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Norfolk v. The Geo Group, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 1, 2019

STEPHEN W. NORFOLK and BRANDY M. NORFOLK, Plaintiffs,
v.
THE GEO GROUP, INC., d/b/a MOSHANNON VALLEY CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KIM R.GIBSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Introduction

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs Stephen W. Norfolk and Brandy M. Norfolk's (collectively, "Plaintiffs") Motion for Leave to File a Third Amended Complaint (ECF No. 35). Defendant the Geo Group, Inc., d/b/a Moshannon Valley Correctional Center ("Defendant"), opposes the Motion. The Motion has been fully briefed (see ECF Nos. 35, 39-40) and is ripe for disposition.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court will DENY Plaintiffs' Motion.

         II. Background[1]

         A. Factual History

         Defendant operates a private prison in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 18 ¶ 5.) Plaintiffs are both former employees of Defendant. (Id. ¶ 6.)

         1. Stephen W. Norfolk

         Mr. Norfolk was employed by Defendant as a Corrections Officer beginning in February 2006. (Id. ¶ 8.)

         In 2014, Defendant hired Robert Parrish, a black man, to be Mr. Norfolk's supervisor. (Id. ¶¶ 9-10.) Mr. Norfolk, who is white, alleges that he endured "harassing and racially discriminatory comments" from Mr. Parrish beginning shortly after Mr. Parrish was hired. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiffs allege that Mr. Parrish subjected Mr. Norfolk to "open, verbal racial slurs" on a regular basis (id. ¶ 56), and they describe several occasions between December 2014 and Mr. Norfolk's termination in February 2016 when Mr. Parrish made "racially charged discriminatory comments" to him. (Id. ¶¶ 12-21.)

         Plaintiffs believe that Mr. Parrish gave preferential treatment to black employees, in part by reprimanding white employees while black employees were not reprimanded in the same or similar manner. (Id. ¶¶ 22, 55.) Plaintiffs note several times between Mr. Parrish's hiring and Mr. Norfolk's termination where black employees were allegedly given preferential treatment compared to white employees. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23.)

         Plaintiffs claim that Mr. Norfolk reported Mr. Parrish's behavior to Donald Emerson, the Associate Warden, and to a human resources employee. (Id. ¶¶ 13, 17.) Plaintiffs allege that neither employee took any action to stop the harassment. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 20.) Further, Plaintiffs assert that Mr. Parrish retaliated against Mr. Norfolk after he reported Mr. Parrish's behavior. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 21, 63.)

         Mr. Norfolk was placed on administrative leave without pay on February 5, 2016, after Mr. Parrish formally disciplined him for not attending a security meeting and not receiving certain required training. (Id. ¶¶ 26-27.) Mr. Norfolk filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on February 10, 2016. (Id. ¶ 28.) Mr. Norfolk was then terminated on April 25, 2016, for "failure to follow policy." (Id. ¶ 33.) Mr. Norfolk alleges that he was terminated on the basis of his race, "as a result of his multiple reports to Human Resources about [Mr.] Parrish's racially charged and harassing comments," and as a result of his EEOC complaint. (Id. ¶¶ 31, 32, 57.)

         2. ...


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