United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil rights action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as
amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq., and the Pennsylvania
Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 Pa.C.S.A.
§951, et seq., by plaintiff, Carrie Ann Gula
(“Gula”), in which she alleges violations of her
constitutional rights arising out of her employment with the
Pennsylvania State Police (“PSP”) and an alleged
assault incident between Gula and her boyfriend on August 1,
pending is the partial motion for summary judgment motion of
defendants Brogan, Krawetz, O'Hara, Captain David
Dougalas (“Dougalas”), Major Edward Hoke
(“Hoke”), and the PSP, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ.
Pro. 56, regarding Counts I, III, IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII of
the plaintiff's amended complaint, (Doc.
upon the following discussion, the Doc. 34 partial motion for
summary judgment will be DENIED IN ITS
proceeding on her amended complaint under §1983, Title
VII and the PHRA which was filed on August 29, 2016. (Doc.
19). The plaintiff's amended complaint raises eight
counts, to wit: (1) First Amendment retaliation claim and
Fourteenth Amendment equal protection claim based on her sex
against the individual defendants in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§1983; (2) malicious prosecution claim in violation of
the Fourth Amendment and §1983 against Krawetz, and
Brogan; (3) sex discrimination claim under Title VII against
PSP; (4) sex discrimination claim against all defendants
under the PHRA; (5) hostile work environment claim based on
sex under Title VII against PSP; (6) hostile work environment
claim based on sex against all defendants under the PHRA; (7)
retaliation claim under Title VII against PSP; and (8)
retaliation claim against all defendants under the PHRA.
March 22, 2017, Brogan, Krawetz, O'Hara, Dougalas, Hoke,
and the PSP filed a partial motion for summary judgment
motion, pursuant to Rule 56, regarding Counts I, III, IV, V,
VI, VII, and VIII of the plaintiff's amended complaint.
(Doc. 34). They simultaneously filed their statement of facts
with exhibits and a brief in support. (Doc. 35, Doc. 36,
Docs. 37-63). The plaintiff filed her brief in opposition to
the Doc. 34 motion and her response to their statement of
facts on May 10, 2017. (Doc. 86, Doc. 87). Plaintiff filed
exhibits in support of her brief. (Docs. 76-83). Defendants
filed a reply brief on June 7, 2017. (Doc. 91). Their Doc. 34
motion is now ripe for disposition by the court.
court has jurisdiction over Gula's federal claims
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331 and §1343 as well as 42
U.S.C. §2000e-5(f)(3). The court can exercise pendent
jurisdiction over the state law claims under 28 U.S.C.
§1367. Venue is proper in this court under 28 U.S.C.
court incorporates by reference the material facts of this
case from its November 9, 2017 Memoranda, (Doc. 94, Doc.
relevant times, Gula was an employee of the PSP. She was a
PSP Trooper assigned to the Patrol Section at the Trevose
Barracks, Troop M, from August 2009 until October 29, 2011.
(Doc. 84, Ex. 9). While at the Trevose Barracks, Gula filed a
complaint with the PSP alleging that she was being sexually
harassed by PSP Trooper Donald C. Brackett, who was also
assigned to that barracks. As a result of Gula's
complaint, an internal affairs investigation
(“IAD”) was initiated in August 2010 which
focused on Brackett (“Brackett IAD”), IAD
2010-05726, and his alleged harassment of Gula. Brogan, Hoke,
Krawetz and Dougalas were not aware of the Brackett IAD prior
to the filing of the instant action.
when Gula was stationed at the Trevose Barracks, she provided
statements in other IAD investigations which were conducted
at the Trevose Barracks. Brogan, Hoke, Krawetz and Dougalas
were not aware that Gula had made statements in other IAD
investigations at the Trevose Barracks. O'Hara testified
that he reviewed prior IADs involving Gula when he was
investigating the false report misconduct charges against
Gula. He reviewed the Brackett IAD, the Joyce Knoll IAD, and
the Greener case, all of which involved allegations of sex
discrimination in which Gula was listed as a witness.
October 29, 2011, Gula received a hardship transfer to Troop
N, Fern Ridge Barracks, in Monroe County, PA, where she was
assigned to patrol under the supervision of Station Commander
former supervisor at Trevose Barracks issued a report finding
that she was subjected to sexual harassment by Brackett. On
July 18, 2012, a Department Disciplinary Officer
(“DDO”) issued misconduct charges against
Brackett, namely, Unbecoming Conduct, Discrimination or
Harassment, Sexual Impropriety, Performance of Duty, Use of
Equipment and Property. Gula's claims of sexual
harassment were then sustained by the PSP. Brackett was
disciplined and he received a 15-day Suspension Without Pay
(“SWOP”) in July 2012. Brackett filed a grievance
regarding the SWOP and it was reduced eight days. Also, the
charge of sexual impropriety was removed from his record
based on his grievance.
evidence, (Doc. 86 at 2), also shows as follows:
As of August 2012, Gula was the only female in her barracks
at Fern Ridge. Of the handful female members of Troop M,
Gula's Troop, two were subject to a court martial in
recent years: Andrea Young and Carrie Gula. (Exhibit 13;
Exhibit 71). Both Young and Gula's court martials were
overturned through arbitration and they were awarded back
pay. (Id.). Both Young and Gula have subsequently
been promoted to the rank of Corporal. (Exhibits 11, 13).
August of 2012, Gula remained stationed in Troop M, at the
Fern Ridge Barracks. On August 2, 2012, Gula reported to
Jennings that she was assaulted in her uniform by her
boyfriend, Eric Thomas, on August 1, 2012, in his house in
Luzerne County, PA. Jennings contacted the Troop Headquarters
and talked to Lieutenant Brian Tobin and Dougalas, and he was
advised to make a report to Troop P, Wyoming.
August 8, 2012, Jennings also sent an email summary of his
August 2 meeting with Gula to his supervisors, Hoke and
Dougalas. The Criminal Investigation Unit at Troop P, PSP
Wyoming, in Luzerne County, was then assigned to investigate
Gula's alleged domestic assault incident. Jennings told
Gula to report to Krawetz, Commander of the Criminal Section
at PSP Wyoming. Krawetz then directed Brogan to investigate
Gula's assault allegations. As part of her investigation,
Brogan told Gula to make a written statement regarding her
allegations on August 2, 2012. Jennings was never interviewed
by Krawetz or Brogan regarding Gula's allegations. On
August 7, 2012, Brogan and Krawetz determined that Gula's
domestic violence allegations were “unfounded.”
On August 8, 2012, Krawetz entered a Blue Team Entry into
PSP's internal affairs reporting system indicating that
there was an allegation of misconduct by Gula, namely, the
filing of false reports. Krawetz did not determine the
outcome of the Blue Team Entry. Rather, he only reported the
alleged misconduct by Gula and the fact that he initiated a
criminal investigation into Gula for the crime of false
reports regarding her assault allegations against Thomas.
Also, during the course of the investigation into the alleged
assault incident Gula had reported, Thomas claimed that Gula
had “illegally accessed his ‘My Verizon'
online account.” Thus, on August 8, 2012, Krawetz
commenced a criminal investigation regarding Gula for
computer crimes in addition to false reports. (Doc. 40 at
August 9, 2012, Dougalas placed Gula on restricted duty
status pending the outcome of the criminal and internal
affairs investigations regarding her alleged false
statements. Upon conclusion of the investigations, the PSP
and its officials determined that Gula should be criminally
charged with making false statements to law enforcement
officials and for computer trespass crimes.
November 2012, Krawetz met with members of the Luzerne County
DA's Office and gave them a copy of his criminal
investigation into Gula. On December 4, 2012, the DA approved
of criminal charges and, Krawetz filed the criminal complaint
against Gula on December 13, 2012. Also, a felony arrest
warrant for Gula was obtained by Krawetz from Magisterial
District Judge Joseph J. Carmody. (Doc. 81-6, Doc. 81-7).
on December 13, 2012, Gula was suspended without pay by Hoke.
The PSP is required under the Confidence In Law Enforcement
Act (“CILEA”) to suspend any members who are
charged with crimes that can result in prison sentence of one
year or greater.
obtaining the arrest warrant, Krawetz arrested Gula and took
her into custody at PSP Hazleton. Gula was charged with the
following crimes: Unlawful Use of Computer; Computer
Trespass; Criminal Use of Communication Facility; False
Report-Falsely Incriminate Another; False Reports-Reported
Offense Did Not Occur; Unsworn Falsification to Authorities.
See the docket sheet for the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne
County, Case No. CP-40-CR-0001057-2013, Commonwealth v.
Carrie Ann Gula. (Doc. 81-7, Doc. 55-1). She was then
arraigned and released on unsecured bond.
December 4, 2012, Gula complained to Jennings, the Fern Ridge
station commander, regarding alleged constituted harassment.
Jennings decided Gula's complaints of harassment
warranted a Blue Team Entry report which he issued. (Doc. 53
at 86, 88). Jennings informed his supervisors, including
Hoke, that he issued the Blue Team Entry regarding the
alleged inappropriate conduct directed toward Gula by male
troopers in the Fern Ridge Barracks. As such, an Internal
Affairs Investigation, number IAD 2012-0811, was commenced in
December 10, 2012, Hoke sent an email with the subject
“Carrie Gula” to Captain Degnan, Commanding
Officer of Troop P Wyoming, with a copy to Robert Bartal, the
investigator for Jennings's Blue Team Entry. This was
sent at the time that Troop P was investigating the domestic
violence incident alleged by Gula.
December 12, 2012, IAD of the PSP interviewed Gula regarding
the Blue Team Entry filed by Jennings pertaining to the
harassment she was allegedly experiencing. Hoke indicated
that he spoke with the person who interviewed Gula that day.
Later on December 12, 2012, Krawetz met again with the
Luzerne County DA with respect to the Gula criminal
investigation. As indicated, the next day Gula was arrested
on criminal charges.
March 27, 2013, Gula had her preliminary hearing with respect
to her the criminal charges, (Doc. 81-8), and the charges
were bound over to county court for trial.
criminal trial commenced on March 17, 2014. (Doc. 81-12).
Prior to trial, the ADA withdrew Count 1, Unlawful Use of
Computer and Count 3, Computer Trespass. (Doc. 81-13). At the
conclusion of the trial, the jury found Gula not guilty of
all remaining charges.
March 21, 2014, Gula was placed on restricted duty by
Lieutenant Daniel J. Gentile, Jr. pending the outcome of the
internal affairs investigation into her alleged false
reports. Gula was then disciplined for providing false
information to investigators regarding the alleged domestic
11, 2014, a Disciplinary Action Report (“DAR”)
was issued to Gula charging her with the following violations
of field regulations: Unbecoming Conduct; Conformance to
Laws; Internal Investigations; and Providing False
September 24, 2014, PSP brought administrative charges
relating to false statements which notified her that she was
to be dismissed from the PSP, and would be placed in a
suspension without pay status pending the filing of any
grievance by her.
September 25, 2014, a memo was issued indicating that the PSP
decided to court martial Gula. Lt. Col. George Bivens
approved Gula's court martial on September 30, 2014.
Gula successfully pursued a grievance against the PSP through
arbitration. The arbitration award dated March 16, 2015
sustained Gula's grievance regarding her court martial
and the arbitrator found that the Commonwealth failed to show
just cause for Gula's termination by clear and convincing
evidence. However, Gula remained on suspension without pay
until the award was issued. Gula was then reinstated to her
position as a trooper with the PSP with all the entitlements
of employment, including back pay for the period of
suspension imposed pursuant to the CILEA.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate if the “pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322-23 (1986); Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp.,901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). A factual dispute is
genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving
party, and is material if it will affect the outcome of the
trial under governing substantive law. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc.,477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Aetna
Casualty & Sur. Co. v. Ericksen,903 F.Supp. 836,
838 (M.D. Pa. 1995). At the summary judgment stage,
“the judge's function is not himself to weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to
determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; see also Marino v.
Indus. Crating Co.,358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. ...