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Kazar v. Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

January 23, 2015

SHEILA A. KAZAR, Plaintiff,
v.
SLIPPERY ROCK UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA, SUSAN HANNAM, JACK LIVINGSTON, and WILLIAM WILLIAMS, Defendants,

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Joy Flowers Conti Chief United States District Judge

This suit began on January 11, 2013, when plaintiff Sheila Kazar (“plaintiff) filed a complaint against defendants Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (“SRU”), Susan Hannam, Jack Livingston, and William Williams (collectively “defendants”), in which she alleges she was terminated from her position with SRU because of her gender, her failure to conform to gender stereotypes, her sexual orientation, and/or for her speech in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender issues. (ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has three remaining claims:

• Count I - claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for denial of her free speech rights in violation of the First Amendment;

• Count II - claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a denial of her right to Equal Protection in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment; and

• Count III - claim for discrimination on the basis of gender in violation of Title IX, 20 U.S.C. § 1681.

(ECF No. 15.) On October 10, 2014, defendants moved for summary judgment. (ECF No. 43.) On December 12, 2014, plaintiff filed a motion for leave to take additional discovery from a third-party witness, Rachelle R. Bouchat (“Professor Bouchat”), who is a former SRU professor. (ECF No. 50.) Defendants filed a response in opposition. (ECF No. 57.) For the reasons that follow, the court will grant plaintiff the opportunity to depose Professor Bouchat and will issue an amended case management order modifying the summary judgment schedule.

I. Procedural Background

On April 5, 2013, plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. (ECF No. 15.) On April 19, 2014, defendants filed a partial motion to dismiss plaintiffs first amended complaint for failure to state a claim, (ECF No. 16), and a brief in support of their partial motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 17.) On May 10, 2013, plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to defendants’ partial motion to dismiss, (ECF No. 23), and during the July 8, 2013 status conference, the court granted defendants’ partial motion to dismiss.

On September 23, 2014, the court entered an amended case management order. (ECF No. 41.) Pursuant to the amended case management order, the movant was required to file a summary judgment motion on or before October 10, 2014, and the response was due on December 29, 2014. (Id.) On October 10, 2014, defendants moved for summary judgment, (ECF No. 43), and filed a brief in support of their motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 44.) On December 12, 2014, plaintiff moved for leave to take additional discovery. (ECF No. 50.) On December 19, 2014, plaintiff filed her brief in opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 54.) On December 22, 2014, plaintiff filed a revised motion for leave to take additional discovery, (ECF No. 56), and on December 23, 2014, defendant responded to plaintiff’s motion to take additional discovery. (ECF No. 57.) On January 6, 2014, plaintiff filed a reply to defendants’ opposition to her motion for leave to take additional discovery. (ECF No. 62.) Having been fully briefed this issue is ripe for disposition.

II. Legal Framework

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) provides:

(d) When Facts Are Unavailable to the Nonmovant. If a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, the court may:
(1) defer considering the motion or deny it;
(2) allow time to obtain affidavits or declarations or to ...

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