United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
C.J. April 5, 2017 Presently before the Court are
Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1), Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 6), Plaintiff's Response to the Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 9), Defendant's Reply to the Response (Doc.
12), Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 14), and
Defendant's Amended Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 15). Upon
consideration of the parties' motions and for the reasons
set forth below, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.
Mario Sorgini (“Plaintiff”) alleges that his
employer, Defendant Wissahickon School District
(“Defendant”), violated the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act of 1967 (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. §
621 et seq., the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et
seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act of 1955
(“PHRA”), 43 P.S. §§ 951- 963 (2009
Cum. Supp. 2016). Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
constructively discharged him because of his age and
disabilities, and subsequently replaced him with a younger
2007, Plaintiff was hired as a building supervisor for
Defendant's Stoney Creek Elementary School. Am. Compl.
¶ 8. Plaintiff was fifty-one years old at the time.
Id. ¶ 5. Since 2007, Plaintiff suffered several
physical impairments including heart and knee problems that
affected his ability to walk or stand without pain for
extended periods of time. Id. ¶ 7. These
impairments culminated in Plaintiff suffering a heart attack
and undergoing two knee surgeries. Id. ¶¶
14-15. Plaintiff also suffered from diverticulitis.
Id. ¶ 18. In addition, Plaintiff fell through a
sky light while working at the school in July 2013, which led
to chronic pain. Id. ¶ 17. While employed by
Defendant, Plaintiff took a “significant” amount
of time off for his surgeries, injury, and illness.
Id. ¶¶ 15-18. In October or November 2013,
Maureen, a night custodian at the Elementary
School, informed Plaintiff that she overheard Mr. Abbamont,
the school principal, and Mr. Saurman, Plaintiff's
supervisor, discussing the need to terminate Plaintiff due to
his illness and numerous sick leaves. Id. ¶ 19.
January 9, 2014, Mr. Abbamont met with Plaintiff and
expressed concern that Maureen allowed her boyfriend on
school premises without authorization. Id. ¶
24. Plaintiff informed Mr. Abbamont that he had no knowledge
of this activity. Id. Prior to this meeting,
Plaintiff's employment performance had never been
questioned and he had no disciplinary history. Id.
January 10, 2014, School District officials including Ms.
Rossi, the Human Resources (“HR”) director, Mr.
Wade Coleman, the Chief Financial Officer, and Mr. Saurman,
Plaintiff's supervisor, met with Plaintiff. Id.
¶¶ 29, 32. Ms. Rossi informed Plaintiff that if he
did not resign immediately, he would be terminated for
allowing Maureen's boyfriend on school premises.
Id. ¶ 39. It is alleged that Ms. Rossi also
told Plaintiff that he would not be eligible for disability
pension benefits if he were terminated. Id. ¶
61. Plaintiff claims that he signed a resignation letter
during the meeting under the threat of immediate termination.
Id. ¶ 43; Am. Mot. to Dismiss at 8. Plaintiff
was not represented at the meeting, and claims that he was
not informed of his right to contest termination. Am. Compl.
¶ 43. Plaintiff was fifty-eight years old when he
resigned, and was subsequently replaced by an individual who
was younger than forty. Id. ¶¶ 5, 68.
alleges that Defendant had a “liberal practice”
of allowing individuals who were not school employees on
school premises. Id. ¶ 54. For example,
Plaintiff witnessed Mr. Abbamont allowing Maureen's
boyfriend on campus. Id. ¶ 55. Plaintiff also
witnessed other employees allowing individuals who were not
school employees on school premises. Am. Compl. Id.
These employees included two custodians, a secretary, and a
teacher. Id. Neither the employees nor Mr. Abbamont
were disciplined for their actions. Id. Unlike
Plaintiff, these employees were not disabled and were either
under the age of forty or younger than Plaintiff.
Id. ¶ 67.
filed a timely charge of discrimination with the United
States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), which was cross-filed with the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”).
Id. ¶ 4. In a hearing before the Pennsylvania
Unemployment Compensation Board concerning whether Plaintiff
was eligible for unemployment compensation benefits, the
Referee ruled that Plaintiff did not voluntarily resign.
Id. ¶ 60. Finally, Plaintiff received a Right
to Sue Letter from the EEOC and subsequently filed his
Complaint in this Court on April 19, 2016. Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
may dismiss a plaintiff's complaint under Rule 12(b)(6)
when it does not “‘state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.'” Gager v. Dell Fin.
Servs., LLC, 727 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). In
light of the Supreme Court's rulings in Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), the district court
conducts a three-part analysis in evaluating a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim. Connelly v. Lane
Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016).
the court “must ‘tak[e] note of the elements
[the] plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'”
Id. (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675).
Second, the court “should identify allegations that,
‘because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.'” Id.
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Accordingly, the
court “must accept all of the complaint's
well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal
conclusions.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Lastly, after accepting the
well-pleaded factual allegations and “‘assum[ing]
their veracity . . . [the court must] determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.'”
Connelly, 809 F.3d at 787 (quoting Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 679). A complaint is plausible on its face when
its factual allegations allow a court to draw a reasonable
inference that a defendant is liable for the harm alleged.
Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 128 (3d
Cir. 2010). A plaintiff may survive a motion to dismiss if
the “[f]actual allegations [are] enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, the Third Circuit held
that the heightened standard of plausibility set forth by
Iqbal and Twombly applies to pleadings in
an employment discrimination context. 578 F.3d at 213.
However, this heightened standard does not require a
plaintiff to establish the prima facie case for
discrimination in order to survive a motion to dismiss.
Id. (“Even post-Twombly, it has been
noted that a plaintiff is not required to establish the
elements of a prima facie case . . . .”).
Rather, to survive a motion to dismiss in an employment
discrimination context, a plaintiff must present factual
allegations that would “‘raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the
necessary element[s]'” of the prima facie case.
Id. at 213 (citing Philips v. County of
Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)).