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Camplese v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 24, 2017



          Kane Judge

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 31.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendant's motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Beginning in 1990, Plaintiff Angela Camplese worked for Defendant Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”) as a broker in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. (See Doc. No. 27 ¶¶ 3-5.) Plaintiff handled financial accounts for Defendant including the investments of the Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg (“the Diocese”). (Id. ¶ 7.) In June 2006, Plaintiff took a four-month medical leave of absence and, after being approved in October 2006 to return to work, took additional medical absences due to her impaired health.[1] (Id. ¶¶ 10-11, 108.) Plaintiff alleges that Doug Berlin, Defendant's Harrisburg Branch Manager and Vice President, repeatedly commented and inquired about Plaintiff's absences from work for “a period of two years.” (Id. ¶¶ 6, 13-14, 109.) Berlin also purportedly asked Plaintiff's brother, Joseph Camplese, who also worked for Defendant, about Plaintiff's absences during this period. (Id. ¶ 14.) Berlin's statements included the question: “where's your sister[?]” (Id. ¶ 15.)

         Subsequently, in June of 2008, Plaintiff broke her thumb, which required her to undergo two surgeries, attend physical therapy, and wear a large brace for a period of time. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 104-106.) Plaintiff complains that, during this period, Berlin allegedly commented to Plaintiff about the “need to ‘dress appropriately, '” as Plaintiff wore “loose fitting clothing” due to the hand brace. (Id. ¶¶ 105-107.) Additionally, in June 2008, Plaintiff asked Berlin and Chris Maillie, Vice President and Regional Complex Manager for Defendant, for assistance with the Diocese's investment accounts. (Id. ¶¶ 19-20.) Plaintiff and her brother Joseph Camplese had recently lost the Diocese's bond accounts in May 2008, and Plaintiff purportedly sought to retain the Diocese's remaining accounts by proposing a trip with Diocesan officials to New York. (See id. ¶¶ 22-23, 26.) Plaintiff sent an e-mail to Berlin and approached him about the New York trip. (Id. ¶¶ 24, 31-32.) Maillie allegedly did not respond to Plaintiff's e-mails asking for assistance to retain the Diocese's account. (Id. ¶ 34.)

         According to Plaintiff, on September 3, 2008, Plaintiff realized that the Diocese's equity accounts were leaving Defendant Morgan Stanley. (Id. ¶ 35.) During a meeting with Berlin, Plaintiff claims that she faced “ranting criticism” about the loss of the Diocese's accounts and that Berlin expressed concern about how to justify employing two full-time brokers following the Diocese's departure. (Id. ¶¶ 41-42.) Joseph Camplese was fired on November 25, 2008. (Id. ¶ 40.) Plaintiff alleges that, following Joseph Camplese's termination and the loss of the Diocese's account, the “hostile work environment perpetrated against the Plaintiff on an ongoing basis became even more severe.” (Id. ¶ 44.)

         On March 9, 2010, some fifteen months after Joseph Camplese's termination, Attorney Ira Weinstock, on behalf of Joseph Camplese, sent a letter to Defendant's human resources director. (Id. ¶ 63.) The March 9, 2010 letter concerned the manner in which Defendant terminated Joseph Camplese and requested a meeting for Plaintiff.[2] (Doc. No. 27-1 at 1; see Doc. No. 27 ¶ 46.) A year later, on March 31, 2011, Plaintiff received a “production letter”[3]from Defendant (Doc. No. 27 ¶ 45), and Plaintiff later met with Berlin and Richard Maratea, Senior Vice President for Defendant, to discuss ways to improve Plaintiff's production and her disappointment in management's behavior (Doc. No. 27-5 at 1; see Doc. No. 27 ¶ 67). Thereafter, at some point in the fall of 2011, a co-worker Fred O'Dell allegedly began suggesting to Plaintiff that she “was going to get fired.”[4] (Doc. No. 27 ¶¶ 48, 122-123.) Plaintiff alleges that O'Dell's comments reflected his desire for “Plaintiff to partner with him to work jointly to enhance O'Dell's book of business and to protect Plaintiff from termination.” (Id. ¶ 73.)

         In January 2012, Plaintiff twice contacted Kris Salimondo, Human Resources Officer for Defendant. (Id. ¶¶ 71, 72.) On January 24, 2012, Plaintiff mentioned to Salimondo that she “wanted to try to transfer to another position within the Defendant's network that would have removed her from the hostile environment she was experiencing with Doug Berlin.” (Id. ¶ 71; see Doc. No. 27 ¶ 114.) Subsequently, on January 31, 2012, Plaintiff informed Salimondo about O'Dell's “constant harassment, ” discussed entering into a broker's partnership at another one of Defendant's branches, and discussed how “male brokers in New York” received better treatment than she received. (Doc. No. 27 ¶¶ 52, 72, 75, 124; see Doc. No. 27 ¶ 94.) Plaintiff called Salimondo in February 2012 to discuss finding a different position and again in March 2012 to discuss working for the Morgan Stanley Foundation. (Id. ¶¶ 77, 78.) Plaintiff alleges that, despite multiple conversations, Salimondo did not provide Plaintiff “with any conclusions regarding her promised efforts to investigate the Plaintiff's concerns.”[5] (Id. ¶ 80.)

         Around August 2012, Plaintiff claims that she discussed “transitioning her book of business with fellow brokers Fred O'Dell and Tyler Lenda;” however, her efforts were unsuccessful due to personal issues between O'Dell and Lenda. (Id. ¶¶ 86-87.) At some point thereafter, Plaintiff alleges that she took the position as a Registered Marketing Associate to O'Dell and gave up her Vice President title in order to preserve her broker's licenses and in response to “Defendant['s]” “constant[] haranguing” her for “low production.” (Id. ¶¶ 88-91.) On December 18, 2012, Plaintiff left Defendant Morgan Stanley and took a non-broker position with another organization. (See id. ¶¶ 54, 92.) Plaintiff alleges that her resignation amounted to a “constructive discharge because of the poisoned atmosphere” and Defendant “destroying her ability to make a living.” (Id. ¶¶ 54, 113.)

         Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on September 24, 2013 and was issued a right to sue letter on October 28, 2014. (Doc. Nos. 17 at 3, 7; 27 ¶ 59.) Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County, Pennsylvania on March 16, 2015, and Defendant removed the action on April 21, 2015. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on June 16, 2015. (Doc. No. 14.) On March 11, 2016, this Court dismissed Plaintiff's amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) and granted Plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. Nos. 24, 25.)

         Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint on March 24, 2016. (Doc. No. 26.) Plaintiff later filed a second amended complaint (revision) (“revised second amended complaint”) on March 29, 2016. (Doc. No. 27.) In the revised second amended complaint, Plaintiff brings claims of constructive discharge and hostile work environment against Defendant under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16 (Title VII), and under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et seq. (ADA). (Id.) Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant unlawfully retaliated against Plaintiff in violation of Title VII and the ADA. (Id.) Namely, Plaintiff alleges that: (1) “Defendant has applied more lenient personnel policies and procedures” to Defendant's male employees; (2) she expressed her concern with Salimondo that “male brokers were being treated better and given more leniency than female brokers;” (3) she faced discrimination and harassment “based on her disability;” and (4) Defendant operated under “a retaliatory animus.” (Id. ¶¶ 94, 97, 110, 116.) On April 11, 2016, Defendant filed a second motion to dismiss Plaintiff's revised second amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. No. 31.) The motion to dismiss has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.


         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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 12(b)(6) if it “fail[s] to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).

         To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must plead enough facts “to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 663 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). A court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that ...

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