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KEDRA v. NAZARETH HOSP.

November 4, 1994

PATRICIA A. KEDRA
v.
NAZARETH HOSPITAL



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STEWART DALZELL

 Dalzell, J.

 November 4, 1994

 I. Introduction

 Plaintiff Patricia Kedra suffers from learning disabilities and a speech impediment. In 1974, defendant Nazareth Hospital hired her to work in its laundry department (Complaint P 12). She worked in that department for twelve years, after which she was discharged, allegedly without warning (Complaint P 14).

 Kedra filed a charge of discrimination against the Hospital, which a March, 1986, settlement agreement resolved. Under this agreement, the Hospital rehired Kedra as a part-time dietary aide (Complaint PP 15-16). Kedra interpreted -- and still interprets -- this agreement as the Hospital's promise to promote her to a full-time job in the dietary department (Complaint P 19).

 Her complaint in this action alleges she began to claim her right to a full-time position in 1989, after having been passed over for promotion to a full-time position (Complaint P 18). *fn1" Kedra also asserts that Hospital employees and supervisors demeaned, mocked, and harassed her because of her disabilities (Complaint P 20).

 In January of 1992, Nazareth placed Kedra on three months' "probation", allegedly for poor job performance (Complaint P 21). On April 15, 1992, the Hospital discharged her, claiming "wilful misconduct" (Complaint P 22). Kedra alleges that the Hospital continued to harass her even after it discharged her, by opposing and appealing her claim for unemployment compensation benefits (Complaint P 23-25). Despite the Hospital's opposition and appeals, the Pennsylvania Office of Employment Security ultimately did award Kedra unemployment benefits. Kedra asserts that Nazareth's actions -- placing her on probation, charging her with wilful misconduct, discharging her, and opposing her claim for unemployment compensation benefits -- were done to intimidate and harass her, and to retaliate against her for having filed her earlier claim of discrimination.

 Kedra filed her Complaint in this Court on November 18, 1993. She asserted seven counts against the defendants. Counts I and III charged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12111-12213. By Order dated February 28, 1994, we dismissed these two claims, holding that the operative facts in Kedra's complaint occurred before the ADA took effect. Counts II and IV alleged violations of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 955(a) (1991 & Supp. 1994); our Order of July 7, 1994 denied the Hospital's motion for partial summary judgment on these claims, and we filed a nine-page Memorandum on that day explaining our reasoning. Counts V, VI, and VII allege state law claims of wrongful discharge, breach of contract, and abuse of process; the parties' prior motion practice did not bring these claims before us for review.

 By Order dated April 14, 1994, we granted Kedra's unopposed motion to assert an eighth count against the Hospital. Count VIII alleges a violation of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a).

 Nazareth has moved this Court for summary judgment as to all counts in Kedra's complaint. The Hospital has also filed a motion to strike Kedra's Rehabilitation Act claim to the extent that she seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and a jury trial for its alleged violation. We will grant the Hospital's summary judgment motion as to Count V only, and we will deny the Hospital's motion to strike.

 II. Summary Judgment Standard

 Summary judgment is appropriate "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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). A factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing law, id. at 248, and all inferences must be drawn, and all doubts resolved, in favor of the non-moving party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 8 L. Ed. 2d 176, 82 S. Ct. 993 (1962); Gans v. Mundy, 762 F.2d 338, 341 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1010, 88 L. Ed. 2d 467, 106 S. Ct. 537 (1985).

 III. Legal Analysis

 A. Counts I-IV

 The parties have invited us to revisit our prior rulings in this case. Specifically, Kedra asks us to vacate our earlier Order dismissing Counts I and III. In turn, the Hospital asks us to grant summary judgment as to Counts II and IV, which we declined to do in July.

 We have reviewed our prior rulings on these four counts, and see no reason to disturb them. We thus decline to rule ...


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