Judge rejects Penn State worker’s third effort to sue university

For the CDTMarch 20, 2014 

— A federal judge recommended dismissal of a third attempt by a Penn State staff assistant to receive damages from the university for what she claims is retaliation for making complaints about sexual harassment.

U.S. Middle District Magistrate Judge Thomas W. Blewitt on Thursday said that the complaint filed on behalf of Deborah Rearick “is not artfully drafted and is difficult to comprehend.”

Although Blewitt recommended dismissal, he suggested Rearick be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint within certain parameters.

They include that she may not attempt to re-litigate claims made in the two previous cases or make references to the Jerry Sandusky scandal, as she has been doing.

Blewitt found that Rearick failed to state a cognizable federal or state claim. She asks the court to exercise supplemental jurisdiction under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, but she does not specify the alleged claim, he wrote.

Rearick alleged that she was unjustly treated by the court in the two cases that were dismissed, and Blewitt said she appears to seek an investigation into the court’s handling of the prior cases.

Since the second complaint was dismissed, Rearick said, she received right-to-sue letters from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission on two complaints she filed with that agency.

As in her earlier suit, Rearick contended the university did not respond to her complaints of sexual harassment but retaliated because she made them.

Rearick claims she had complained to her superiors on numerous occasions about sexual harassment in return for which she was denied employment opportunities, received almost endless threats and was demeaned in front of colleagues.

She is seeking unspecified damages for pain and suffering, humiliation and embarrassment.

The parties have 14 days to object to Blewitt’s recommendation before Judge Matthew W. Brann can act on it.

Centre Daily Times is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service