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ROBINSON v. NATIONAL MED. CARE

March 15, 1995

MILDRED ROBINSON
v.
NATIONAL MEDICAL CARE, INC., et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: EDMUND V. LUDWIG

 Plaintiff Mildred Robinson's motion for reconsideration and to set aside summary judgment entered for defendants will be denied. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Local Rule 20(g).

 This is a Title VII action claiming race discrimination in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. as amended, the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 as amended, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa.C.S.A. § 951 et seq.. The complaint also alleged wrongful discharge under Pennsylvania common law. *fn1" Plaintiff, an African-American, was terminated on January 23, 1992 from her position with defendant National Medical Care, Inc. and its subsidiaries as an administrator of two kidney dialysis facilities.

 After defendants moved for summary judgment and plaintiff responded, there did not appear to be a triable issue of intentional discrimination. Before a ruling was made, plaintiff was given an opportunity on the trial date, October 31, 1994, to make argument and a proffer. Following a further presentation on the following day, summary judgment was granted. Nov. 1, 1994, N.T. 44-45.

 I.

 The elements and allocations of the burden of proof in an employment discrimination action have been delineated by the Supreme Court and applied by our Circuit. St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks, __ U.S. __, 113 S. Ct. 2742, 2746-47, 125 L. Ed. 2d 407 (1993); Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 255 n.8, 101 S. Ct. 1089, 1094 n.8, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207 (1981); McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973); Armbruster v. Unisys Corp., 32 F.3d 768, 782-83 (3d Cir. 1994); Fuentes v. Perskie, 32 F.3d 759, 763-64 (3d Cir. 1994). First, plaintiff must make out a prima facie case of discrimination. Hicks, 113 S. Ct. at 2747. Second, the burden shifts to defendant to produce evidence that the adverse employment action was precipitated by a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason. Id. Third, if steps one and two are satisfied, and the shifting burden mechanism has raised a triable issue, plaintiff must carry the ultimate burden of intentional discrimination. Id.

 As our Circuit has recently explained, the summary judgment stage must be viewed from the prospective standpoint of the factfinder:

 
Because the factfinder may infer from the combination of the plaintiff's prima facie case and its own rejection of the employer's proffered non-discriminatory reasons that the employer unlawfully discriminated against the plaintiff and was merely trying to conceal its illegal act with the articulated reasons, see Hicks, 113 S. Ct. at 2749, a plaintiff who has made out a prima facie case may defeat a motion for summary judgment by either (i) discrediting the proffered reasons, either circumstantially or directly, or (ii) adducing evidence, whether circumstantial or direct, that discrimination was more likely than not a motivating or determinative cause of the adverse employment action. Thus, if the plaintiff has pointed to some evidence discrediting the defendant's proffered reasons, to survive summary judgment the plaintiff need not also come forward with additional evidence of discrimination beyond his or her prima facie case. See Anderson v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 13 F.3d 1120, 1122-24 (7th Cir. 1994).

 Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 764 (emphasis in original). Accord Torre v. Casio, Inc., 42 F.3d 825, 1994 WL 707805 (3d Cir. 1994). *fn2" Here, plaintiff and defendants agree that steps one and two of the shifting burden analysis have been satisfied. However, summary judgment is necessary because plaintiff did not present a triable issue of either pretext or discrimination.

 II.

 Initially, plaintiff did not produce sufficient evidence to create a triable issue of pretext. To defeat a summary judgment motion in a pretext case:

 
The plaintiff's evidence rebutting the employer's proffered legitimate reasons must allow a factfinder to reasonably infer that each of the employer's proffered non-discriminatory reasons was either a post hoc fabrication or otherwise did not actually motivate the employment action (that is, the proffered reason is a pretext).

 Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 764 (citations omitted)(emphasis in original). However, a plaintiff need not cast doubt on every proffered reason if she "manages to cast substantial doubt on a fair number of them." Id. at n.7.

 Here, defendants addressed their "light" burden of evidencing reasons for plaintiff's dismissal with two affidavits and numerous exhibits. Defendants' motion for summary judgment at 11-13. Mardell v. Harleysville Life Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 1221, 1994 U.S. App. LEXIS 19884 at n.6 (3d Cir. 1994). Examples of alleged deficient performance and other inadequacies from 1988 to 1992 included plaintiff's reassignment from a company facility because of a personality conflict; state certification problems that cost the company over $ 200,000; poor financial presentations; failure to attend meetings and follow company policy; and written complaints to a supervisor by the medical director of one of plaintiff's facilities and an accounting manager about incompetence, bad relations with other employees, not meeting deadlines, lack of concern for patients, and inattention to quality assurance. Id. See, e.g., Billet v. ...


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