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MONKELIS v. SCIENTIFIC SYS. SERVS.

January 11, 1988

Michael R. Monkelis, Plaintiff,
v.
Scientific Systems Services, Inc., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

 COHILL, C.J.

 This case arises out of a dispute over an employment relationship between the plaintiff, Michael R. Monkelis, and the defendant, Scientific Systems Services, Inc. This Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332; plaintiff is a resident of Munhall, Pennsylvania, and defendant is a Florida corporation with it's principal place of business in Melbourne, Florida.

 Presently before us is defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, we will grant this motion.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Also in July, 1981, defendant entered into a contract to complete a computer project for Consolidated Aluminum Corporation. Plaintiff's Deposition at 46. In light of plaintiff's involvement in the planning stages of this project, he was elevated to the position of Project Manager. Plaintiff's Affidavit at 1. Although plaintiff alleged that he had contemplated seeking a job within the legal profession he had no formal job offer at that time and was not actively pursuing job opportunities. Id. at 3; Plaintiff's Deposition at 84. Plaintiff worked at the project manager position until December, 1981, when he was terminated. Plaintiff's Affidavit at 3. That termination is the subject of this lawsuit.

 Plaintiff filed an eight count complaint in this court in December, 1985, alleging, under various legal theories, that defendant had promised to employ him for a fixed period of time and that defendant failed to keep that promise. We previously granted defendant's Motion to Dismiss Count V since plaintiff's wrongful discharge claim was time barred. We also granted defendant's Motion to Dismiss Count VI because plaintiff lacked standing to pursue a Lanham Act section 43(a) claim. See Cohill, C.J., Opinion and Order dated February 3, 1987.

 II. DISCUSSION

 Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment may be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P 56(c). The purpose of the summary judgment procedure is to eliminate a trial in cases where it is unnecessary and would only cause delay and expense. Goodman v. Mead Johnson & Co., 534 F.2d 566, 573 (3rd Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 50 L. Ed. 2d 748, 97 S. Ct. 732 (1977).

 When confronted with a motion for summary judgment, it is not the court's function to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, the court must only determine whether there is a "genuine" issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986); Paton v. La Prade, 524 F.2d 862, 875 (3rd Cir. 1975). An issue is genuine only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 106 S. Ct. at 2510.

 The moving party has the initial burden to identify evidence which demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. First National Bank of Pennsylvania v. Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., 824 F.2d 277, 280 (3rd Cir. 1987). The moving party may meet its burden by showing that "there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2554, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986). The movant need not show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact with respect to any issue on which the nonmovant bears the burden of proof. Id.

 Rule 56 must be read, however, as intended not just to protect nonmovants with real claims but also to protect the rights of movants to dispose of claims without a sufficient basis to go to trial. Id. slip op. at 2555. Thus, when the nonmoving party bears the burden of proof on the merits, it must make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of every element essential to its case. Id. at 2552-53. If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 106 S. Ct. at 2510; Equimark Commercial Finance Co. v. C.I.T. Financial Services Corp., 812 F.2d 141, 144 (3rd Cir. 1987). A complete failure of proof on an element renders all facts immaterial and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex, 106 S. Ct. at 2553. If the factual context renders the nonmovant's claim implausible, the nonmovant must come forward with more persuasive evidence to support his claim than would otherwise be necessary. Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 106 S. Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538 (1986).

 Plaintiff alleges in Count I that defendant breached an implied employment contract for a fixed term. Plaintiff's Complaint at 4. Plaintiff asserts that upon receiving his law degree he contemplated terminating his position with the defendant and seeking employment in the legal profession. Id. at 2. He alleged that he was the author of the project document for the Consolidated Aluminum project and that defendant needed him to assist with the development of the project. Id. at 3. Plaintiff claims he decided to remain in defendant's employ in exchange for defendant's reimbursement for his last year of law school and his promotion ...


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