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Boyle v. PMA Medical Specialists, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 10, 2017



          C. Darnell Jones, II

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Evette Boyle (“Plaintiff”) commenced the above-captioned action against Defendant PMA Medical Specialists, LLC (“PMA”) and John Doe Defendants No. 1-10, alleging violations of: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.A. § 2000e-2(a), et seq. (“Title VII”) (Count I); Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.A. §621, et seq. (“ADEA”) (Count II); and The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. C.S.A. §951, et seq. (“PHRA”) (Count III). Defendant PMA has filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion shall be granted.

         II. Background

         This case arises out of Plaintiff Evette Boyle's termination from employment at PMA Medical Specialists, LLC. Defendant PMA Medical Specialists, LLC is a limited liability company incorporated and domiciled in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 2.) Defendants John Does are employees who were allegedly involved in the events set forth in Plaintiff's Complaint. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff claims her termination was motivated by her status as a Jewish woman who was older than her co-workers. (Compl. ¶ 32.)

         On or about August 28, 2008, Plaintiff was hired as a sleep technician by Defendant PMA. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff alleges that from January 2010 until her termination, she was the subject of a hostile work environment by the conduct of her supervisor Rob Carney and her coworker, Angelo DeMaio. (Compl. ¶ 11.) On or about January 13, 2010, Mr. Carney allegedly threw a jar of paste at Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶14.) On or about November 20, 2010, Plaintiff raised a disagreement about “seniority” with Mr. DeMaio, who Plaintiff alleges referred to her as a “cunt.” (Compl. ¶¶16-17.) Plaintiff Boyle complained to Mr. Carney, who advised Ms. Boyle to “work it out between you two.” (Compl. ¶19.) Also in 2010, Plaintiff alleges that as she was having a discussion with Mr. DeMaio about their salaries, Mr. DeMaio said that the doctors who own PMA were “money hungry grubbing Jews.” (Compl. ¶ 21.)

         On or about August 21, 2015, Defendant terminated Ms. Boyle's employment. (Compl. ¶ 26.) Plaintiff learned three weeks prior to her termination that Defendant hired two new sleep technicians who were younger than Ms. Boyle and were not Jewish. (Compl. ¶¶ 27-28.) Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Carney told her Defendant “had no room here for someone like you.” (Compl. ¶29.) When Plaintiff inquired as to the meaning of his statement, he allegedly told her “we owe you nothing, you're done.” (Compl. ¶ 31.)

         Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and on February 23, 2016, was issued a right-to-sue letter. (Compl. Ex. A.) On or about February 28, 2016, the EEOC right-to-sue letter reached Plaintiff's counsel. (Compl. Ex. A.) On March 24, 2016, Defendant PMA filed a petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Def.'s Ex. A.) On or about May 20, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant federal civil action Complaint. (ECF No. 1.) However, the bankruptcy petition had the effect of staying Plaintiff's action against Defendant in this Court. (ECF No. 8.) On or about May 4, 2016, the bankruptcy court entered an Order setting July 8, 2016 as the general bar date for filing proofs of claim. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. B.) On May 24, 2016, Plaintiff mailed a copy of the Complaint to Defendant. (Pl.'s Br. Opp'n Mot. Dismiss 1.) On or about June 2, 2016, PMA filed an amended schedule of unsecured claims with the bankruptcy court, including Plaintiff's claim, as contingent, unliquidated, and disputed in unknown amount. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. D.) On June 8, 2016, Defendant PMA served a copy of the amended schedule and on June 10, 2016, Plaintiff received a notice of Defendant's bankruptcy filing. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. D.; Pl.'s Opp'n Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. B.) Defendant's counsel sent Plaintiff's counsel written correspondence on June 14, 2016, informing him that Plaintiff's Complaint was filed after the bankruptcy petition date and in violation of the stay ordered by the bankruptcy court. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. E.) On June 20, 2016, PMA served Plaintiff with the notice of the bar date for filing proofs of claim. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. F.) Defendant served the Second Amended Plan of Reorganization and Disclosure Statement on creditors on August 3, 2016, and on September 6, 2016, the Bankruptcy Court entered an order confirming t said Plan. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. H.) The Plan was served on all of Defendant's creditors- including Plaintiff- on September 6, 2016. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. I.) On November 16, 2016, this Court stayed the instant matter, pending further action by the bankruptcy court. (ECF Doc. No. 8.)

         On January 25, 2017, the bankruptcy court granted Defendant PMA's motion for a final decree and closing of the bankruptcy. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. J.) Plaintiff was present at the January 30, 2017 hearing and petitioned for relief from the stay imposed by the bankruptcy filing. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. K.) The bankruptcy court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Relief from Stay. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. K.) On February 1, 2017, the bankruptcy case was closed and a final decree was entered. (Pl.'s Br. Opp'n Mot. Dismiss 2.)

         III. Discussion

         A. Plaintiff's Failure to File a Timely Proof of Claim Bars Her Complaint in This Court

         Bankruptcy Rule 3003(c) “requires that claimants against an estate in bankruptcy under Chapter 11 file timely proofs of claim in order to participate in a reorganization.” Chemetron Corp. v. Jones, 72 F.3d 341, 346 (3d Cir. 1995). “These proofs of claim must be filed prior to a bar date established by the bankruptcy court.” Chemetron Corp. v. Jones, 72 F.3d at 346 (citing Fed. R. Bank. P. 3003(c)(3)). It is well established that “after the passage of the bar claims date, a claimant cannot participate in the reorganization unless she establishes sufficient grounds for the failure to file a proof of claim.” Chemetron, 72 F.2d at 346. When the court is considering whether a creditor's failure to file a proof of claim is excusable, the creditor is afforded the “fundamental principles of due process.” JELD-WEN, Inc. v. Van Brunt (In re Grossman's Inc.), 607 F.3d 114, 125 (3d Cir. 2010). “Notice is an elementary and fundamental requirement of due process in any proceeding which is to be accorded finality.” JELD-WEN, 607 F.3d at 126 (citing 11 U.S.C.S. § 342(a)). “Without notice of a bankruptcy claim, the claimant will not have a meaningful opportunity to protect his or her claim.” JELD-WEN, 607 F.3d. at 126.

         Defendant maintains that Plaintiff's claim is barred due to her failure to file a proof of claim. Indeed, there is no evidence that Plaintiff made any effort to file a claim even after the passing of the bar date on July 8, 2016. Plaintiff was on notice as to Defendant's bankruptcy, as she was served with copies of the amended schedule on June 2, 2016 and June 8, 2016. (Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. D.) On June 10, 2016, Plaintiff's counsel received a copy of Defendant PMA's bankruptcy and on June 20, 2016, served Plaintiff with notice of the bankruptcy court's July 8, 2016 bar date for filing proofs of claim. (Pl.'s Opp'n Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. B; Def.'s Mot. Dismiss Ex. F.) Accordingly, Plaintiff received notice of the bankruptcy on several occasions, yet did not act on these notices. See, Chemetron Corp., 72 F.3d at 341 (permitting Plaintiff's motion to file late claims only after the defendant failed to inform Plaintiffs of the general bar date for filing of their claims). Plaintiff was afforded her due process right to notice of Defendant PMA's bankruptcy and was therefore given “meaningful opportunity” to protect her claim. When Plaintiff failed to comply with the procedures of the bankruptcy court in filing a proof of claim, she relinquished her right to protect same. Accordingly, she is not entitled to relief on this basis.

         B. Plaintiff Was Not Entitled to Relief from ...

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