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Madden v. Jones

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

May 2, 2018

DR. SEAN C. MADDEN, Plaintiff,


          Nora Barry Fischer United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court in this matter is a Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction filed by Defendant Geraldine Jones. (Docket No. 23). Having considered Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, (Docket No. 22); Defendant's motion to dismiss and supporting briefing, (Docket Nos. 23, 24); and Plaintiff's response in opposition, (Docket Nos. 28, 29, 30), Defendant Geraldine Jones's motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

         II. Background

         This matter arises from Plaintiff's employment at California University. The following facts are alleged in the Second Amended Complaint, which the Court will accept as true for the sole purpose of deciding the pending motion.

         Plaintiff was hired by California University in 1988 as a professor in the History Department and achieved tenured status in 1996. (Docket No. 22 at ¶ 7). Throughout his employment at California University, Dr. Madden was a well-regarded, contributing member of the faculty and held leadership positions on campus, including, but not limited to, Chair of the History Department. (Id. at ¶ 8). He was appointed as Interim Dean for the College of Liberal Arts on July 5, 2005, and served as same until his full diaconal appointment on July 1, 2006. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10). Dr. Madden served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts until January 1, 2007, when he was appointed to Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, a position which he held until he was named full Provost and Vice President on October 8, 2007. (Id. at ¶ 11). He served as Provost and Vice President for one year, until the decision was made by California University's leadership that he return to the academic faculty. (Id. at 12).

         After discussion and negotiation, Dr. Madden was presented with a written “settlement” agreement to restore him to the faculty. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-14). The Settlement Agreement provided for Dr. Madden's return to the classroom and for a full restoration to his pre-appointment status as follows:

The faculty has voted to reinstate Madden as a full professor in the Department of History and Political Science. Beginning July 1, 2009, Madden will be reinstated as a full time faculty member with tenure at step 13 and will be assigned a teaching workload in accordance with the APSCUF contract. Upon his return to a faculty position he is not entitled to any accommodations to compensate for the reduction in salary resulting from his resignation as Provost.

(Id. at ¶¶ 15-16; see also Docket No. 22-1 at 2). A collective bargaining agreement governing the academic faculty provides:

Members of the ADMINISTRATIVE FACULTY, who in the opinion of the President have the requisite qualifications to teach in a department, may be placed in a full-time, budgeted, available, uncommitted teaching vacancy in a department, provided that the approval of the majority secret ballot vote of the regular full-time FACULTY in the receiving department has been obtained prior to the appointment. An ADMINISTRATIVE FACULTY MEMBER placed in such a position shall retain all University-wide seniority credit previously accrued.

(Docket No. 22 at ¶ 18 (emphasis omitted); see also Docket No. 22-2 at 3).

         Despite these provisions, California University, through Defendant, has refused to recognize Dr. Madden's seniority points earned during each year of academic service dating from 1988 and, instead, only recognizes the seniority points earned following Dr. Madden's return to the academic faculty from 2009 to the present. (Docket No. 22 at ¶ 20). Dr. Madden attempted to exercise his administrative remedies pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement, but the union and the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Facilities (“APSCUF”) asserted that his dispute arose out of the terms of the settlement agreement rather than the collective bargaining agreement. (Id. at ¶¶ 23-26). Plaintiff admits that no further action has been taken. (Id.). When Dr. Madden addressed the issue with Defendant, she advised him that he would have to file a lawsuit to protect his seniority points. (Id. at ¶ 27).

         In March 2017, California University announced in a letter its intention to pursue faculty retrenchment, citing financial reasons. (Id. at ¶ 28). Yet, in a letter dated July 21, 2017, California University announced that the retrenchment was withdrawn. (Id. at ¶ 30). This letter was “silent as to the indefiniteness of the withdrawal.” (Id.). According to the collective bargaining agreement and the policies of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (“PASSHE”), the most junior faculty members in an impacted academic department, including the History Department, were to be retrenched. (Id. at ¶ 31). Dr. Madden learned that because California University and Defendant have refused to credit his accrued seniority points, he is the least tenured and most junior member of the History Department. (Id. at ¶ 32). Dr. Madden contends that he is being targeted by PASSHE and Defendant because of his relationship with former California University President Angelo Armenti, Jr., who fell out of favor with PASSHE and was terminated. (Id. at ¶ 34).

         Plaintiff filed this action on August 30, 2017, asserting claims against Defendant, California University, and PASSHE for procedural due process violations, substantive due process violations, and declaratory judgment. (Docket No. 1). In response to Defendant, California University, and PASSHE's motion to dismiss, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint against Defendant and California University. (Docket Nos. 8, 13). After Defendant and California University filed a motion to dismiss, Plaintiff responded, wherein he stipulated to the dismissal of California University and relied upon facts outside the Amended Complaint. (Docket Nos. 15, 19, 21). Accordingly, the Court denied, without prejudice, the motion to dismiss and ordered Plaintiff to file a Second Amended Complaint. Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on February 21, 2018, asserting claims against Defendant for procedural due process violations, substantive due ...

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