PACHECO v. POCONO MEDICAL CENTER et al
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re 20 MOTION for Reconsideration. Signed by Honorable A. Richard Caputo on 10/3/17. (dw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
POCONO MEDICAL CENTER,
Presently before me is the Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 20) filed by Plaintiff Monique
Pacheco (“Ms. Pacheco”). In her motion, Ms. Pacheco requests reconsideration of my decision
declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over her state law claim against Dr. Vladimir
Nikiforouk (“Dr. Nikiforouk”) for violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic
Surveillance Control Act. Because Ms. Pacheco fails to satisfy the standard for reconsideration and
the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the state law wiretapping claim is not otherwise
warranted for reasons explained in my prior decision, Ms. Pacheco’s Motion for Reconsideration will
Ms. Pacheco commenced this action on November 2, 2016 against her former employer
Pocono Medical Center (“PMC”) and PMC’s Chief Physician of its OB/GYN practice, Dr.
Nikiforouk, alleging two claims: (1) Title VII retaliation against PMC; and (2) violation of the
Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act against Dr. Nikiforouk. (See Doc.
1, generally). Subsequently, Dr. Nikiforouk filed a 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss, (see Doc. 8,
generally), and PMC filed a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. (See Doc. 10, generally). On August 16,
2017, PMC’s motion to dismiss was granted, but Ms. Pacheco was granted leave to file an amended
complaint. (See Doc. 18, generally).1 Dr. Nikiforouk’s motion to dismiss was also granted, and Ms.
Ms. Pacheco filed an Amended Complaint on September 5, 2017, (see Doc. 19,
generally), which PMC has moved to dismiss. (See Doc. 21, generally).
Pachecho’s Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act claim was dismissed
without prejudice to refiling by Ms. Pacheco in an appropriate state court. (See id.).
In granting Dr. Nikiforouk’s motion to dismiss, I noted that there was “little overlap between
the facts at the core of the two claims: the federal claim alleging Title VII retaliation and the alleged
illegal recording of a conversation between Ms. Pacheco and Dr. Nikiforouk.” (See Doc. 18, 13).
I further explained:
Ms. Pacheco does not need to allege, or prove, or even successfully
litigate, that Dr. Nikiforouk violated Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws
to win on her Title VII discrimination claim. As I already mentioned,
while the videotaping of Dr. Nikiforouk and Ms. Pacheco’s private
conversation is arguably a violation of Pennsylvania state law, it is not
a violation of Title VII, nor is termination of Plaintiff's employment
following her complaints about it. This is because Ms. Pacheco was
not engaged in a Title VII protected activity when she lodged her
complaints about Dr. Nikiforouk’s allegedly illicit recordings. As I have
already said, Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on
race, color, religion, sex and national origin. It does not cover
complaints about violations of state wiretapping laws. Thus, unless
specifically tied to Title VII's protections against discrimination, any
claims of violations of state wiretapping laws would be precluded from
Title VII litigation.
(Id. at 13-14 (emphasis in original). As such, finding that the facts underlying Ms. Pacheco’s federal
and state claims were not so closely intertwined that the case may be said to constitute a single case
or controversy, supplemental jurisdiction was declined over Ms. Pacheco’s state law wiretapping
claim. (See id. at 14).
Ms. Pacheco now seeks reconsideration of the decision declining to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over the state law wiretapping claim. (See Doc. 20, generally). Ms. Pacheco contends
that the allegations in her recently filed Amended Complaint set forth a clear relationship between
her federal and state claims. (See Doc. 23, 5-8). More particularly, Ms. Pacheco argues, inter alia,
that the claims share a common nucleus of operative facts and actors, both claims will rely on
identical witnesses and evidence, and failure to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law
claim will result in judicial inefficiency. (See id.). Dr. Nikiforouk opposes Ms. Pacheco’s request
for reconsideration, arguing that the standard for reconsideration is not met in this case and that the
exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over Ms. Pacheco’s state law wiretapping claim is not
warranted. (See Doc. 24, 3-7). Ms. Pacheco timely filed a reply brief in further support of her Motion
for Reconsideration, (see Doc. 26, generally), and, therefore, that motion is ripe for disposition.
Ms. Pacheco’s motion for reconsideration will be denied. The purpose of a motion for
reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence.
See Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration may
be granted if the movant establishes: (1) an intervening change in controlling law; (2) the availability
of new evidence that was not available when the court decided the motion; or (3) the need to correct
a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Max's Seafood Café, by Lou–Ann, Inc.,
v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999).
Reconsideration is not warranted under the circumstances. Ms. Pacheco has not identified a
change in intervening law, nor has she identified a clear error of law or fact compelling
reconsideration. Likewise, although the Amended Complaint contains additional factual allegations
beyond those that were set forth in the original Complaint, I am not convinced that the additional
averments require reconsideration or the exercise of supplemental jurisdiction over the state law
claim. Rather, even with these additional allegations, there is “little overlap between the facts at the
core” of the claims, and, moreover, Ms. Pacheco does not need to be successful on her claim against
Dr. Nikiforouk to demonstrate that PMC violated Title VII. Accordingly, there is no basis for
reconsideration of my August 16, 2017 Order declining to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Ms.
Pacheco’s Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act claim and dismissing
that claim without prejudice to refiling in an appropriate state court.
For the above stated reasons, Ms. Pacheco’s Motion fo Reconsideration will be denied.
An appropriate order follows.
October 3, 2017
/s/ A. Richard Caputo
A. Richard Caputo
United States District Judge
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