United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Claude Harris filed this civil action against the
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
("SEPTA"), "Worker's Comp, "
"Christina Barbieri Assoc, " and "any third
party that may be involved, " pursuant to Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42
U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the Americans with
Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12112,
et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
("PHRA"), 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §§951-963.
He also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis
and a request for the appointment of counsel. For the
following reasons, I will grant Plaintiff leave to proceed
in forma pauperis. However, I will dismiss
Plaintiffs complaint and deny his request for the appointment
began working for SEPTA in 1989. He was injured in 1991 and
was placed on light duty until 1992. Plaintiff last worked
for SEPTA in 1992. Plaintiff subsequently filed a workers
compensation claim. He alleges that an appeal of that claim
was granted in 2001 and that the appeal is still pending.
point in or after 1999, Plaintiff filed a charge of
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC"). On January 29, 2002, through a
telephone conversation, the EEOC informed Plaintiff that
"the last date of violation in the matter occurred in
1992." The EEOC determined that Plaintiffs charge of
discrimination was untimely because Plaintiff did not file it
within 300 days. The EEOC also concluded that
"notwithstanding the expiration of statutory time limits
for filing, the issues [Plaintiff] raise[d] fall within the
purview of Workers Compensation." In a letter to
Plaintiff dated January 31, 2002, the EEOC reiterated that no
further action would be taken on Plaintiffs matter.
continued to pursue his charge with the EEOC. On July 26,
2017, the EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights. In
that document, the EEOC indicated that Plaintiffs charge was
not timely filed with the EEOC because he "waited too
long after the date(s) of the alleged discrimination to file
[his] charge." On August 30, 2017, Plaintiff also
received a letter from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's
Human Relations Commission ("the Commission"). In
that letter, the Commission informed Plaintiff that his
complaint pursuant to the PHRA would not be accepted because
it was untimely.
instant complaint followed. By marking the appropriate
locations on the form complaint, Plaintiff indicated that
SEPTA had discriminated against him by failing to hire him,
terminating his employment, failing to promote him, failing
to accommodate his disability, failing to stop harassment,
and by retaliating against him. Plaintiff also indicated that
SEPTA had discriminated against him based on his race.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
will be granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis
because it appears he is not capable of prepaying the fees
required to commence this action. However, a court is
required to dismiss a complaint filed in forma
pauperis "at any time" if it fails to state a
claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable
to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236,
240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires a court to determine
whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). Conclusory
statements and naked assertions will not suffice.
Id. "[T]he plausibility paradigm announced in
Twomblv applies with equal force to analyzing the
adequacy of claims of employment discrimination."
Fowler v. UMPC Shadvside, 578 F.3d 203, 211 (3d Cir.
2009) (quotations omitted). Accordingly, courts evaluating
the viability of an employment discrimination complaint
should "disregard legal conclusions and recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements." Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629
F.3d 121, 128 (3d Cir. 2010) (quotations omitted).
a court may dismiss claims based on an affirmative defense if
the affirmative defense is obvious from the face of the
complaint. See Ray v. Kertes, 285 F.3d 287, 297 (3d
Cir. 2002); see also McPherson v. United States, 392
Fed.Appx. 938, 943 (3d Cir. 2010).
because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, his
allegations must be construed liberally. Higgs v.
Att'v Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
establish a prima facie case of employment
discrimination under Title VII, a plaintiff must show that:
(1) he is a member of a protected class; (2) he was qualified
for the position he sought; (3) he was rejected for the
position despite his qualifications, and; (4) the rejection
occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of
discrimination. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 (1973); see also Sarullo v.
U.S. Postal Serv., 352 F.3d 789, 797 (3d Cir. 2003). To
establish a prima facie case of retaliation, a
plaintiff must show that (1) he engaged in activity protected
by Title VII; (2) his employer took an adverse action against
him; and (3) ...