Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kinley-Davis v. NHS Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

May 29, 2018

RAVEN KINLEY-DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
NHS PHILADELPHIA, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Slomsky, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Raven Kinley-Davis, an African American woman, brings this suit against Defendants NHS Philadelphia, [1] her current employer, and Paul Sachs, a fellow employee who had supervisory authority over her.[2] (Doc. No. 1.)

         On April 24, 2017, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination (also known as an administrative complaint) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). (Id. ¶ 14.) On May 1, 2017, she received a Dismissal and Notice of Rights from the EEOC, which allowed her to file the instant Complaint. (Id. ¶ 15.)

         On July 26, 2017, Plaintiff filed the Complaint. (Id.) In Count I, she alleges claims of discrimination and retaliation based on race under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. (Id. ¶¶ 64-67.) In Count II, she alleges discrimination based on race and sex under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”). (Id. ¶¶ 68-70.) In Count III, she alleges retaliation under Title VII. (Id. ¶¶ 71-73.) In Count IV, she alleges discrimination based on race and sex under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). (Id. ¶¶ 74-77.) In Count V, she alleges retaliation under the PHRA. (Id. ¶¶ 78-80.) In Count VI, she alleges aiding and abetting under the PHRA. (Id. ¶¶ 81-83.) In Count VII, she alleges discrimination and retaliation based on race and sex as well as aiding and abetting under the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance (FPO). (Id. ¶¶ 84-88.) Thereafter, Defendants filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the Complaint. (Doc. Nos. 5-6.) On November 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition to the Partial Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. No. 8.) Defendants filed a timely Reply. (Doc. No. 12.) On December 13, 2017, a hearing was held on the Motion (Doc. No. 5), which is now ripe for disposition.[3] For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part and the case will be placed in suspense pending a decision by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) on Plaintiff's administrative complaint.

         II.ANALYSIS

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), Defendants move to dismiss the Complaint in part because they contend that for various reasons the Complaint fails to state a claim. Specifically, Defendants seek to dismiss Counts IV, V, VI and VII brought pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA) and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance (FPO); the Retaliation claims in Counts III, V and VII; and all claims made against Paul Sachs in his individual capacity in Counts VI and VII. (Id.) Each of Defendants' arguments in opposition to Plaintiff's claims will be addressed in turn.

         A. Plaintiff's PHRA and FPO Claims Will Not Be Dismissed for Failure to Exhaust Her Administrative Remedies. Rather, the Case Will Be Placed in Suspense Pending a Decision by the PHRC.

         Defendants contend that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's PHRA and FPO claims contained in Counts IV through VII of the Complaint. They assert that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under the requisite enabling statutes, given that she filed her Complaint before the one-year period in the PHRA and FPO had expired. This expiration date begins the time during which the charge of discrimination must be filed in court. The need for Plaintiff to wait one year to file suit under the PHRA or FPO would be obviated if the PHRC either has dismissed the charge or Plaintiff was a party to a conciliation agreement. Neither has been done to date. (Doc. No. 5-2 at 7.)

         A plaintiff “must exhaust all required administrative remedies before bringing a claim for judicial relief.” Mandel v. M & Q Packaging Corp., 706 F.3d 157, 163 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Robinson v. Dalton, 107 F.3d 1018, 1020 (3d Cir. 1997)). To bring a claim under the PHRA, a plaintiff must file a charge of discrimination with the PHRC or EEOC, which transmits the complaint to the PHRC, and procure a notice of the right to sue. Id.; Lukas v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp., 419 A.2d 431, 452 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1980) (explaining that transmittal of the EEOC complaint to the PHRC constitutes a filing of a verified administrative complaint). Once a complaint is filed before the PHRC, the complainant cannot file a judicial action until the PHRC dismisses the charge or enters into a conciliation agreement to which the complainant is a party. 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 962(c). Either of these events must take place within one year of the PHRC filing. Id. If the one-year period expires with no resolution by the PHRC, the complainant is then free to initiate a court action. Id. The FPO has the same requirements as to timing for when a plaintiff is permitted to bring suit in state or federal court. Phila. Code § 9-1122.

         Here, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on April 24, 2017 (Doc. No. 5-3 at 2) and received her Dismissal and Notice of Rights (otherwise known as a notice of right to sue) on May 1, 2017 (Doc. No. 19). She then filed this action on July 26, 2017 (Doc. No. 1), which was premature on the state law claims because it was filed before the one-year period in the PHRA and FPO had expired. As noted, to date, the PHRC has not dismissed the charge and there has been no conciliation agreement. Therefore, Plaintiff filed suit before exhausting her administrative remedies according to the requirements in the PHRA and FPO. 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 962(c); Phila. Code § 9-1122.

         However, for reasons stated on the record at the hearing with counsel for the parties held on December 13, 2017, the Court need not dismiss Plaintiff's claims under these statutes because it can instead place the case in suspense pending a decision by the PHRC on the charge of discrimination. Once the PHRC issues a decision, the case will be restored to active status and Plaintiff's claims will be considered as timely filed. Thus, the Court will not dismiss Plaintiff's PHRA and FPO claims contained in Counts IV through VII. Rather, the Court will place the case in suspense pending a decision by the PHRC.

         B. Plaintiff Exhausted Her Administrative Remedies as to Her Retaliation Claims Brought Pursuant to Title VII, the PHRA and the FPO

         Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's retaliation claims contained in Counts III, V and VII because Plaintiff did not include them in her charge of discrimination with the EEOC. For this reason, Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies. In her Response, Plaintiff does not dispute that she did not check the box on her charge of discrimination alleging retaliation. However, she asserts that because she alleged “numerous instances where Defendants retaliated against her as a result of her reporting claims ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.