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Kent v. Keystone Human Services

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

December 16, 2014

LISA KENT, Plaintiff
v.
KEYSTONE HUMAN SERVICES, Defendant

For Lisa Kent, Plaintiff: David M. Koller, Erin W. Grewe, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Koller Law PC, Philadelphia, PA.

For Keystone Human Services, Defendant: Andrew L. Levy, McNees Wallace & Nurick, Harrisburg, PA.

For Mediator, Mediator: Sarah C. Yerger, LEAD ATTORNEY, Post & Schell, PC, Harrisburg, PA.

Page 566

MEMORANDUM

Yvette Kane, United States District Judge.

Before the Court is the motion to partially dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. No. 5), by Defendant Keystone Human Services. (Doc. No. 6.) For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for partial dismissal.

I. BACKGROUND

This case concerns the Defendant-employer's allegedly wrongful termination of Plaintiff's employment as a supervisor of home care providers. (Doc. No. 5 at 1-2.) Plaintiff began working for Defendant on August 22, 2011. (Id. at 2.) Defendant is a group of non-profit organizations that provide services for individuals with disabilities. (Id. at 1-2.) In August of 2012, Plaintiff reported what she believed to be violations of various state occupation and safety laws to responsible employees of the Defendant. (Id. at 5.) Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant violated: (1) the Pennsylvania General Safety Law, 43 Pa. Stat. § 25-2; (2) the Pennsylvania Fire and Panic Act, 34 Pa. Code § 50.24(e); and (3) the Pennsylvania Universal Accessibility Law, 34 Pa. Code § 60.33. (Id. at 5.) Defendant's other employees assured Plaintiff that the alleged violations were being handled, and she took medical leave on January 17, 2013. (Id.) She returned on April 22, 2013 to find the alleged violations unaddressed, so she reported them again, this time to her direct supervisors. (Id.)

After she complained to them, Plaintiff's supervisors notified her on June 6, 2013, that she would have to commence " direct care," which includes bathing and feeding clients. (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff suffered from severe sciatica and was unable to perform the physical requirements of direct care, so she provided medical evidence of her limitation to her human resources manager.

Page 567

(Id. at 8.) On June 10-11, 2013, Plaintiff sent e-mails to Defendant's human resources director, requesting a reasonable accommodation for her sciatica, renewing her complaints that Defendant's home care facilities were in violation of state law, and complaining that Defendant was not otherwise accommodating its disabled clients. (Id. at 5, 7.) The same day, Plaintiff again went on medical leave, this time from June 11, 2013, to June 19, 2013. (Id. at 9-10.) The day she returned, Defendant suspended Plaintiff pending an investigation into allegations that she falsified documents. (Id. at 5.) In another three weeks, on July 2, 2013, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's employment. (Id.)

Plaintiff initiated the above-captioned lawsuit by filing her complaint with this Court on March 5, 2014. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff amended her complaint on May 12, 2014, and Defendant filed this motion to dismiss on May 27, 2014. (Doc. No. 6.) The only claim before the Court is Plaintiff's argument that her termination violated Pennsylvania's so-called public policy exception to the general principles of at-will employment.[1] (See Doc. No. 10 at 2 n.2.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that complaints provide notice of claims and the grounds upon which they rest to the parties who are called upon to answer them. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny,515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008). Although Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires " only a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief," a complaint may nevertheless be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ...


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