On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (D.C. Civil No. 03-cv-01959) District Judge: Hon. John E. Jones, III
Before: Sloviter, Ambro and Aldisert, Circuit Judges
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sloviter, Circuit Judge
Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) February 14, 2005
Appellant Karen Elmore appeals from the final order of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania dismissing her complaint. The Appellees are Elmore's former supervisors and employer: Donald Cleary, Kenneth Naugle, Eugene Turner, and Huntington Township, Pennsylvania (hereinafter collectively "Appellees").
The District Court had jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § § 1331, 1367; this court has jurisdiction over the District Court's final order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Finding no error, we will affirm.
Beginning in August 2000, Huntington Township, Pennsylvania ("Huntington") employed Elmore as an office manager. Prior to hiring Elmore, Huntington had issued a "Personnel Policy Handbook," a document ostensibly meant to govern relations between the municipality and its employees. Among other provisions, this Handbook states that the "township shall take no disciplinary action against an employee without just cause." App. at 29. The document also delimits a protocol calling for "[p]rogressive disciplinary action" and sets forth a grievance process. Id.*fn1
On March 27, 2002, Elmore was terminated from her position as office manager. Notwithstanding the provisions of the Personnel Policy Handbook, there is no dispute that this firing was effectuated without notice or a hearing.*fn2 Moreover, Elmore contends that this termination was not supported by just cause.
Thereafter, Elmore brought a three-count complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against the Appellees. In Count One, Elmore asserted an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and claimed that, in firing her without notice, a hearing, or just cause, the Appellees violated her due process rights. In Counts Two and Three, Elmore asserted state law claims; these counts claimed, respectively, that the Appellees had discriminated against her on the basis of her sex in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, see 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 951 et seq., and that her termination amounted to a breach of contract.
The District Court granted the Appellees' motion to dismiss Count One for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, holding, as a matter of law, that Elmore did not have a property interest in her job sufficient to implicate due process concerns. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Thereafter, the District Court declined to continue exercising pendant jurisdiction over Elmore's state law claims and dismissed them without prejudice to her ability to refile in state court. See generally 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3); Borough of W. Mifflin v. Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780, 788-89 (3d Cir. 1995).*fn3 This timely appeal followed.
We exercise plenary review over a district court's decision to dismiss a complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Lorenz v. CSX Corp., 1 F.3d 1406, 1411 (3d Cir. 1993). We must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences from such allegations in favor of the complainant. See Weston v. Pa., 251 F.3d 420, 425 (3d Cir. 2001); Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate only if it "appears beyond doubt that [the ...