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CLARK v. FRANCE COMPRESSOR PRODS.

August 19, 1988

WILLIAM CLARK
v.
FRANCE COMPRESSOR PRODUCTS, DIVISION OF GARLOCK, INC.; GARLOCK, INC.; AND COLT INDUSTRIES, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KELLY

 JAMES McGIRR KELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Plaintiff, William Clark, has alleged in his complaint: 1) a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (1985); 2) a violation of the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. (1985); and, 3) a state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Furthermore, plaintiff has requested liquidated damages, punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress. Defendants, France Compressor Products (France), Garlock Inc. (Garlock), and Colt Industries Inc. (Colt) have moved, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(b), for summary judgment on plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, on his ERISA claim, on his request for liquidated damages, punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress, and on all of plaintiff's claims against Colt.

 Rule 56 instructs a district court to enter summary judgment when 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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). When deciding a motion for summary judgment, the district court is to view all inferences from the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986).

 Plaintiff alleges he was terminated by defendants, on April 10, 1985. Complaint at para. 11. At the time he was terminated, plaintiff was sixty-three (63) years old and had worked for the defendants since 1954. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was terminated because "defendants, by their agents and employees, were instructed and ordered to reduce costs by terminating older employees between the ages of 40 and 70 who were receiving high salaries and costing defendants higher pension contributions." Id. at para. 17. Plaintiff further alleges that his age and "length of service was a determining factor in defendants' decision to reduce costs." Id. at para. 27. Finally, plaintiff alleges that defendants "knew or should have known that their intentional conduct in causing the discriminatory termination based on . . . age would cause him and did cause him great emotional distress and harm." Id. at para. 31. I turn first to that part of defendants' motion requesting summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

 I. Plaintiff's Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress Claim.

 Defendants argue that plaintiff "as a matter of law . . . has failed to allege facts sufficient to establish a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress." Memorandum in Support of Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment at 4. Defendants contend that "the alleged fact [that plaintiff] was terminated from employment because of his age simply is not the kind of [outrageous] conduct that can support a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress as a matter of Pennsylvania law." Id. at 9-10.

 Plaintiff in response to this argument alleges that defendants intentionally tried to make his job unbearable for the purpose of driving him out of his job and contends that this type of harassment constitutes outrageous conduct. In support of this allegation, plaintiff submitted the affidavit of his supervisor, Mr. Edward Dickerson. Mr. Dickerson averred inter alia :

 
3. From approximately January, 1971 until Mr. William Clark was terminated, I was his supervisor . . .
 
4. During the entire time that I supervised Mr. Clark's employment, I found Mr. Clark's performance to be an extremely capable employee
 
* * * *
 
6. . . . I was instructed . . . to place William Clark on a double disk operation. I complied to [sic] the instructions and was told to ride his ass and stay right on top of him to make it uncomfortable for him to stay with the company. It was known that the grinder that William was positioned on was in extremely poor condition and production could not be met. . . . I was told to continuously keep the heat on in an attempt to make Bill's position unbearable. . . I was summoned to the Vice-President's office on or about the first week of January, 1985, and he told me Bill was going to be demoted to a lower grade level and that we were to still stay on top of him in order to make Bill accept retirement.
 
(emphasis added)

 Under Pennsylvania law, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress consists of the following elements: "(1) the conduct must be extreme and outrageous ; (2) the conduct must be intentional or reckless; (3) it must cause emotional distress; and (4) the distress must be severe." Chuy v. Philadelphia Eagles Football Club, 595 F.2d 1265, 1273 (3d Cir. 1979) (en banc) (emphasis added). Before submitting a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress to a jury the "court must determine, as a matter of law, whether there is sufficient evidence for reasonable persons to find extreme or outrageous conduct." Id. at 1274. Outrageous conduct is conduct which is "'so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and ...


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