United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Dean sued Philadelphia Gas Works and several individual
defendants alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, and
42 U.S.C. § 1983. His wife Patricia also brings a loss
of consortium claim as a result of the alleged discrimination
against her husband. PGW and two individuals, Craig White and
Jerry Gaydosh, move to dismiss the PHRA claims without
prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
They also move to dismiss the § 1983 and loss of
consortium claims with prejudice for failing to state a
Dean, a white man, was hired by PGW in December of 2017.
(Compl. ¶ 20, ECF No. 1.) PGW is a corporation owned and
operated by the City of Philadelphia. (Id. ¶
6.) According to Dean, one of his co-workers, Dean Rutledge,
frequently used racial slurs in referring to black employees
and was known among his co-workers for doing so.
(Id. ¶ 21.) Dean found the slurs to be harmful
and offensive so he complained to his union representative,
Joseph Cipparone. See (id. ¶ 22). When
Cipparone failed to respond, Dean complained to a black
supervisor and only then did human resources begin to
investigate. See (id. ¶¶ 24-25).
Shortly thereafter, PGW terminated Rutledge. (Id.
Rutledge was fired, Dean alleges that Cipparone and Michael
Hudson, both white union representatives, retaliated against
him and treated him with hostility. See
(id. ¶¶ 9-10, 27). For example, Dean
alleges that while at a cadet training class, Cipparone and
Hudson publicly denounced him in front of other employees by
calling him a “rat.” (Id. ¶ 28.)
Not long after this incident, Dean was called into a meeting
with Cipparone, Hudson, and PGW's CEO Craig White, at
which Dean alleges he was falsely accused of wrongdoing and
called “a disgrace to the white race” by White.
See (id. ¶¶ 29-31).
next month, Dean filed a written complaint of discrimination
with PGW. See (id. ¶ 32). He alleges
that within one hour of filing it, PGW fired him.
(Id. ¶ 33.) According to Dean, the harassment
and retaliation continued even after his employment ended.
See (id. ¶¶ 34-40). Beginning in
December of 2018, unidentified PGW employees allegedly parked
their PGW-marked vans in Dean's neighborhood for hours
despite not having work scheduled in the area, and they would
“pretend to shoot [Dean] with a ‘finger
gun.'” (Id. ¶ 35.) When Dean
complained about the conduct to PGW through his attorney, it
only worsened. (Id. ¶ 36.) Dean also alleges
that Jerry Gaydosh, a white supervisor at PGW, has followed
him from his home to his new job on multiple occasions.
(Id. ¶¶ 11, 37.) And Hudson, one of the
union representatives, has also allegedly harassed Dean many
times by calling Dean to make threats against his life and by
“leaving voice mails consisting of heavy
breathing.” (Id. ¶ 38.)
filed his first charge of discrimination with the EEOC on
February 21, 2019 alleging race discrimination and
retaliation. (Id. ¶ 15.) He received his Notice
of Right to Sue Letter on July 16, 2009. (Id. ¶
15.) Dean filed a second charge of discrimination with the
EEOC on June 28, 2019, (id. ¶ 17), and received
his Notice of Right to Sue Letter with respect to that charge
on October 30, 2019. (Defs.' Reply 2, ECF No. 9.)
survive dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the 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)). A claim is facially plausible when the facts pled
“allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference
that [a] defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
“[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged-but it has not
‘show[n]'-‘that the pleader is entitled to
relief.'” Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
the complaint includes well-pleaded factual allegations, the
Court “should assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief.” See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp.,
809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679). However, this “presumption of truth
attaches only to those allegations for which there is
sufficient factual matter to render them plausible on their
face.” Schuchardt v. President of the U.S.,
839 F.3d 336, 347 (3d Cir. 2016) (internal quotation and
citation omitted). This plausibility determination is a
“context-specific task that requires the reviewing
court to draw on its judicial experience and common
sense.” Id. (quoting Connelly, 809
F.3d at 786-87).
initially moved to dismiss the Title VII claims in Counts I,
II and III but withdrew their motion with respect to those
counts in their Reply. (ECF No. 10.) Count IV of the
Complaint alleges that PGW “failed to adequately train,
supervise and instruct” the individual defendants who
“subjected [him] to race discrimination and
retaliation” in violation of his rights under the First
and Fourteenth Amendments. (Compl. ¶ 55.) The Court
interprets this allegation against PGW as a failure to train
claim, which is analyzed under the standard for municipal
liability set forth in Monell. See Monell v. New York
City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978).
Municipal liability under § 1983 exists when a
constitutional injury results from a city's official
policy or informal custom. See Beck v. City of
Pittsburgh, 89 F.3d 966, 971 (3d Cir. 1996) (citing
Monnell, 436 U.S. 658). Failure to train claims
“are generally considered a subcategory of policy or
practice liability.” Barkes v. First Corr. Med.,
Inc., 766 F.3d 307, 316 (3d Cir. 2014), rev'd on
other grounds by Taylor v. Barkes, 135 S.Ct.
sufficiently plead a § 1983 municipal liability claim
for failure to train, the complaint must “demonstrate
that a [municipality's] failure to train its employees
‘reflects a deliberate or conscious choice.'”
Estate of Roman v. City of Newark, 914 F.3d 789, 798
(3d Cir. 2019) (quoting Brown v. Muhlenberg Twp.,
269 F.3d 205, 215 (3d Cir. 2001)). Deliberate indifference
involves three components: “(1) the municipal
policymakers know that employees will confront a particular
situation; (2) the situation involves a difficult choice or a
history of employees mishandling; and (3) the wrong choice by
an employee will frequently ...