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Sandor v. Delmont Borough

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

November 24, 2014

STEVEN SANDOR, Plaintiff,
v.
DELMONT BOROUGH, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

MAURICE B. COHILL, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Steve Sandor (hereinafter "Plaintiff' or "Sandor"), was employed as a part-time employee in the Delmont Borough Police Department (hereinafter "Defendant" or "Delmont") in August, 1988 and in June, 1995 he was made a patrolman [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 9]. He has since been suspended three times [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 12], and terminated three times from his employment [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 13]. He was last terminated on August 13, 2013 for an alleged "Be on the lookout" violation [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 14]. The Amended Complaint does not state how he happened to be rehired after the first two terminations. However, the last time he was terminated the case went to arbitration, and he was ordered to be reinstated by the arbitrator [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 15k].

Plaintiff has filed this action alleging violations of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 3]. According to the Amended Complaint, in a rather bizarre way to describe his alleged disabilities, the Plaintiff asserts that:

a) The Plaintiff is regarded as having a Macular hole in his left eye because he was accommodated for this disability since rifle training began on or about 2010 and the employer did not assign or schedule the plaintiff to qualification requiring him to qualify due to the Macular hole impairment.
b) The Plaintiff has been regarded as having an obesity problem since on or about 2010 when his employer was aware of his lap band surgery. The plaintiff has been accommodated by his employer for his disability since that time by receiving inter alia such accommodations as a seat belt extension in his police cruiser.
c) The Plaintiff has been regarded has having a heart problem due to heart surgery the employer was aware of which occurred in 1998. The heart condition and consequent maintenance medications used by the plaintiff are reasonably believed to cause weight issues.
d) The Plaintiff has been regarded as having diabetes as upon information and belief, the employer knew of his condition and the maintenance medications taken which are reasonably believed to cause weight gain. [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 15a-d]

The Amended Complaint never explains who "regards" the Plaintiff of having these "disabilities, " or is the Plaintiff perhaps simply not admitting that he has these conditions? Furthermore, Plaintiff's statements seem to absolve the Defendant of any failure-toaccommodate violation, because in each case the Defendant made accommodations for Plaintiff's medical issues. The Amended Complaint then sets out what appears to be a non sequitur, alleging that the Defendant's earlier accommodations of Plaintiff's sight and weight disabilities constitute a continuing effort to retaliate against him due to his disabilities and the creation of a hostile working environment [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 16]. We aren't sure what this means unless it means that the "accommodations" by Defendant somehow were admissions by the Defendant that Plaintiff, indeed, did have some disabilities.

Sandor filed the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 7] on September 14, 2014 alleging five counts against Delmont: (I) Discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (II) Hostile Work Environment under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (III) Retaliation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (IV) Discrimination under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA") and; (V) Retaliation under PHRA.

For the following reasons, we will grant Defendant's Motion for a More Definite Statement with regard to Count II. We will deny Defendant's Motion to Dismiss with regard to the PHRA claims in Counts IV and V.

I. Procedural History

On July 1, 2014, Sandor filed his initial Complaint [ECF No. 1]. In response to the Complaint, Delmont filed a Motion to Dismiss, Motion for a More Definite Statement, and a Motion to Strike [ECF No. 5] on September 3, 2014. Delmont requested that Counts I. II, V, and VI be dismissed, that Defendant Delmont Borough Police Department be dismissed, that Exhibit "B" to the Complaint be stricken, and that Counts III and IV of the Complaint either be dismissed or that the Plaintiff be ordered to file a more specific pleading [ECF No. 5-1].

On September 14, 2014, Sandor filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 7] seeking to cure the defects present in the first Complaint. On September 29, 2014, Pursuant to Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Delmont filed a new Motion to Dismiss and Motion for a More Definite Statement with regard to Counts II, IV, and V, or in the alternative, requests that the Court require Plaintiff to provide a more definite statement of its claims [ECF No. 8 at ¶ 10]. Delmont asserts that Sandor failed to state a claim for Hostile Work Environment in Count II, and that Delmont did not exhaust its administrative remedies under PHRA in Counts V and VI [ECF No. 8 at ¶¶ 7 and 8]. On October 17, 2014 Plaintiff filed a Response to Delmont's Motions [ECF No. 10]. These are the pleadings we consider here.

In addition to the pleadings before this Court, Sandor filed applications with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") for age discrimination and disability discrimination [ECF No. 7 at ¶ 18]. The disability discrimination claim was declined to be filed by the PHRC and, therefore, a ...


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