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MATCZAK v. FRANKFORD CANDY & CHOCOLATE CO.

January 14, 1997

JOSEPH R. MATCZAK, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKFORD CANDY AND CHOCOLATE COMPANY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER

 Joyner, J.

 January 14, 1997

 INTRODUCTION

 In this federal question action, plaintiff Joseph R. Matczak has brought a discrimination claim against his former employer Frankford Candy and Chocolate Company ("Frankford Candy") for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), as codified at 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), as codified at 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq. Defendant has filed this motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) and we have granted this motion.

 BACKGROUND

 On or about April 19, 1993, plaintiff began working for defendant as a maintenance supervisor and as such, plaintiff was responsible for becoming familiar with the different types of machinery and supervising twelve to sixteen mechanics working on that machinery. After about ninety days, plaintiff was reassigned to the position of Building Maintenance Supervisor. In this position, plaintiff was responsible for maintaining Frankford Candy's facilities and supervising two mechanics.

 On or about November 19, 1993, plaintiff suffered an epileptic seizure while at work. Plaintiff was then taken to the hospital and put under the care of Dr. Robert Knobler. Approximately seventeen days later, Dr. Knobler released plaintiff but imposed certain restrictions on his activities. Specifically, plaintiff was instructed to refrain from driving or climbing heights, and to take certain medication for approximately six months. Dr. Knobler wrote a note to this effect and plaintiff gave it to Edward Barth and Nathan Hoffman, his managers at Frankford Candy.

 Nevertheless, Frankford Candy refused to allow plaintiff to return to work. Instead, Frankford Candy asked plaintiff to sign a release, and on or about December 21, 1993, plaintiff complied with this request. The release provided, inter alia, that plaintiff would submit to a medical examination at the request of Frankford Candy or else lose compensation for the period of his refusal, and that plaintiff would be accommodated by receiving a part-time, at-will job from Frankford Candy which could be terminated with or without notice.

 The next day, plaintiff was allowed to return to work at Frankford Candy and was placed on restricted duty. On April 22, 1994, Frankford Candy terminated plaintiff's employment and allegedly told him that business was slow and therefore his job was being eliminated.

 Defendant claims that plaintiff was fired because he did not adequately perform the tasks he was given after he returned to work. Defendant also claims that they accommodated the restrictions that plaintiff's doctor placed on his activities and gave plaintiff alternative tasks that were not prohibited by his doctor, and yet plaintiff failed to complete them. Specifically, plaintiff was required to create an inventory of all machinery and shop parts and enter it into a computer, create an asset list of all equipment, create data sheets, and work on maintenance programs. In addition, defendant points out that plaintiff's hours or job title did not change and therefore that they did not discriminate against plaintiff.

 Defendant also makes several legal arguments in support of its motion. First, defendant argues that plaintiff's epilepsy is not a disability within the meaning of the ADA and that in any event, defendant's actions do not constitute discrimination within the meaning of the ADA. Second, defendant argues that plaintiff does not have a cause of action under the PHRA since the PHRA employs the same definitions as the ADA. Finally, defendant argues that plaintiff does not have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress because he has not suffered any physical harm, nor does he have a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, because defendant's conduct cannot be said to be so outrageous as to support such a claim.

 DISCUSSION

 I. Summary Judgment ...


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