the number of counselors a clinical supervisor may supervise and still carry a caseload, and because Defendant could never locate Plaintiff's supervision notes. (Stringer Dep. 303:1-14; Besden Dep. ...

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