Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kahan v. Slippery Rock Univ. of Pennsyvania

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

September 24, 2014

PAUL KAHAN, Plaintiff,
v.
SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYVANIA, EVA TSUQUIASHI-DADDESIO, JOHN CRAIG, CHARLENE WINSLOW, THOMAS [E.] WINSLOW, SR., THOMAS [M.] WINSLOW, JR., Defendants

Page 668

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 669

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 670

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 671

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 672

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 673

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 674

For PAUL KAHAN, Plaintiff: James B. Lieber, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jacob M. Simon, Lieber Hammer Huber & Bennington, P.C., Pittsburgh, PA.

For SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, EVA TSUQUIASHI-DADDESSIO, JOHN CRAIG, CHARLENE WINSLOW, Defendants: Thomas L. Donahoe, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of Attorney General, Pittsburgh, Pa; Joseph L. Luvara, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, Pittsburgh, PA.

For THOMAS WINSLOW, SR., THOMAS WINSLOW, JR., Defendants: James R. Miller, LEAD ATTORNEY, Joseph L. Luvara, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote, Pittsburgh, PA; Linda V. Hernandez, Dickie McCamey, Pittsburgh, PA.

Page 675

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Joy Flowers Conti, Chief United States District Judge.

This is a civil rights, employment, and common law tort case in which Paul Kahan ( " Kahan" ) accuses his former employer, Slippery Rock University (" SRU" ), several of its individual employees, and the husband and son of one of its employees, of wrongfully either failing to renew his teaching contract, or causing that contract not to be renewed. Under federal law, Kahan asserts gender-based discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e - 2000e-17 (" Title VII" ), and 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (" Title IX" ), and constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his equal protection, free speech, and due process rights. Kahan additionally asserts companion employment discrimination claims under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Stat. § 951 - 963 (the " PHRA" ), and Pennsylvania common law claims of promissory estoppel, intentional interference with contract, and malicious prosecution, as well as a statutory defamation claim pursuant to 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 8341. Kahan seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory and punitive damages, back and front pay, attorneys' fees, and all other available damages.

SRU, and its co-defendant employees, filed a motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 77.) The co-defendant employees are: (1) Eva Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, Interim Dean of SRU's College of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts (" Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio" ); (2) John Craig, Chairman of SRU's History Department (" Craig" ); and (3) Charlene Winslow, SRU's History Department's secretary (" Mrs. Winslow" ), (collectively, with SRU, the " SRU Defendants" and collectively, but without SRU, the " Individual SRU Defendants" ). The SRU Defendants filed a brief in support of their motion, (ECF No. 78), a concise statement of material facts, (ECF No. 79), an appendix, (ECF No. 80), and a response to Kahan's counterstatement of material facts, (ECF No. 116). Separate motions for summary judgment, and supporting briefs, statements of fact, appendices, and responses to Kahan's counterstatement of material facts, were filed by Thomas E. Winslow, (ECF Nos. 81-84, and 118), and Thomas M. Winslow, (ECF No. 85-88, and 119). Thomas E. Winslow is Mrs. Winslow's husband and will be referred to throughout this opinion as " Mr. Winslow." Thomas M. Winslow is Mr. and Mrs. Winslow's son, and was a student at SRU during the

Page 676

pertinent time period. He will be referred to throughout this opinion as " Tommy Winslow."

In response to each of the three motions for summary judgment, Kahan filed an opposition brief, appendices, and a statement of material facts that both responded to each movant's concise statement of material facts and included a separate counterstatement of material facts. (ECF Nos. 99-101, 103-05, 107-09.) After the close of briefing, the parties submitted joint concise statements of material facts for each of the three respective summary judgment motions. (ECF Nos. 120-22.)

For the reasons that follow in this memorandum opinion, judgment will be entered against Kahan on each of his federal claims. Because no claim that arises under federal law survives summary judgment, this court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the Pennsylvania common law and statutory claims. Those claims will be dismissed, without prejudice to Kahan's right to raise them in state court.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

All material facts set forth herein are undisputed unless otherwise indicated. Additional material facts may be discussed elsewhere in this memorandum opinion, in context. Because three separate motions for summary judgment are pending, there are three separate combined concise statements of material fact. The combined concise statement of material facts related to the SRU Defendants' motion for summary judgment, which is docketed at ECF No. 122, will be referred to in the format " ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ x." The combined concise statement of material facts related to Mr. Winslow's motion for summary judgment, which is docketed at ECF No. 120, will be referred to in the format " ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ x." The combined concise statement of material facts related to Tommy Winslow's motion for summary judgment, which is docketed at ECF No. 121, will be referred to in the format " ECF No. 121, Tommy Winslow CCSMF ¶ x."

A. Kahan's Employment with SRU

1. Non-Renewal of Kahan's One-Year Contract

Kahan was selected for the position of Assistant Professor in SRU's Department of History in February 2009. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 1.) The chairman of the history department, Craig, did not concur with the majority vote of the department, and preferred to hire a different candidate, Daniel Barr, who is also a male. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 30, 70; ECF No. 80-5 at 2 (Craig memo).) Kahan was hired to replace a male professor. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 1, 69.) Kahan's notice of appointment indicated that he would begin teaching in August 2009, and was a probationary, tenure-track professor whose one-year contract was subject to renewal based upon various conditions, including adherence to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties and the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (the " CBA" ). (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 1-2, 31; ECF No. 80-1 at 43-58 (CBA); ECF No. 80-1 at 40-41 (offer letter and appointment notice).)

Decisions with respect to renewal of probationary teaching contracts, such as Kahan's contract, were based upon evaluations and recommendations made by the history department's evaluation committee, the history department's chairman, the dean of the college of humanities, and the provost and president of SRU. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 3, 21, 33.) Kahan was entitled to written notice of SRU's

Page 677

decision with respect to renewal of his one-year contract no later than April 1, 2010. (ECF No. 80-1 at 56-57 (CBA, Art. 14, § A(4)(a)(1)).) Article 12 of the CBA sets forth the standards to be applied when evaluating probationary professors. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 3, 32; ECF No. 80-1 at 56 (CBA, Art. 14, § A(3)).) The first evaluation criterion is " effective teaching and fulfillment of professional responsibilities," the latter of which includes submitting grades and reports in a timely fashion, and attending faculty meetings. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 4; ECF No. 80-1 at 48 (CBA, Art. 12, § B(1)).) The other two evaluation criteria are " continued scholarly growth" and " service contributions to SRU or the community." (ECF No. 80-1 at 48-49 (CBA, Art. 14 § B(2) and (3)).)

On February 1, 2010, Craig, as chair of the history department, completed a performance review report, in which he favorably commented on Kahan's performance in all three areas of evaluation. (ECF No. 80-3 at 18-20 (Craig report); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 22.) Craig's report ultimately concluded that Kahan's contract should be renewed. (Id.) On February 8, 2010, the history department evaluation committee completed its performance review report, in which it evaluated Kahan in the areas of service, scholarship, and teaching. (ECF No. 80-3 at 14-16 (committee report); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 22.) The committee's report was also favorable to Kahan, while noting the recommendation was " tentative" and " preliminary" because Kahan had been teaching at SRU for less than six months at the time of its submission. (ECF No. 80-3 at 15 (committee report); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 22.) Based upon these two reports, and supporting materials submitted by Kahan, Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio recommended renewal of Kahan's one-year probationary teaching contract in a letter to Kahan dated March 2, 2010. (ECF No. 80-3 at 22 (Dean's letter).) On that same date, Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio notified Dr. William Williams, provost and vice president for academic affairs (" Provost Williams" ), of her favorable recommendation. (ECF No. 80-3 at 23 (Dean memo).)

Three days later, on March 5, 2010, SRU's academic records office sent a memorandum to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio notifying her that Kahan was the only faculty member within her college who failed to submit spring 2010 semester mid-term grades by the March 4, 2010 deadline. (ECF No. 80-3 at 37 (memo); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 12.) Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio had not received a similar memorandum from the academic records office concerning Kahan's submission of mid-term grades for the fall 2009 semester, but came to learn in March 2010 that Kahan only met that deadline because an academic records office staff member, who called Kahan to inform him that his grades were late, agreed to input Kahan's grades into the computer system on his behalf if he faxed them to the academic records office. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 7, 141; ECF No. 101-4 at 46-47 (Craig draft memo); ECF No. 101-13 (Kahan decl.) ¶ 28.) March 5, 2010 was the last day that SRU was in session before spring break. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 13.) Craig and Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio spoke about Kahan's tardy submission of mid-term grades, and other performance problems, on Monday, March 15, 2010, the day that classes resumed at SRU following spring break. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 13-15, 125.) Craig orally informed Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio on March 15, 2010, that he no longer supported renewal of Kahan's one-year contract. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 125.)

Page 678

Following this conversation, Craig sent a draft memorandum to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, on March 18, 2010, in which he summarized Kahan's late submission of grades, as well as other deadlines and meetings that Kahan missed during his first year teaching at SRU. (ECF No. 101-4 at 46-47 (Craig draft memo); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 127.) Craig's draft memorandum, which was revised and sent to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio in final form on March 19, 2010, indicated that Craig no longer recommended renewal of Kahan's contract based upon Kahan's " pattern of neglect" in " repeatedly ignoring deadlines during his initial year of employment." (ECF No. 80-3 at 28-29 (Craig final memo); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 26.) The March 18, 2010 draft memorandum differs from the March 19, 2010 final memorandum in various respects, including that Craig removed a statement that Kahan's behavior " seems to reveal incompetence, a lack of responsibility, arrogance, and other personality issues that collectively explain his inattention to required duties." (Compare ECF Nos. 101-4 at 46-47 (Craig draft memo) and 80-3 at 28-29 (Craig final memo).) Craig notified the chair of the history department's evaluation committee about his revised recommendation, and the reasons for it, in a memorandum dated March 23, 2010. (ECF No. 105-2 at 45 (Craig memo).)

Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio spoke with Provost Williams by telephone on or around March 23, 2010, to notify him that she no longer supported the renewal of Kahan's one-year probationary teaching contract, and to explain why she changed her recommendation. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 167.) Following this conversation, Provost Williams notified Dr. Robert M. Smith, President of SRU (" President Smith" ), in a memorandum dated March 23, 2010, that he was not recommending renewal of Kahan's contract. (ECF Nos. 80-3 at 33 (Williams memo) and 101-5 at 21 (Williams email); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 40-41, 164-65, 167.) Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio memorialized her withdrawal of support for Kahan's renewal, and the reasons for it, in a memorandum to Provost Williams, dated March 25, 2010. (ECF No. 80-3 at 31 (Dean memo); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 40, 160.) President Smith notified Kahan by letter dated March 30, 2010, that SRU would not renew his contract for the 2010-2011 academic year, and that his appointment would expire on June 4, 2010. (ECF No. 80-3 at 35 (Smith letter); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 41.) Pursuant to the CBA, Kahan was entitled to receive notice of SRU's decision with respect to renewal of his contract no later than April 1, 2010. (ECF No. 80-1 at 56 (CBA, Art. 14, § A(4)(a)(1)).)

Craig met with Kahan, in person, on March 23, 2010, to discuss Kahan's performance problems and to inform Kahan that Craig no longer supported renewal of his contract. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 15; ECF No. 105-2 at 45 (Craig memo); ECF No. 109-3 at 39 (Craig email); ECF No. 80-3 at 40 (Kahan memo) (indicating date of meeting with Craig as March 22, 2010).) Craig provided Kahan a copy of the memorandum that he sent to the history department's evaluation committee, which was dated March 23, 2010, on the same day that they met. (ECF No. 105-2 at 45 (Craig memo); ECF No. 109-3 at 39 (Craig email).) According to Kahan, he never received a copy of the draft or final memoranda that Craig sent to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio on March 18 and 19, 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 37.)

Kahan first learned that Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio no longer supported renewal of his contract during a previously-scheduled March 25, 2010 meeting. (ECF No.

Page 679

122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 168.) At this meeting, Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio showed Kahan a draft of her March 25, 2010 memorandum to Provost Williams, which was dated March 23, 2010, but refused to give Kahan a copy of it. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 168-69.) This draft version of Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio's memorandum included a reference to a complaint letter that Mrs. Winslow submitted to Craig about Kahan; however, the final version of Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio's memorandum does not include this reference. (Compare ECF Nos. 101-5 at 4 (Dean draft memo) and 80-3 at 31 (Dean final memo); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 160; ECF No. 80-3 at 47-48 (Mrs. Winslow complaint letter).) Kahan is copied on the final version of Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio's March 25, 2010 memorandum. (ECF No. 80-3 at 31 (Dean final memo).)

Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, Craig, and the history department evaluation committee provided Kahan with opportunities to discuss the evaluations and recommendations before President Smith issued his final non-renewal decision on March 30, 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 42.) In particular, Kahan submitted a memorandum to Provost Williams, dated March 28, 2010, in direct rebuttal to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio's March 25, 2010 memorandum to Provost Williams, and met or personally spoke with Provost Williams at least twice between March 29, 2010 and April 5, 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 42, 172-73; ECF No. 80-3 at 39-42 (Kahan memo); ECF No. 101-5 at 21 (Kahan email).) Kahan also appeared before the history department's evaluation committee on March 29, 2010 to plead his case. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 38, 172-73; ECF Nos. 80-3 at 25-26 (committee memo).)

The evaluation committee submitted a memorandum to Provost Williams, dated March 30, 2010, in which it confirmed its original recommendation in favor of renewal of Kahan's contract, " but with reservations in light of his noted mistakes." (ECF No. 80-3 at 25-26 (committee memo).) Craig sent a memorandum to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio the following day, March 31, 2010, in which he stated that he hoped the evaluation committee's recommendation would receive " careful consideration," but that he remained personally opposed to renewal of Kahan's contract. (ECF No. 101-5 at 18 (Kahan memo).) Kahan asked Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio, by email dated March 31, 2010, if she would reconsider her recommendation that his contract not be renewed in light of the evaluation committee's continued support of his renewal, but Tsuquiashi-Daddesio refused to do so because the committee " added 'with reservations' to its original recommendation" and Craig notified her that he remained opposed to renewal. (ECF No. 101-5 at 20 (Kahan-Dean emails).) When Kahan emailed Craig on April 1, 2010, about Craig's refusal to support renewal of his contract, Craig responded that " it was your decision to seek and secure adjunct work and then miss deadlines on the very days you were committed to [Westmoreland County Community College] in Latrobe that caused this mess. You did this to yourself. You treated a difficult full time job as a part-time one." (ECF No. 101-5 at 19 (Craig-Kahan emails).)

Kahan, pursuant to his limited grievance rights as a first-year, probationary non-tenured faculty member, filed a grievance challenging the non-renewal of his contract. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 5-6, 36, 43; ECF No. 80-4 at 4 (Kahan grievance).) Kahan's grievance was denied on May 11, 2010, because Kahan's grievance rights were limited, by the CBA, to SRU's failure to provide timely notice of non-renewal, and Kahan received notice of

Page 680

his non-renewal before the April 1, 2010 deadline. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 35; ECF No. 80-4 at 2 (grievance response).)

Kahan acknowledges that he " was in fact tardy turning in [his] midterm grades in both the fall and spring semesters" and characterizes the error as " a serious failure on [his] part" in the rebuttal memorandum he sent to Provost Williams on March 28, 2010. (ECF No. 80-3 at 39-41 (Kahan memo).) Kahan also admits that he did not attend a faculty meeting in January 2010, without giving advance notice to the department chairman of his absence, (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 9), and submitted his attendance reports, referred to as " salmon-colored sheets," five days late in February 2010, (id. ¶ 8). Although Kahan acknowledges these deficiencies, he claims that his contract was not renewed because Craig supported the hiring of Daniel Barr, when Kahan was hired in 2009, and because Kahan complained to Craig about Mrs. Winslow bring rude to him and about being pressured to give her son extra time on an assignment and a passing grade in his class. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ 25; ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 28-30.) Kahan similarly contends that Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio reversed her decision to support renewal of his contract " based on Ms. Winslow's complaints about Kahan." (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 40.)

2. Kahan's 2011 Application for Employment

In 2011, Kahan applied for the faculty position in SRU's history department that was created when his contract was not renewed in 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 56.) Kahan's position was not filled during the 2010-2011 academic year, and the classes that would have been taught by Kahan that year, were instead taught by a female faculty member. (Id. ¶ 61.) More than 130 applications were received for the open faculty position in 2011. (Id.) Kahan was not one of the three applicants selected by the search committee for an on-campus interview. (Id. ¶ 57.) SRU hired a male for the position. (Id. ¶ 61; ECF No. 80-4 (William Bergmann offer letter).)

Prior to submitting his application, Kahan filed a charge of gender discrimination and retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ). (Id. ¶ 59.) Kahan's only evidence that the search committee was aware of Kahan's EEOC charge is an incongruent citation to Craig's deposition acknowledging that the head of the search committee notified him, at some indeterminate time, that Kahan applied for the vacancy, and an email from Kahan's former colleague, Aaron Cowan, refusing to allow Kahan to use his recommendation letter to apply for the job at SRU because Cowan was serving on the search committee and because, in Cowan's personal opinion, if Kahan were hired, there would be continued conflict between Kahan and the administration. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 60; ECF No. 101-10 at 35 (Cowan email).)

B. Conflicts with Mrs. Winslow

According to Kahan, Craig recommended that Kahan's contract not be renewed in order to placate Mrs. Winslow, with whom Kahan had various personal and professional conflicts, because Craig did not want the history department's secretary to quit, resulting in an increase to his own workload. (ECF No. 100 (Kahan brief) at 4-5; ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 29-30.) Kahan similarly contends that Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio did not support renewal of his contract because Mrs. Winslow complained about him. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 40.) There is no dispute on this record that Mrs. Winslow did

Page 681

not want SRU to hire Kahan in 2009, thought Kahan was " weird" when he interviewed on campus at that time, and came to personally dislike Kahan after he was hired. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 74-79; ECF No. 121, Tommy Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 55-60.)

1. Tommy's Final Report

Tommy Winslow was a student in Kahan's 400-level Pennsylvania history class during the fall 2009 semester. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 44.) Tommy Winslow, who was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder at the age of nine, was registered with SRU's Office for Students with Disabilities, which intervened in December 2009, after Kahan initially refused to grant Tommy an extension of time for the submission of his final report. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ 46-47; ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 45-46; ECF No. 101-11 at 23-24 (Mrs. Winslow depo. at 93-94).) Tommy Winslow was eventually granted an extension and his final grade was reported as an incomplete, pending submission of his final report. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 45-46.) According to Kahan, at the beginning of the spring 2010 semester, Craig pressured Kahan to give Tommy Winslow a final grade of D, even though Kahan's and a fellow faculty member's grading of his final report justified a final grade of F. (Id. ¶ ¶ 47-49, 98.) Kahan claims that his resistance to doing so resulted in hostility between Kahan and Craig and Kahan and Mrs. Winslow. (Id.)

Tommy Winslow told Mrs. Winslow that Kahan initially refused to grant him an extension on his final report in mid-December 2009. (Id. ¶ 83.) Mrs. Winslow contacted Linda Quidone, Director of the Office for Students with Disabilities (" Quidone" ), to secure an extension on behalf of her son. (Id. ¶ 89.) Mrs. Winslow was dissatisfied when an extension of less than a day was offered, at which time Mr. Winslow became involved by contacting the Office for Students with Disabilities, which referred Mr. Winslow to Holly McCoy, the Assistant Vice President of Diversity and Equal Opportunity (" McCoy" ), when he inquired about how he could go about filing a complaint based upon Kahan's refusal to give Tommy Winslow more time to submit his final report. (ECF No. 101-11 at 34 (Mrs. Winslow depo. at 149); ECF No. 80-3 at 47-48 (Mrs. Winslow complaint letter); ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 48-49, 57, 59.) After these contacts, Tommy Winslow was granted an extension of approximately one week, with which Mr. and Mrs. Winslow were satisfied. (ECF No. 80-3 at 47-48 (Mrs. Winslow complaint letter); ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ 62; ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 97.)

Prior to these communications, Tommy Winslow complained to his parents about Kahan's classroom demeanor, and detailed for them that one day, when Tommy was staring out the window during a class session, Kahan asked him whether he was looking at a good-looking man, and then stated that the comment was not meant to be made in a sexual manner, causing the class to laugh at him. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 98, 100-04; ECF No. 121, Tommy Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 23, 50, 86, 88.) Mr. and Mrs. Winslow relayed this information to Quidone and McCoy while attempting to secure an extension of time for their son's final report. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 24, 39-41, 43.) Mrs. Winslow told Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio about the " good-looking man" comment during a March 19, 2010 meeting regarding Kahan. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ 86; ECF No. 121, Tommy Winslow CCSMF ¶ 86.) Mrs. Winslow also wrote a letter of complaint to Craig, dated March 21, 2010, regarding

Page 682

Kahan's poor treatment of her son, including specifically Kahan's failure to initially grant him an extension of time in conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101-12117 (the " ADA" ). (ECF No. 80-3 at 47-48 (Mrs. Winslow complaint letter).) Mrs. Winslow's letter generally accuses Kahan of " harass[ing]" and " target[ing]" Tommy Winslow because of his disability, specifically discusses the steps taken to obtain an extension of time for his final report in December 2009, and references Mrs. and Mr. Winslow's interest, at that time, in filing a complaint under the ADA, but does not mention the " good-looking man" comment or make any reference to or allegation of sexual harassment. (Id.)

According to Kahan, Quidone informed him during a December 2009 telephone call about the extension for Tommy Winslow that Mr. Winslow threatened to sue Kahan and SRU for sexual harassment based upon the " good-looking man" comment. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 24, 39-41, 43.) Both Quidone and Mr. Winslow dispute this fact and testify in conformity with the other that Mr. Winslow asked only how he could file a complaint based upon Kahan's refusal to grant Tommy a reasonable accommodation under the ADA. (ECF No. 120, Mr. Winslow CCSMF ¶ ¶ 50-51, 53.) This matter will be addressed in section III.A.2(b).

2. The Scantron Sheets

Kahan and Craig met on March 15, 2010, the first day that SRU was in session following spring break, to address concerns that Kahan raised with Craig via emails dated March 3, 2010, and March 12, 2010, with respect to Mrs. Winslow's refusal to order certain testing supplies, called scantron sheets, for Kahan. (ECF No. 80-3 at 43 and 45 (Kahan emails); ECF No. 117-1 at 73 (Craig depo. at 166); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 13, 24-25, 117-18.) During this meeting, Kahan informed Craig that Mrs. Winslow had been rude to him since the dispute concerning the deadline for Tommy Winslow's final report arose in December 2009. (ECF No. 117-1 at 69 (Craig depo. at 162).) Craig instructed Kahan to order supplies directly from him, instead of Mrs. Winslow, in the future. (ECF No. 117-1 at 69-70, 75-76 (Craig depo. at 162-63, 167-69).)

After speaking with Kahan about the conflict concerning the scantron sheets, Craig spoke with Mrs. Winslow about the matter. (ECF No. 117-1 at 68-71 (Craig depo. at 161-64).) Mrs. Winslow's account of the conversation that she had with Kahan about ordering scantron sheets essentially matched Kahan's account, with the primary exception being that Mrs. Winslow claimed that Kahan was the one being rude to her. (Id. at 68-71, 78-80 (Craig depo. at 161-64, 171-73).) Craig also spoke with Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio about the matter on March 15, 2010, in order to obtain her approval of his instruction to Kahan that he not approach Mrs. Winslow directly to order supplies for the present time, and to discuss Kahan's missed deadlines. (Id. at 75 (Craig depo. at 167); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 125.)

3. The March 21, 2010 Complaint Letter

Mrs. Winslow met with Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio on March 19, 2010, at the Dean's request, to discuss problems that her son Tommy Winslow had with Kahan during the fall 2009 semester. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 156.) Mrs. Winslow told the Dean that Kahan targeted, harassed, embarrassed, and humiliated her son during class, and specifically recounted the " good-looking man" comment. (Id. ¶ 157.) Following this meeting, which was on a Friday, Mrs. Winslow drafted a letter, dated Sunday, March 21, 2010, and addressed

Page 683

to Craig, in which she summarized her complaints about how her son, Tommy Winslow, was treated in Kahan's history class the previous semester. (ECF No. 80-3 at 47-48 (Mrs. Winslow complaint letter); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 159.)

By way of chronological context, Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio and Craig discussed Kahan's failure to submit his mid-term grades in a timely manner on March 15, 2010, at which time Craig informed Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio that he no longer supported renewal of Kahan's contract. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 13-15, 125.) Craig submitted a draft memorandum to Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio about Kahan on March 18, 2010, and a final memorandum to her on March 19, 2010. (ECF No. 101-4 at 46-47 (Craig draft memo); ECF No. 80-3 at 28-29 (Craig final memo).) Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio spoke with Provost Williams about Kahan on March 23, 2010, at which time the Dean had begun to draft a memorandum to Provost Williams about Kahan. (ECF No. 101-5 at 2-4 (Dean draft memo).) Craig informed Kahan that he no longer supported renewal of his contract on either March 22 or 23, 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 15; ECF No. 105-2 at 45 (Craig memo); ECF No. 109-3 at 39 (Craig email); ECF No. 80-3 at 40 (Kahan memo).) Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio informed Kahan that she no longer supported the renewal of his contract on March 25, 2010. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 168.) Kahan received notice from President Smith on March 30, 2010, that his one-year probationary teaching contract would not be renewed. (ECF No. 80-3 at 35 (Smith letter); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 41.)

4. The May 18, 2010 Incident

On May 18, 2010, Mrs. Winslow reported an incident to SRU campus police during which Kahan allegedly entered her office, called her a " bitch," called Tommy Winslow a " retard," wished them both to " die a painful death," threw a DVD toward her, and said " now put this away." (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 50; ECF No. 105-3 at 3-4 (Mrs. Winslow's SRU police voluntary statement form).) When Dean Tsuquiashi-Daddesio's secretary, Amy McCamey, called Mrs. Winslow's office shortly after this incident occurred to finalize previously-made lunch plans, Mrs. Winslow relayed the incident to her. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 190.) Ms. McCamey spoke with the Dean about the incident and relayed to Mrs. Winslow that the Dean stated that Mrs. Winslow should report the incident to campus police if she felt threatened or unsafe, which she did. (Id. ¶ ¶ 63, 190.) The SRU police spoke with Kahan and Craig about the incident the following day. (Id. ¶ ¶ 64; ECF No. 80-5 at 34-35 (SRU incident report form).) Kahan denied making any such statements, and instead claimed that, while he was cleaning out his office, he asked Mrs. Winslow to put a DVD away for him, which was part of her job duties. (ECF No. 80-5 at 35 (SRU incident report form); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ ¶ 51, 189.) During his interview, Craig indicated that he felt harassed by Kahan, and gave the SRU police officer a copy of an email from Kahan, dated May 17, 2010, in which Kahan called Craig a " liar," a " coward," " incompetent," and " petty, vindictive and completely dishonest." (ECF No. 80-5 at 34-35 (SRU incident report form); ECF No. 80-4 at 12 (Kahan email); ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ¶ 64.)

Kahan contends that after this incident, he was instructed, by letter, not to return to the SRU campus without prior approval. (ECF No. 122, SRU CCSMF ΒΆ 201.) Kahan fails to include this letter, which ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.