A federal judge in Philadelphia has given a pro se plaintiff just under a month to re-file
her employment discrimination complaint against the company with which she was formerly employed.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson comes after the defendant, Don Rosen Imports, an automobile dealership, argued that Daria Pietek’s lawsuit should be dismissed on technical grounds.
Pietek, proceeding in forma pauperis, or without paying the normal filing fee, filed a complaint for employment discrimination form at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on April 30, 2012, which alleged that Don Rosen Imports violated her civil rights when the company terminated her employment due to her gender and pregnancy, according to the judge’s memorandum and order.
The plaintiff, however, left blank the portion of the form that says, “The facts of my case are as follows,” the record states.
Alongside the complaint, however, Pietek attached a 71-page exhibit that included a personally written, albeit unsigned and undated, five-page description of events during her employment with the defendant.
In early July of last year, Don Rosen filed a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that Pietek failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted because she “failed to state any facts in the space provided or to attach any additional documents to her Complaint,” the judge’s memorandum states.
The court then directed Pietek to respond within 14 days of the defense’s motion, although the case was eventually put on civil suspense due to the plaintiff’s inability to obtain legal counsel, the record shows.
A member of the court’s volunteer employment lawyers’ panel eventually signed on to represent the plaintiff in the case, and the litigation moved forward, with Pietek’s counsel filing a response to the defendant’s motion to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff’s attached 71-page exhibit offered sufficient allegations of discrimination to establish a plausible claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The plaintiff’s lawyer argued that in the alternative, the court should grant Pietek leave to amend her complaint, which Baylson did last week, ruling to grant Don Rosen’s motion to dismiss with prejudice, and giving Pietek leave to file an amended complaint that complies with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
“The complaint should contain ‘a short and plains [sic] statement of the grounds for the court’s jurisdiction,’ ‘a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,’ and ‘a demand for the relief sought,’” Baylson wrote.
The judge also wrote that the plaintiff’s complaint should present “sufficient factual averments” to show that her claim to relief is plausible.
The memorandum and order was dated March 13.