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Allen v. Lackawanna County Board of Commissioners

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 23, 2019

JO ANN ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
LACKAWANNA COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Robert D. Mariani, United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Presently before the Court is a Report and Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. 46) by Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in which she recommends that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 36) be granted in part and denied in part (Doc. 46 at 42). The operative complaint was filed on January 31, 2019, and is titled "Magistrate Judge Ordered, Amended Complaint." (Doc. 35.) In a Memorandum Opinion issued on March 14, 2019, the Court stated that "[t]he record in this case is muddled" (Doc. 42 at 2), an assessment in large part based on the pro se Plaintiffs numerous unorthodox filings (id. at 2-6). In the process of clarifying the record, the Court accepted the January 31, 2019, filing (Doc. 35) as Plaintiffs "Second Amended Complaint." (Doc. 42 at 8.)

         In the R&R under consideration, Magistrate Judge Mehalchick recommends that Defendants' motion be granted as to the following claims:

a. Plaintiffs Disability Discrimination Claim brought under the ADA;
b. Plaintiffs private causes of action brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983; 42 U.S.C. 1981(a)- 42 U.S.C. 12101-12213 and 12203; 43 PS 951-963; 29 U.S.C. 2601, et seq.; 29 U.S.C. 623(d); 28 C.F.R. 28, 35, 130-140; 43 28 C.F.R. 42.510-42.512; 29 CFR Labor 1630-1630.9; and Title 42, Pa Tort Claims Act, 8545;
c. Plaintiffs Retaliation Claim brought under the FMLA;
d. Plaintiffs Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Claim in connection with her March 11, 2015 suspension, her July 18, 2016 functional demotion and July 22, 2018 written warning; and
e. Plaintiffs state law claims for fraud and, to the extent such a claim may be liberally construed, intentional infliction of emotional distress.

(Doc. 46 at 42-43.) She recommends that the motion be denied as to the following claims:

a. Plaintiffs Retaliation Claim under the ADA;
b. Plaintiffs Hostile Work Environment Claim under the ADA;
c. Plaintiffs Failure to Accommodate Claim under the ADA; and
d. Plaintiffs Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Claims brought against Lackawanna County in connection with her October 19, 2016, and November 1, 2016 Pre-Termination Notices.

(Doc. 46 at 43.) The Magistrate Judge also recommends that further leave to amend be denied and the matter be remanded to her for further proceedings, (Id.)

         Plaintiff filed objections to the R&R on September 4, 2019. (Doc. 47.) Defendants did not file objections to the R&R and the time for doing so has passed. Nor did Defendants file a response to Plaintiffs objections and the last day for doing so has also passed. Therefore, this matter is ripe for disposition

         A District Court may "designate a magistrate judge to conduct hearings, including evidentiary hearings, and to submit to a judge of the court proposed findings of fact and recommendations for the disposition" of certain matters pending before the Court. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). If a party timely and properly files a written objection to a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, the District Court "shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made." Id. at § 636(b)(1)(C); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b)(3); M.D. Pa. Local Rule 72.3; Brown v. Astrue, 649 F.3d 193, 195 (3d Cir. 2011). "If a party does not object timely to a magistrate judge's report and recommendation, the party may lose its right to de novo review by the district court." EEOC v. City of Long Branch, 866 F.3d 93, 99-100 (3d Cir. 2017). However, "because a district court must take some action for a report and recommendation to become a final order and because the authority and the responsibility to make an informed, final determination remains with the judge, even absent objections to the report and recommendation, a district court should afford some level of review to dispositive legal issues raised by the report." Id. at 100 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         Having conducted the required de novo review, the Court agrees with the R&R's conclusion that Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 36) should be granted in part and denied in part. However, because the Court does not reach the same conclusions on the dismissal of certain claims, the Court will adopt the R&R as modified.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff objects to the R&R's recommendation regarding the following claims: 1) ADA discrimination claim; 2) Fourteenth Amendment Due Process claim based on functional demotion; 3) FMLA retaliation and discrimination claims; 4) state law fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims; 5) claims brought under "29 CFR Labor 1630-1630.9"; and 6) official immunity defense under "Title 42, Pa Tort Claims Act, 8545." (Doc. 47 at 13.) Plaintiff also objects to the recommendation that further leave to amend not be granted. (Doc. 47 at 13.) In addition to objecting to the recommended disposition of specific claims, Plaintiff points to errors contained in the Magistrate Judge's statement of the background and procedural history of the case. (Doc. 47 at 2-4.) The Court will address each of Plaintiffs specific objections to the ...


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