On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (D.C. No. 98-cv-05730). District Judge: Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sloviter, Circuit Judge
Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) September 16, 2005
Before: SLOVITER, BARRY and SMITH, Circuit Judges
Plaintiff Donald Benn, who had been a probation and parole officer for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania ("Judicial District"),*fn1 brought suit against his former employer alleging violations of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. The District Court, by order dated September 6, 2001, granted summary judgment to the Judicial District. The District Court held that the Judicial District is a state agency and therefore is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity, a holding Benn vehemently opposes. The Judicial District states that "[t]he present case is an opportunity for this Court to finally issue a published precedent which holds that state courts have Eleventh Amendment immunity, in order to guide district courts and to quell repeated and unnecessary litigation of this issue." Appellee's Br. at 8.
We will proceed to consider that issue. Before we do so we must consider the Judicial District's contention that Benn's appeal was untimely.
Benn was employed by the Judicial District as a probation and parole officer from 1977 until 1997. Throughout most of that period he was engaged in clerical and administrative tasks. In 1996, he was transferred to work in the Enforcement Unit and was appointed a Special Deputy by the United States Marshals Office. It is apparent from the record that Benn was not pleased by the transfer. As his brief recites, in the new position he had to wear a firearm and a bullet-proof vest, use handcuffs, and locate and apprehend dangerous criminals. In his complaint, Benn alleges that "he was not mentally suited for this position" and, shortly after his transfer, began experiencing job-related anxiety and stress. App. at 19. He allegedly suffered post-traumatic shock after seeing a co-worker assaulted. In October 1996, he was accidentally struck by a car after seeing a probation violator on the street. He took leave from work for the next eight months, citing physical injuries from the accident, post-traumatic shock disorder, and chronic depression. Benn alleges that the Judicial District refused to offer any accommodation for his stress disorder, and that he was wrongfully terminated.
Benn filed a formal charge with the EEOC and received a right to sue letter on August 20, 1998. He filed suit in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on October 29, 1998, claiming not only discrimination and retaliation in violation of the ADA but also violations of state law by the Judicial District, the City of Philadelphia, and the Board of Pensions and Retirement Municipal Pension Fund of the City of Philadelphia ("Board of Pensions").*fn2 After some activity in the District Court, the Judicial District filed a motion for summary judgment on September 27, 1999 on the ground of its entitlement to Eleventh Amendment immunity. That motion was granted by order of the District Court dated September 6, 2001 and entered on the docket on September 10, 2001.
II. THE JURISDICTION ISSUE
On the same day that the District Court entered the summary judgment order, September 10, 2001, it also entered an order dismissing without prejudice defendant Board of Pensions and defendant City of Philadelphia. It is the coincidence of two orders on the same day in the same case that gives rise to the Judicial District's argument that we lack jurisdiction to consider the case because Benn did not file a proper, timely notice of appeal.
Rule 3 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure requires that a notice of appeal "designate the judgment, order, or part thereof being appealed." Fed. R. App. P. 3(c)(1)(B). Rule 4 requires that the notice be filed "within 30 days after the ...