Pennsylvania Record

Monday, February 24, 2020

Judge gives bad news to cop-turned-maintenance-worker in lawsuit against Muhlenberg Township

Federal Court

By Shanice Harris | Aug 20, 2019

Philadelphia federal courthouse

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has granted Muhlenberg Township’s motion to dismiss an employment dispute with a former employee.

Judge Joseph Leeson Jr. issued his ruling Aug. 13. Christopher Orzech's lawsuit claimed that Muhlenberg Township appointed him to a physically demanding job position after injury.

Orzech worked for the township as a police officer from March 1989 until the date of the incident. In August 2015, Orzech suffered an injury to his left shoulder blade. This accident caused him to miss work for an extended period of time. 

After a year, he was offered a job as a property maintenance officer. The position would still be with the township, but in another department. He would be responsible for sweeping sidewalks, cleaning restrooms, etc., all of which required the use of his left shoulder. 

According to Orzech, the appointment to this new position violated what the plaintiff's doctor had recommended for him. The plaintiff claims that Muhlenberg Township knew he wouldn’t be able to perform the tasks asked of him, on account of his injury and his lack of experience in maintaining park property. 

He also claims that township employees often humiliated him, noting payroll officials wrote aggressive emails to him from August 2016 to December 2016.

The defendant argued that Orzech did not have sufficient evidence for his claims in this case. Muhlenberg Township stated that Orzech’s claims are not based in facts, so they aren't responsible for any claims of relief. 

The motion to dismiss was granted in part, though the plaintiff has until Sept. 6 to amend the complaint and refile.

U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania case number 5:18-cv-03938

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