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Kamara v. Rosemont College

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 26, 2014

WILHEMINA A. KAMARA, Plaintiff,
v.
ROSEMONT COLLEGE, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

JOEL A. PISANO, District Judge.

Presently before the Court are two motions. The first is a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(2) and 12(b)(6), or, in the alternative, for Transfer to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [docket # 5] brought by defendants Rosemont College, Sharon Hirsch and Jane Federowicz. The second is a Motion to Join in the Motion to Dismiss [docket # 12] brought by defendants Lee Plenn and Mary Beth Tsikalas.

Plaintiff filed her original Complaint in New Jersey Superior Court, Somerset County, on June 24, 2013. Defendants removed the action to this Court on July 23, 2013 [docket # 1]. Plaintiff's claims arise from events alleged to have taken place during her employment with Rosemont College and subsequent termination from that employment. In her Complaint, Plaintiff alleges wrongful termination, gender discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), and a violation of her Sixth Amendment rights.

For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion to Join in the Motion to Dismiss [docket # 12] is GRANTED and Defendants' Motion for Transfer to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania [docket # 5] is GRANTED.[1]

I. BACKGROUND

For the purpose of disposition of the instant motion, the following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint and accepted as true. Pro se Plaintiff, Wilhemina Kamara, is a New Jersey resident who was employed by Defendant Rosemont College at its campus in Rosemont, Pennsylvania as the Resident Coordinator/RADAR Coordinator for nine months beginning in October 2010. At the time of the alleged events, all Defendants were employees of Rosemont College.[2] In sum and substance, Plaintiff claims that she suffered gender discrimination while employed at Rosemont College and was wrongfully terminated from her position without proper proof or procedure.

A. Wrongful Termination

It appears the events leading to Plaintiff's alleged wrongful termination arose from Plaintiff's conflicts with other members of the Resident Assistant staff. The first conflict took place in November 2010, when an incident occurred between Plaintiff and Resident Assistant staff member, Promise Nah. According to Plaintiff, she contacted Nah to see if Nah had the RA "duty phone" so she could give it to another RA staff member. Nah responded that she did not have the phone and Plaintiff informed her that she needed to have the phone with her in case of emergency.

Following the incident with Nah, Plaintiff claims that she attended a staff meeting with the Resident Assistants, during which Nah complained that "she felt harassed by the communication between herself and [Plaintiff] in November in regards to the duty phone." According to Plaintiff, Defendant Plenn, the Director of Residence Life, did not allow Plaintiff to respond to Nah's complaint regarding the phone.

According to Plaintiff, in a subsequent staff meeting, a second incident occurred with another staff member, Joshua Howell. Plaintiff claims that during the staff meeting, she noticed "staff member Joshua Howell seemed distraught and [Plaintiff] approached him and touched his left shoulder with her right hand, " at which point Howell "spoke up and said [d]on't touch me." According to Plaintiff, she apologized to Howell "and asked if he was ok."

On April 19, 2011, Defendant Plenn raised concerns regarding Plaintiff's job performance and allegedly stated to Plaintiff that she "does not participate" and "has an I don't care' attitude." Plaintiff claims that she asked for examples but that none were provided to her. In a meeting on April 21, 2011, Defendant Plenn and Defendant Federowicz voiced additional concerns about Plaintiff's job performance. According to Plaintiff, her colleagues began to treat her "differently in an effort to make [her] resign" and "[t]he situation continued to worsen for retaliatory tactics over the course of May [2011]" and "was draining, both mentally and physically."

On July 21, 2011, Defendant Federowicz informed Plaintiff that an investigation was being conducted into complaints made by students regarding Plaintiff's "touching" and "management style." On July 28, 2011, Plaintiff was informed by Federowicz that her employment was terminated, effective immediately, because of Plaintiff's "(1) [i]nappropriate and unwelcome touching of students; (2) [i]nappropriate and unprofessional communications with students; and (3) [p]ervasive lack of confidence in the staff that [Plaintiff] supervise[d]." Plaintiff was given until the end of the week to move out of her on-campus residence.

Plaintiff claims that on August 26, 2011, she sent an email to Defendant Hirsch "outlining the supposed infractions" that led to her termination. Defendant Hirsch replied and scheduled a meeting with Plaintiff and Defendant Tsikalas. According to Plaintiff, she attended the meeting on September 6, 2011, accompanied by her uncle, and was told by Defendant Hirsch that the students had signed a petition complaining about Plaintiff's ...


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