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SENDALL v. BOEING HELICOPTERS

July 16, 1993

HERBERT G. SENDALL, Plaintiff,
v.
BOEING HELICOPTERS, a Division of the Boeing Company, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDUARDO C. ROBRENO

 EDUARDO C. ROBRENO, J.

 Plaintiff voluntarily retired from the employment of defendant at age 62 after approximately twenty-nine years of service. Two years after his retirement, he brought this action alleging age discrimination. Defendant has counterclaimed, charging that plaintiff disclosed defendant's proprietary information, appropriated trade secrets, and generally breached his duty of loyalty to defendant.

 Defendant has moved for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims and for partial summary judgment on count one of its counterclaim. For the reasons set forth below, summary judgment is GRANTED in favor of defendant on plaintiff's claims, and partial summary judgment is DENIED as to count one of defendant's counterclaim.

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Herbert G. Sendall ("Sendall") worked as a compensation manager for defendant Boeing Helicopters ("Boeing") from 1961 until his voluntary retirement on November 1, 1990 at age 62. *fn1" In the course of his duties, he had access to defendant's personnel information including the employment history and wages and salaries of defendant's employees generally and of those of his own department specifically.

 Sometime during the 1980s, plaintiff became dissatisfied with his compensation. He believed that in certain years he should have been entitled to larger annual raises than the defendant had awarded him. In fact, for two of these years he had received no raise at all. Plaintiff suspected that his salary adjustments were below those of younger managers because defendant was according preferential treatment to younger employees. His belief that he was being unfairly treated was, in part, grounded upon his review of some of the personnel records to which he had access in the course of discharging his duties as a compensation manager of defendant.

 Plaintiff aired those grievances with certain supervisors and upper-level managers of defendant. Apparently dissatisfied with the pace or the result of these discussions, on September 25, 1990, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") alleging age discrimination in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 951-963 (1991). The PHRC referred the charge to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for dual filing, and the EEOC filed the charge on November 21, 1990. The EEOC chose not to investigate the charge; the PHRC did investigate the charge but concluded that the evidence was insufficient to substantiate the allegation of discrimination. On August 17, 1992, plaintiff filed this action alleging in Count I age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 (1985) and, in Count II, age discrimination in violation of the PHRA. Defendant has moved for summary judgment on both counts of plaintiff's complaint.

 I will first address defendant's motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claims of age discrimination, after which I will discuss defendant's motion for partial summary judgment on Count I of the counterclaim.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A.

 
Standard for Summary Judgment.

 Summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmovant. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). The Court must accept the nonmovant's allegations as true, and resolve conflicts in the nonmovant's favor. Gans v. Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 340 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1010, 88 L. Ed. 2d 467, 106 S. Ct. 537 (1985). The moving party bears the initial burden of pointing out the absence of genuine issues of material fact, but summary judgment should be granted against a party that fails to show "the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). If there is no genuine issue of fact that the claim ...


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