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Dixon v. Women's Christian Alliance Foster Care Agency

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 26, 2014

AKEEM DIXON, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ALLIANCE FOSTER CARE AGENCY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NITZA I. QUINONES ALEJANDRO, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Before this Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Women's Christian Alliance Foster Care Agency ("WCA" or "Defendant") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (Rule) 12(b)(6), which seeks dismissal of the claims for violations of 42 U.S.C. §1981 ("§1981") and §1983 ("§1983") in the amended complaint. [ECF 9]. Akeem Dixon ("Dixon") and Randolph Sanders ("Sanders") (collectively "Plaintiffs") oppose the motion to dismiss. [ECF 10]. This matter is ripe for disposition.

For the reasons stated herein, the motion to dismiss is granted.

BACKGROUND

On June 27, 2013, Plaintiffs filed a complaint against Defendant, their former employer. [ECF 1]. Following Defendant's filing of a motion to dismiss the complaint, [ECF 6], Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint asserting claims of violations of their civil rights under §1981 and §1983; to wit: that Defendant wrongfully terminated Plaintiffs' employment because of (1) their race and (2) their support for the adoption of an African-American child by a Caucasian family. [ECF 8]. On November 4, 2013, Defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss. [ECF 9].

When ruling on the motion to dismiss, this Court must accept, as true, the relevant and pertinent factual allegations in Plaintiffs' amended complaint, which are summarized as follows:

Plaintiffs are African-American males. (Amend. Comp. ¶ 3). Dixon was employed on November 7, 2011, by Defendant as a recruiter and community liaison. ( Id. at ¶ 3). Sanders was employed on May 1, 2012, as an intake supervisor and was Dixon's immediate supervisor. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 3, 8). Plaintiffs were both terminated on February 28, 2013, ostensibly for violating company policies, procedures and practices; charges that Plaintiffs deny. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 3, 30, 34-35).
Defendant is a non-sectarian, non-profit child welfare and community services organization that provides, inter alia, foster family care, and recruitment and comprehensive adoption services. ( Id. at ¶ ¶ 4-5, 7).
Prior to June 2012, Kristi Andrews ("Andrews"), an African-American female, was approved as a foster parent through Defendant. ( Id. at ¶ 9). On June 27, 2012, "Child X, " an African-American child, was placed in foster care in Andrews' home on a temporary basis. ( Id. at ¶ 10).
On June 30, 2012, the placement goal for Child X changed from that of foster care to adoption. ( Id. at ¶ 11). Thereafter, Shaketta Crawford ("Crawford"), a Department of Human Services ("DHS") social worker, asked a case worker employed by Defendant whether Child X could be placed elsewhere pending the adoption. ( Id. at ¶ 11).
On September 10, 2012, the home of Andrew and Angela Pack (the Packs), who are both Caucasians, was identified as a pre-adoptive home. ( Id. at ¶ 12).[1] A month later, the Packs met with Plaintiffs and Laura Bardol, a co-worker and Intake Supervisor, to discuss the adoption of Child X. ( Id. at ¶ 14).
On December 19, 2012, Diana Schimmel, a Philadelphia Defenders' Association Child Advocate Attorney, recommended that all concerned parties move forward with the Packs as the adoptive parents of Child X. ( Id. at 17). On January 3, 2013, the Packs' home was approved for the adoption of Child X. ( Id. at ¶ 19). On January 10, 2013, DHS employees met the Packs at their home in furtherance of the adoption process for Child X, ( id. at ¶ 20), who was scheduled to move into the Packs' home on February 1, 2013, pending a final home approval. ( Id. at ¶ 21).
On January 17, 2013, Daniel Sauter ("Sauter"), a social worker with the Philadelphia Defenders' Association, met the Packs at their home and suggested that Child X have an overnight visit at the Packs' home the weekend of January 19th, and a visit over the entire weekend of January 25, 2013. ( Id. at ¶ 22). The suggestion was approved by Crawford, Dennis, Sanders, and Sauter, as well as a request for an update from the Packs after the visit. ( Id.). On January 19, 2012, Sharon Eberhardt, Sanders' immediate supervisor, took Child X to the ...

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