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Preston v. Vanguard Investment Firm

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 25, 2017

JOAN P. PRESTON
v.
VANGUARD INVESTMENT FIRM, et al.

          MEMORANDUM

          KEARNEY, J.

         Disappointed with a November 30, 2015 Order dismissing a case against her former employer, Joan Preston again sues her former employer and, this time, also sues the attorneys who represented her and her former employer. In the accompanying Order, we grant the motion of her former attorney, David M. Roller, and dismiss all claims against him and deny Ms. Preston's request for appointment of counsel.

         I. Background

         A. December 22, 2014 Complaint

         Ms. Preston first sued her former employer The Vanguard Group, Inc. ("Vanguard") on December 22, 2014 claiming age and race discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA").[1] Attorney David Roller represented Ms. Preston and the law firm of Rlehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP represented Vanguard.

         Before filing her December 2014 Complaint, Ms. Preston filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), dual filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"), alleging race and age discrimination and retaliation against Vanguard.[2] The EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter on September 24, 2014.[3]

         Ms. Preston filed an Amended Complaint on March 24, 2015 alleging discrimination based on race in violation of Title VII and the PHRA, retaliation in violation of Title VII and the PHRA, discrimination based on age in violation of ADEA and the PHRA, retaliation in violation of ADEA and the PHRA, and race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981.[4] On November 30, 2015, the Honorable Gerald J. Pappert granted summary judgment in favor of Vanguard on all claims in the Amended Complaint. Ms. Preston did not appeal.

         B. February 22, 2017 Complaint

         Instead of a timely appeal, Ms. Preston filed this action on February 22, 2017, again suing Vanguard as well as Judge Pappert, [5] Mr. Koller, and Vanguard's law firm, Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP., alleging discrimination based on race, age, and religion.[6] Ms. Preston repeated the same race and age discrimination allegations against Vanguard based on the same facts as the earlier action, again alleging actions taken by Vanguard employees to harass and discriminate against her resulting in her termination.[7] Ms. Preston alleges religious discrimination, accusing Vanguard of reprimanding her for listening to Christian music on a headset while at work and alleging ""gospel tracks" were moved on her work desk[8]

         In addition to her employment discrimination and retaliation claims against Vanguard, Ms. Preston takes issue with Attorney Roller's representation in the December 2014 action. In a letter attached to her Complaint, Ms. Preston alleges Mr. Roller's law firm represented her in the earlier action; Mr. Koller failed to retrieve surveillance videos for her defense, failed to call two witnesses to testify on her behalf in the earlier action, and failed to object to questions posed to Ms. Preston during her deposition; Mr. Koller accepted a "fee" from Vanguard instead of defending her and offered her a portion of the "fee"; and when another attorney, John Krawczyk, "left Koller Law, things changed related to my case."[9] Ms. Preston asks us to "remove" Mr. Roller's "claim for $1, 349.75."[10]

         II. Analysis

         Attorney Koller moves to dismiss Ms. Preston's complaint under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1) arguing we lack subject matter jurisdiction and under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim against him.[11]Ms. Preston did not respond to Mr. Koller's motion.

         A. We dismiss claims against Attorney Koller under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

         Mr. Koller moves to dismiss Ms. Preston's claims against him, arguing the complaint fails to state a ...


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