United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann, United States District Judge.
November 3, 2017, Plaintiff, Kim Wilt, hereinafter
“Wilt, ” filed a four-count complaint against
Defendants, her employers, Mahoning Township, hereinafter
“the Township, ” T.S. Scott, hereinafter
“Scott, ” and William Lynn, hereinafter
“Lynn.” Thereafter, on January 16, 2018,
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim for
relief. Plaintiff failed to file an opposing brief, pursuant
to Middle District Local Rule 7.6. Although I could have
deemed the motion unopposed pursuant to that Local Rule, a
dismissal of the action without an opportunity to be heard
seemed too drastic a sanction for failure to file a brief in
opposition. Accordingly, on March 19, 2018, I ordered
Plaintiff to file an opposing brief, which she did. The
motion to dismiss, now ripe for disposition, will be granted,
but Plaintiff will be provided leave to amend her complaint,
if she is able to do so.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
considering a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted,  a court assumes the truth of
all factual allegations in a plaintiff's complaint and
draws all inferences in favor of that party; the Court does
not, however, assume the truth of any of the complaint's
legal conclusions. If a complaint's factual allegations,
so treated, state a claim that is plausible - i.e.,
if they allow the court to infer the Defendant's
liability - the motion is denied; if they fail to do so, the
motion is granted.
Facts Alleged in the Complaint
facts alleged in the amended complaint, which I must accept
as true for the purposes of this motion, are as follows.
9. Plaintiff, Kim Wilt, is a member of a protected class (sex
- female), engaged in protected activity during her
employment with Defendants, including filing two complaints
with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the
United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ms.
Wilt is a lifelong resident of the Danville, Pennsylvania
area, where she resides with her husband and children.
10. Defendant Mahoning Township (hereinafter “Mahoning
Township) is a Pennsylvania municipality with a principal
place of business at 849 Bloom Road Danville, Pennsylvania
17821. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant Mahoning
Township is engaged in commerce throughout the United States,
employs in excess of 15 employees, is an employer pursuant to
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et
seq. is liable for Plaintiff's damages, and is
responsible for the acts of its supervisory employees.
11. Defendant T.S. Scott (hereinafter “Defendant Scott)
is an adult male employed as a Supervisor with Mahoning
Township and works at 849 Bloom Road Danville, Pennsylvania
17821. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant Scott
exercised control over the terms, conditions, and privileges
of Ms. Wilt's employment. He is being sued in his
individual capacity for First Amendment retaliation against
Ms. Wilt as enforced through Section 1983 of the Civil Rights
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
12. Defendant William Lynn (hereinafter “Defendant
Lynn) is an adult male employed as a Supervisor with Mahoning
Township and works at 849 Bloom Road Danville, Pennsylvania
17821. At all times relevant hereto, Defendant Lynn exercised
control over the terms, conditions, and privileges of Ms.
Wilt's employment. He is being sued in his individual
capacity for First Amendment retaliation against Ms. Wilt as
enforced through Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, 42
U.S.C. § 1983.
16. After attending a year of college, Ms. Wilt applied for a
position with Mahoning Township, which is located in
Danville, Pennsylvania, Ms. Wilt's hometown.
17. Ms. Wilt was hired on February 13, 1995 for a Secretary
position for the Police Department at a rate of pay of $6.25
18. Ms. Wilt was the only female employed with the Township.
19. Over the past twenty-two years, Ms. Wilt has performed
successfully in her position with the Township and has never
received any negative performance reviews or formal
20. Over the past twenty-two years, Ms. Wilt has earned
raises in pay, and she currently earns $22.27 per hour.
21. Ms. Wilt is a member of a union.
22. Ms. Wilt was the only female employee of the Township
until December 31, 2015 when the Township hired a female
23. Ms. Wilt is the only female employee with the Union,
24. Until January 2017, Ms. Wilt was the lowest paid employee
of the Township, despite having worked for the Township for
over twenty years.
25. Until January 2017, Ms. Wilt was the lowest paid employee
with the Union.
26. Ms. Wilt performs her job duties at the Mahoning Township
building located at 849 Bloom Road, Danville, Pennsylvania
17821. The Mahoning Township Supervisors control the terms,
conditions, and privileges of Ms. Wilt's employment.
28. In June 2015, Ms. Wilt engaged in First Amendment
protected speech by providing truthful testimony regarding an
issue of public safety.
29. Ms. Wilt reported that Mahoning Township police officers
had been “huffing” aerosol inhalants on the job
at the Mahoning Township building, and were engaged in an
illegal wiretap in the workplace.
30. On July 10, 2015, Ms. Wilt filed a complaint and charge
of discrimination with the Pennsylvania Human Relations
Commission and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity
31. After providing truthful testimony and reporting a matter
of public concern, including to the Montour County District
Attorney, Ms. Wilt was subjected to disparagement by the
Township and in the local media.
32. On April 19, 2016, Ms. Wilt filed a second complaint and
charge of discrimination with the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission and the United States Equal Employment
33. In July 2016, the Montour County Common Pleas judge
appointed Ken Woodruff, Ms. Wilt's father, to a Township
Supervisor position that was vacant.
34. In November 2016, Ms. Wilt and the Township reached a
settlement on Ms. Wilt's complaint of sex discrimination
filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
35. Given that the Township eventually disciplined and
removed the police officers that were engaged in the
prohibited activities and having reached a resolution to her
complaints including an anti-retaliation provision, Ms. Wilt
believed the Township would not retaliate against her or
discriminate against her for her activity.
36. On December 16, 2016, Defendant Supervisor Lynn advised
the Mahoning Township Supervisors that they would be taking
over the Water/Sewer Authority.
37. Defendant Supervisor Lynn stated that the Supervisors are
going to be raising the wages of Ms. Wilt and Bret LeVan
(male employee of the Water/Sewer Authority) so that they
would be equal to the other (male) employees of the Street
38. On January 10, 2017, Defendant Supervisor Lynn brought up
the wage increase and told Ms. Wilt that her wages would be
increased in February when they took over the Water/Sewer
39. On January 17, 2017, Defendant Supervisors Lynn and Scott
asked Ms. Wilt to come into work on her day off, January 20,
2017, to notarize documents for the Water/Sewer Authority
40. Ms. Wilt agreed to come into work, and Supervisor Lynn
again stated that once the Water/Sewer takeover was complete,
they would bring Bret LeVan into the union and bring her and
his wages up to the current Street Department wages.
41. Ms. Wilt learned that she had been paid significantly
less than all the other male employees of the Township for
over a decade.
42. The male union employees were earning $4.00 per hour more
than Ms. Wilt.
43. This pay disparity results in Ms. Wilt being paid
approximately $8, 000.00 less the male union employees.
44. Additionally, the pay disparity negatively affects Ms.
Wilt's defined benefit retirement plan with the Township,
as her retirement is based on her highest wages times years
45. On January 20, 2017, Defendant Supervisor Lynn and Scott
asked whether Ms. Wilt would be seeking back pay for the 10
years that she was paid less than the other employees (all of
whom were male).
46. Ms. Wilt responded that she should be entitled to receive
back pay especially since the Township just awarded two
Street Department employees (both male) 10 years on longevity
47. Ms. Wilt requested her salary grade be reviewed and
complained that she was not being paid equally to other, male
48. The other, employees with similar job responsibilities as
Ms. Wilt, were treated more favorably than Ms. Wilt, and paid
a higher grade and hourly rate 49. Ms. Wilt presented the
information on the pay disparity to the Township.
50. On January 24, 2017, Ms. Wilt met with Melissa Kelso, the
Township's outside counsel.
51. Ms. Wilt specifically told Ms. Kelso that the union
members (male) have previously stated that they did not think
that a secretary should make as much as a Street Department
52. Ms. Kelso said that it was “silly for them to say
that” and advised Ms. Wilt that she should have been
brought up to the current Street Department wages in 1995.
53. Ms. Kelso said that if there would be any back pay
awarded to Ms, Wilt it would be for the two years prior to
the Union coming in and creating the classification.
54. There was no union representative present during Ms.
Wilt's meetings with the Township's attorney and
supervisors regarding her pay increase.
55. The Township specifically agreed to pay Ms. Wilt two
years of back pay and raise her hourly wages to the same as
the male union employees.
56. Supervisor Woodruff did not participate in any actions or
voting concerning Ms. Wilt's wage complaints.
57. On January 25, 2017, Ms. Wilt's union steward
informed her that she was being given a release to sign and
return, asking her sarcastically if she “was
happy.” 58. Ms, Wilt responded that she ...