BRUGH et al v. MOUNT ALOYSIUS COLLEGE et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER - upon consideration of the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or, in the Alternative, Motion to Strike (ECF No. 6 ), and for the reasons set forth in the accompanying memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Motion is DENIED, and as more fully stated in said Memorandum Opinion and Order. Signed by Judge Kim R. Gibson on 11/21/2017. (dlg)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
LARRY BRUGH AND SUZANNE
Case No. 3:17-cv-71
JUDGE KIM R. GIBSON
MOUNT ALOYSIUS COLLEGE AND
Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a
Claim or, in the Alternative, Motion to Strike. (ECF No. 6.) The Motion has been fully
briefed (see ECF Nos. 6, 12) and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons that follow, this Court
will DENY Defendants' Motion.
The Court has jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' federal claim pursuant to 28U.S.C.§1331.
The Court has supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiffs' state law claim pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1367. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because a substantial portion of
the events giving rise to the claims occurred in the Western District of Pennsylvania.
In their Complaint, Plaintiffs allege the following facts, which this Court considers
as true for the purposes of deciding the instant Motion.
Plaintiffs Larry Brugh ("Mr. Brugh") and Suzanne Brugh ("Ms. Brugh") are
husband and wife. Mr. Brugh worked for Defendant Mount Aloysius College ("Mount
Aloysius") from 1985 until December 10, 2012, when Mount Aloysius terminated his
employment. (ECF No. 1 at 'Il'Il 11, 36.) Ms. Brugh was hired by Mount Aloysius in 1988,
and served as the Game Clock Operator for the college's basketball games from 2008 until
2012, when Mount Aloysius terminated her employment. (Id. at 'Il'Il 39-42.) Plaintiffs allege
that Mount Aloysius violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ("Title VII") by terminating
their employment in retaliation for engaging in protected activity and also violated the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA") by discriminating against them. (Id. at 9-11.)
Because of the fact-intensive nature of these claims, this Court will discuss in great detail
the history of Plaintiffs' employment at Mount Aloysius as alleged in the Complaint.
As noted above, Mr. Brugh was hired by Mount Aloysius in 1985. (Id. at 'JI 11.) In
1989, he was appointed Assistant Dean of Students. (Id. at 'JI 12.) In 1996, he was appointed
Director of Career Services, a position he held simultaneously with his position as Assistant
Dean of Students. (Id.)
The events pertinent to the instant dispute began in 1992. That year, Mount Aloysius
had plans to hire an African-American man as the Head Coach of the Men's Basketball
Team. (Id. at 'JI 13.) Mount Aloysius decided not to hire the applicant when it discovered
that his wife was white. (Id. at 'JI 14-15.) Mr. Brugh, who "was present when the Dean of
Students indicated that the coach would not be hired because of his race" (id. at 'JI 16),
"immediately objected to and opposed" Mount Aloysius' decision not to hire the African-
American coaching candidate because, in his mind, "such a decision would constitute
illegal discrimination." (Id. at<_![ 17.)
Subsequent to Mount Aloysius' decision not to hire the African-American coaching
applicant, Mount Aloysius terminated the Athletic Director. (Id. at <_![ 18.) The former
Athletic Director then sued Mount Aloysius for discrimination, claiming that he was
terminated in retaliation for opposing racial discrimination relating to Mount Aloysius'
decision not to hire the coaching applicant. (Id.) Mr. Brugh acted as a witness in the Athletic
Director's case and filed an affidavit in support of his retaliation claims. (Id. at<_![ 19.) The
rejected coaching candidate also sued Mount Aloysius for discrimination (id. at<_![ 21); Mr.
Brugh acted as a witness in his case, and was willing to testify in support of the candidate's
discrimination claims. (Id. at <_![ 22.) Mount Aloysius had knowledge of Mr. Brugh's
participation in the discrimination cases filed by the former Athletic Director and the
coaching candidate. (Id. at<_![<_![ 20, 23.)
Plaintiffs filed discrimination charges against Mount Aloysius in 1997 and 1998. (Id.
at <_![ 24.) Plaintiffs alleged that Mount Aloysius retaliated against them because they
opposed the school's discriminating against the African-American coaching candidate and
because they supported the retaliation and discrimination claims brought by the former
Athletic Director and the coaching applicant. (Id.) The Complaint does not specify how
these discrimination charges were resolved.
In 2011 and 2012, administrators for Mount Aloysius repeatedly commented on Mr.
Brugh's participation in the racial discrimination claims brought by the former Athletic
Director and the coaching candidate. (Id. at<_![ 27.)
Specifically, in August 2011, Suzanne Campbell, the Senior Vice President of Mount
Aloysius, mentioned to Mr. Brugh that she had reviewed a report regarding Mr. Brugh's
involvement in the civil rights lawsuits brought against Mount Aloysius and stated that she
had discussed the matter with Thomas Foley, the President of Mount Aloysius. (Id.) In
October 2011, Campbell stated that Foley was unaware of Mr. Brugh's involvement in the
retaliation and discrimination claims and that Foley did not want to know anything about
them. (Id.) This contradicted Campbell's August, 2011 statement that she had personally
discussed Brugh's involvement with Foley. (Id.)
In March 2012, Campbell advised Mr. Brugh that "it's probably best not to mention
the racial incident of the past in the formal human resources review, so people don't think
you can't let go of the past." (Id.)
On June 8, 2012, Mount Aloysius reappointed Mr. Brugh to his positions of Assistant
Dean for Student Affairs and Director of Career Counseling, effective July 1, 2012, and
continuing through June 30, 2013. (Id. at
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