United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Kerry Rizzotto bring this suit against her former employer,
Defendant Quad Learning, Inc. ("Quad"), and several
individuals employed at Quad (collectively "Individual
Defendants"), alleging Quad's termination of her
employment violated various federal, state, and local
non-discrimination statutes. Specifically, Plaintiff brings
the following eight claims against all Defendants: (1)
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of
1967, 29 U.S.C. § §§621, et seq.
("ADEA"); (2) violation of the Older Workers
Benefit Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. § 626(f)(1)
("OWBPA"); (3) age discrimination in violation of
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. C.S.A.
§§ 951, et seq. ("PHRA"); (4)
retaliation in violation of the PHRA, id. at §
955(d); (5) aiding and abetting discrimination in violation
of the PHRA, id. at § 955(e); (6) age
discrimination in violation of the Philadelphia Fair
Practices Ordinance, Phila. Code § 9- 1103
("PFPO"); (7) retaliation in violation of the PFPO,
id. at § 9-1103(1)(g); and (8) aiding and .,
abetting discrimination in violation of the PFPO,
id. at § 9-1103(1)(h). Now pending is
Defendants' motion to dismiss the Complaint for failure
to state a claim, -which will be granted in part and denied
in part for the following reasons.
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
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) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). The district court must "construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine
whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the
plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Fowler v. VPMC
Shady side, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009).
"[U]nder Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant has the burden of
showing no claim has been stated." Kehr Packages,
Inc. v. Fidelcor, Inc., 926 F.2d 1406, 1409 (3d Cir.
is a 49-year-old New Jersey resident. In 2016, she took a job
in Philadelphia as -an Associate Program Director for Quad, a
Washington, D.C. corporation that specializes in
international enrollment management. For the period relevant
here, the Individual Defendants- LeRoy Pingho, Leigh Miller,
Alyson Krawchuck, and Nick Geremia-were also Quad employees:
Pingho was the Chief Executive Officer, Miller was the Senior
Vice President for International Operations and Sales,
Krawchuck was Plaintiffs manager, and Geremia was another
Associate Program Director.
August 2017, Plaintiff met with the Individual Defendants,
informed her that Geremia had been promoted to a new
supervisory role. Plaintiff was never advised that there was
a job opening for the position. Moreover, Quad promoted
Geremia over Plaintiff, even though he lacked experience in
the field and was less qualified for the position.
Plaintiff raised the issue of Geremia's promotion with
the Individual Defendants, they threatened, ridiculed,
berated, and yelled at her. The Individual Defendants also
excluded Plaintiff from trainings, employee events, and vital
meetings. As a result of Individual Defendants' conduct,
Plaintiff felt humiliated, embarrassed, and emotionally
distressed. On February 7, 2017, in an email to all Quad
employees, Krawchuck informed Plaintiff that she had been
25, 2018, Plaintiff dual-filed charges of work place
discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human
Relations Commission ("PHRC"). On August 5, 2018,
the EEOC concluded its investigation and issued Plaintiff a
Right-to-Sue Letter, which, consistent with the ADEA,
provided Plaintiff ninety days to file a lawsuit on her
federal claim. Plaintiff duly filed this suit on October 24,
move to dismiss Plaintiffs claims on a host of grounds,
specifically that she: (1) released Defendant from liability;
(2) failed to exhaust her administrative remedies for her
PHRA and PFPO claims; (3) may not maintain claims under the
PI IRA and PFPO against the Individual Defendants; (4) is not
entitled to punitive damages on her ADEA and PHRA claims;,
and, (5) is not entitled to compensatory damages for pain and
suffering on her ADEA claim.Defendant's arguments will be
addressed in turn.
assert that Plaintiffs claims are barred by the
"Separation and Release of Claims Agreement" (the
"Release") purportedly executed by Plaintiff upon
her termination from Quad, which Defendants have attached to
their motion to dismiss. Defendants' argument is
unavailing, however, as the Court cannot consider the Release
at this stage of the proceedings.
considering a motion to dismiss a court "may not
consider matters extraneous to the pleadings." U.S.
Express Lines Ltd. v. Higgins,281 F.3d 383, 388 (3d
Cir. 2002). A limited exception to this general rule,
however, is that "a document integral to or explicitly
relied upon in the complaint may be
considered."Id. Here, the Release does not
fall within the ambit of that exception because nowhere in
the Complaint does Plaintiff cite or refer to the Release.
Nor is the Release integral to the Complaint, as her claims
are not "based upon" the document. Hartig Drug
Co. Inc. v. Senju Pharm. Co.,836 F.3d 261, 273 (3d Cir.
2016). Rather, Plaintiffs discrimination claims are premised
on her treatment in the work place and eventual termination,
not a document that purportedly set forth the parties'
rights after that termination. Id. at 274
("[The court] cannot say that the [document] was
integral to [plaintiffs] claims. It is integral only to the
Defendants' attack on those claims."); New
Legion Co., Inc. v. Thandi, 2018 WL 2121523, at *6 (E.D.
Pa. May 8, 2018) (finding "release purportedly executed
between the parties" and ...