United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
ERIN K. WILSON, Plaintiff,
ADVANCED URGENT CARE, P.C., ADVANCED URGENT CARE OF MONTGOMERYVILLE, LLC., INCARE, LLC., MEHDI NIKPARVAR, M.D. Defendant.
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
Erin K. Wilson (hereinafter “Wilson”), filed a
complaint on February 8, 2016, and then a four count amended
complaint on February 12, 2016. Named as defendants are her
former employers, one individual, Mehdi Nikparvar, M.D.; and
three corporate defendants, Advanced Urgent Care, P.C.,
Advanced Urgent Care of Montgomeryville, LLC., and Incare,
LLC. Count I, brought under Title VII alleges sexual
harassment/hostile work environment against the three
corporate defendants. Count II, also brought under Title VII,
alleges retaliatory discharge from employment against the
three corporate defendants. Count III is an allegation of a
violation of the retaliation provision of the False Claims
Act against all defendants. Count IV alleges sexual
harassment and retaliation under the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Act against the corporate defendants.
Advanced Urgent Care, PC (hereinafter “AUC”), is
a walk-in medical treatment center with multiple locations in
Pennsylvania. Its answer to the amended complaint was due
April 13, 2016; but no answer was filed. The Clerk entered
default on May 3, 2016. Plaintiff moved for default judgment
against it, and a hearing was held on January 19,
2017. No counsel has entered an appearance on behalf of AUC
and no counsel appeared on its behalf at that hearing.
Advanced Urgent Care of Montgomeryville, LLC (hereinafter
“AUCOM”), is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AUC.
AUCOM was Plaintiff's employer at the time her employment
was terminated. Its answer to the amended complaint was due
May 24, 2016; no answer was filed. The Clerk entered default
on May 3, 2016. Plaintiff moved for default judgment against
and a hearing was also held on January 19, 2017. Unlike AUC,
counsel entered an appearance on behalf of AUCOM and provided
representation at the hearing. Counsel has not, however,
filed an answer on AUCOM's behalf, nor has counsel filed
a motion to set aside default (although orally requested upon
my prompting at the hearing). Counsel also failed to comply
with my Order entered following the hearing which directed a
brief on the issue of default judgment be filed by February
Incare, LLC is the predecessor to AUC, and Plaintiff's
original employer. Incare has not been served with process.
final defendant is Mehdi Nikparvar, MD. According to the
complaint, he is the medical director at the State College,
Pennsylvania AUC facility. Testimony was elicited at the
hearing that indicated that he is the owner or principal of
the three corporate defendants. Dr. Nikparvar answered the
complaint, pro se, on May 26, 2016. He did not
appear at the January 19, 2017 hearing.
began to work for Incare, LLC in 2011, and continued at its
State College facility after Incare's acquisition by the
Advanced Urgent Care defendants. She was terminated on
January 8, 2014. All of the events in question that give rise
to this litigation took place on that date. The pertinent
allegations from the amended complaint which are accepted as
true after the hearing and testimony are as follows (and are
numbered as they are in that document):
24. On January 8, 2014, Plaintiff was subjected to a series
of lewd, vulgar and inappropriate comments of a sexual nature
a. Plaintiff and Nikparvar were engaged in a discussion
concerning the filling of a prescription for a patient who
had been treated at the Practice just a few days earlier.
b. Plaintiff inquired whether it was necessary for the
patient to return to the Practice in order for Nikparvar to
write the prescription since the patient had been seen in the
office just a few days earlier.
c. In response, and in front of Plaintiff's colleagues,
Nikparvar asked Plaintiff perhaps ten times in an
increasingly louder voice and with an agitated and
antagonistic demeanor, “Do you give blow jobs for
free?” or words to that effect.
d. Plaintiff was shocked and mortified, but finally
responded, “No.” e. Arguing that the patient
should return to the Practice so that Nikparvar could derive
an additional fee, Nikparvar analogized, “That's
right, you charge money for blow-jobs and we don't give
anything for free either….” f. Nikparvar's
analogy characterized Plaintiff as a prostitute who accepts
money in exchange for sexual acts.
32. In fact, later that same day, Plaintiff requested to meet
with Nikparvar and Elizabeth Harclerode, Defendant's
Office Manager, to register a formal complaint and
specifically oppose the Sexual Harassment. At this meeting:
a. Plaintiff opposed Nikparvar's Sexual Harassment noting
that she was highly offended by his angry outburst, offensive
rhetoric, and repeated references to oral sex.
b. Plaintiff opposed Nikparvar's Sexual Harassment noting
that his progressively louder and lude “blow job”
comments were uncalled-for, hostile, and intimidating.
c. Plaintiff opposed Nikparvar's Sexual Harassment noting
that she was highly offended by his characterization of her
as a woman who would accept or has accepted money to perform
33. At this meeting, Nikparvar belittled Plaintiff, chastised
her for becoming emotionally upset and offended by his
conduct and comments, and dismissed the import of her
34. Nikparvar admitted to making the “blow job”
comments, but attempted to marginalize the gravity of his
remarks by explaining that he did so “because that is
all your mentality would understand”.
35. Nikparvar response to Plaintiff's formal complaint
underscores his misogynistic attitude.
36. Accordingly, Nikparvar threatened Plaintiff that she
could leave her employment if she was so highly offended by
his comments and behavior.
37. Plaintiff replied that she did not intend to resign but
that she expected Nikparvar to refrain from future sexually
offensive, harassing, intimidating, and misogynistic conduct.
38. Plaintiff also informed Nikparvar that she believed he
was attempting to engage in Medicare fraud by requiring a
patient who had been treated at the Practice days earlier to
be treated in the office again and billed a second time for
an in-office ...