Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Deluzio v. Family Guidance Center of Warren County

October 9, 2007

MICHAEL DELUZIO AND JANE EVANS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
FAMILY GUIDANCE CENTER OF WARREN COUNTY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson, District Judge

OPINION

Defendant Family Guidance Center of Warren County ("Defendant") files the present motion to dismiss Plaintiff Michael Deluzio's ("Deluzio") claims for failing to meet the statutory 90-day time requirement of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). Specifically, Defendants contend that Plaintiff Deluzio failed to file his Complaint within the 90-day time frame, as prescribed by statute, after receiving his Right-to-Sue Letters from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and, therefore, Plaintiff Deluzio's alleged discrimination claims based on race, sex, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") should be time barred. Initially, the Court is confronted with the issue of whether Plaintiff Deluzio filed his Complaint within the permitted time period; if not, whether Plaintiff Deluzio has presented any equitable circumstances to toll the statute of limitations. For the reasons set forth below, the Court determines that Plaintiff Deluzio indeed failed to file within the 90-day period, and since equitable tolling doctrine does not apply in the instant case, Defendants' motion is GRANTED and Plaintiff Deluzio's claims are DISMISSED.

I. Facts and Procedural History

As this Opinion specifically addresses the statute of limitations issue, the Court will only recount relevant facts pertaining to this matter. Plaintiffs Deluzio and Jane Evans ("Evans") (collectively, "Plaintiffs") were hired by Defendant as Family Crisis Intervention Unit Clinicians. In February 2005, Plaintiffs' coordinator, Ms. Michele Scrubb, allegedly began speaking to Plaintiffs in a degrading and harassing manner based upon their race and sex. After Plaintiffs filed a formal grievance against Ms. Scrubb, Ms. Scrubb allegedly further acted in a condescending way towards Plaintiffs, which substantially interfered with their work and hindered them in fulfilling their job requirements. Ultimately, in April 2006, due to the alleged hostile work environment, stress and humiliation, Plaintiff Evans resigned.

Plaintiff Deluzio, however, filed a charge of discrimination based upon race, gender and retaliation with the EEOC on March 25, 2006. The EEOC designated this as Charge No. 503-2006-00374 (the "March Charge"). Subsequently, on June 8, 2006, Defendant terminated Plaintiff Deluzio's employment via mail stating that he failed to obtain the necessary license to provide therapy to patients. On August 1, 2006, Plaintiff Deluzio filed another charge with the EEOC, No. 520-2006-03323 (the "August Charge"), in which he alleged retaliation by Defendant.

With regard to the March Charge, the EEOC mailed a Dismissal and Notice of Rights to Plaintiff Deluzio on September 5, 2006 ("Right-to-Sue Letter I"). This document advised Plaintiff Deluzio that the EEOC was "closing its file on this charge" as it was "unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes." See Right-to-Sue Letter dated September 5, 2006. The Right-to-Sue Letter I explicitly advised Plaintiff Deluzio that he had ninety days from receipt of the letter to file a suit against Defendant. Id.

With regard to the August Charge, the EEOC mailed a Dismissal and Notice of Rights to Plaintiff Deluzio on September 12, 2006 ("Right-to-Sue Letter II"). See Right-to-Sue Letter dated September 12, 2006. Again, this letter advised Plaintiff Deluzio regarding the 90-day suit limitations period. Id. Likewise, the Right-to-Sue Letter II was sent to Plaintiff Deluzio's counsel, Peter G. Loftus, Esq., on September 12, 2006. Mr. Loftus also appeared before the EEOC on July 28, 2006, on behalf of Plaintiff Evans, who filed a charge of discrimination against Defendant at that time.

Mr. Loftus, as co-counsel with Ms. Kristin Accardi, Esq., signed and filed a Complaint on behalf of both Plaintiffs on December 27, 2006. The Complaint is based on the same allegations of Title VII discrimination and retaliation that are found in Plaintiffs' respective EEOC charges. The Complaint does acknowledge that Plaintiffs received Right-to-Sue letters from the EEOC during the 90-day period preceding the Complaint being filed. Complaint at ¶ 4.

Defendant now contends that Plaintiff Deluzio's Complaint was filed 110-days after his presumed receipt of Right-to-Sue Letter I (i.e., from September 5, 2006 to December 27, 2006, including a presumption of three mailing days). Defendant further contends that the Complaint was filed 103-days after the presumed receipt of Right-to-Sue Letter II by Plaintiff Deluzio and his attorney (i.e., from September 12, 2006 to December 27, 2006, including a presumption of three mailing days). As such, Defendant requests the Court dismiss Plaintiff Deluzio's Complaint in its entirety for violating 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1).

II. Legal Standard

In reviewing a motion to dismiss on the pleadings, a Court must take all allegations in the Complaint as true, viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Gomez v. Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 636 n. 3 (1980); Robb v. Philadelphia, 733 F.2d 274, 277 (3d Cir.1984). If no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could prove consistent with the allegations in the Complaint, the Court may dismiss the Complaint for failure to state a claim. See Hishon v. Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984); Bartholomew v. Fischl, 782 F.2d 1148, 1152 (3d Cir.1986). Recently, in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, the Supreme Court clarified the Rule 12(b)(6) standard. 127 S.Ct. 1955 (2007). Specifically, the Court "retired" the language contained in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, (1957), that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim, which would entitle him to relief." Id. at 1968 (citing Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-46). Instead, the Supreme Court instructed that "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 1965. Thus, while a complaint does not need detailed factual allegations, a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65.

III. Statute of Limitation

In pertinent part, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) provides that the EEOC "shall so notify the person aggrieved and within ninety days after the giving of such notice a civil action may be brought against the respondent named in the charge." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1). Interpreting this statute in the context of a Title VII claim, the Third Circuit, in Mosel v. Hills Dept. Store, Inc., 789 F.2d 251 (3d Cir. 1986), has construed this provision to mean that the 90-day time period for a plaintiff to file a complaint pursuant to Section 2000e-5(f)(1) "begins to run when the plaintiff has notice of the EEOC decision; this usually occurs on the date he receives a right-to-sue letter." Id. at 252. Usually, "counsel's receipt of a right-to-sue letter is imputed to plaintiff." Id. at 252, n.1 (citing Josiah- Faeduwor v. Communications Satellite Corp., 785 F.2d 344 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (per curiam)).

Here, the Court must first initially decide whether Plaintiff Deluzio has introduced sufficient evidence to identify the date on which he or his counsel, Mr. Loftus, received the EEOC's right-tosue letter, for it is from that date that the Court determines whether Plaintiff Deluzio's Complaint was timely filed in federal court. If Plaintiff Deluzio has failed to do so, the Court will apply the Federal Rule's presumption that a party receives a document three days after it was mailed. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.