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Dodson v. Coatesville Hospital Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

June 28, 2017

Patricia A. Dodson, Plaintiff,
v.
Coatesville Hospital Corporation d/b/a Brandywine Hospital, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM RE

          BAYLSON, J.

         I. Introduction

         This is an employment discrimination case in which Plaintiff Patricia Dodson (“Ms. Dodson” or “Plaintiff”) alleges that she was wrongfully terminated by her employer, Defendant Coatesville Hospital Corporation (“Defendant” or “Hospital”). In her Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff advances six claims:

• Count I: ADA Claim for Associational Disability Discrimination
• Count II: PHRA Claim for Associational Disability Discrimination
• Count III: ADEA Claim
• Count IV: PHRA Claim for Age Discrimination
• Count V: ADA Claim for Retaliation
• Count VI: PHRA Claim for Retaliation

         Pending before the court is Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, in which Defendant seeks (1) dismissal of Counts III and IV of Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, and (2) partial dismissal of Count V. Defendant's Motion will be GRANTED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

         II. Background

         Taking Plaintiff's allegations as true, as is required at this stage, the factual background is as follows. Plaintiff Patricia Dodson was born in 1960, making her 56 years old at the time of her Second Amended Complaint. Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), ECF 7, ¶ 8. Ms. Dodson began her position as Director of Physician Practices at Brandywine Hospital on May 10, 2010, which she alleges that she was well-qualified for. SAC ¶¶ 12-13. As Director of Physician Practices, Plaintiff reported to Bryan Burklow, the CEO of Brandywine Hospital. Id. ¶ 12.

         Plaintiff alleges that in January 2011, her husband underwent surgery and treatment for colon cancer. Id. ¶ 14. Colon cancer affected all of Mr. Dodson's major life activities, and ultimately caused his death in February 2014. Id. Plaintiff alleges that while her husband was undergoing significant cancer treatment, Mr. Burklow began to inaccurately criticize her work performance. Id. ¶ 15. Mr. Burklow suggested that Mr. Dodson's condition was a distraction to Plaintiff's work, and would express frustration rather than concern for Plaintiff when she did not know the answers to Mr. Burklow's questions regarding Mr. Dodson's prognosis and course of treatment. Id. ¶ 16.

         At a staff meeting on October 2011, Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Burklow made the comment that the Hospital's profitability was impacted by health insurance costs, and that some of those in leadership positions had serious illnesses in their families, and that he thought this was “because of our age.” Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff alleges that since Mr. Burklow became the CEO of the Hospital, the Hospital had engaged in a pattern of discriminatory behavior toward older workers. Id. ¶ 20. In support of this allegation, Plaintiff lists twelve “older and middle aged employees” ...


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