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FUCCI v. GRADUATE HOSP.

June 27, 1997

JOSEPH FUCCI
v.
GRADUATE HOSPITAL and JOHN DOE CORPORATION



The opinion of the court was delivered by: WALDMAN

 WALDMAN, J.

 June 27, 1997

 I. BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff asserts claims under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ; the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1001 et seq. ; and, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 P.S. § 951 et seq. Plaintiff variously alleges that he was terminated by defendant Graduate Hospital because of his "Italian ancestry and/or his male gender", his diabetic condition, his wife's medical condition and his participation in defendant Graduate Hospital's employee medical benefit plan. *fn1"

 Plaintiff also asserts state law claims for wrongful discharge, breach of contract and of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing, as well as, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The parties are both citizens of Pennsylvania and these claims are premised solely on supplemental jurisdiction.

 Presently before the court is defendant's motion for summary judgment.

 II. LEGAL STANDARD

 In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must determine whether the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 (c). Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986); Arnold-Pontiac-GMC, Inc. v. General Motors Corporation, 786 F.2d 564, 568 (3d Cir. 1986). Only facts that may affect the outcome of a case under applicable law are "material." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

 All reasonable inferences from the record must be drawn in favor of the non-movant. Id. 477 U.S. at 256. Although the movant has the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of genuine issues of material fact, the non-movant must then establish the existence of each element on which he bears the burden of proof. J.F. Feeser, Inc. v. Serv-A-Portion, Inc., 909 F.2d 1524, 1531 (3d Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 499 U.S. 921, 113 L. Ed. 2d 246, 111 S. Ct. 1313 (1991) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986)). The pertinent facts as uncontroverted or construed in a light most favorable to the plaintiff are as follow.

 III. FACTS

 Plaintiff is an Italian-American male. He was employed by Graduate Hospital (the "Hospital") for almost twenty years, from 1974 until his discharge on September 15, 1993. Plaintiff was diagnosed with diabetes in 1986. His wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1986. At the time of his termination, plaintiff was a participant in and he and his wife were beneficiaries of the Hospital's employee benefit plan which included medical benefits. At the time of his discharge and since 1992, plaintiff was the Materials Distribution Manager and supervised approximately 32 employees. Frank Longo, Director of Materials Management, selected plaintiff for this position in 1992 and plaintiff's promotion was approved by Theresa Angelone, Vice President of Human Resources. Mr. Longo was plaintiff's immediate supervisor.

 On August 19, 1993, Sudie Price, employment manager in the Human Resources Department, told Ms. Angelone that Reginald Johns, a Materials Department inventory clerk directly under plaintiff's supervision, had complained to her that plaintiff was engaged in "loan sharking" with Hospital employees. Mr. Johns told Ms. Price that he and other Hospital employees had borrowed money from plaintiff at high rates of interest and routinely repaid plaintiff by signing over their paychecks to him. Other employees identified by Mr. Johns were Andre Brooks, Ted Wilkins, Roberta Fitzgerald, Kevin Stinney, Andrew Powell, Wesley Corbin, Claude Adams and B.J. Granderson. Mr. Johns further reported that employees who owed plaintiff large sums of money were given overtime hours to expedite repayment. Mr. Johns repeated these allegations in a memorandum to Ms. Angelone dated August 19, 1993.

 Mr. Stinney, one of the employees identified by Mr. Johns as having borrowed money from plaintiff, approached Ms. Price on August 19, 1993 to complain about a decrease in his hours. Mr. Stinney also told Ms. Price that plaintiff had loaned money to him, Mr. Powell and several other employees. Plaintiff was responsible for hiring Mr. Stinney. Ms. Price related this information as well to Ms. Angelone.

 Ms. Angelone then spoke to Mr. Corbin who told her that plaintiff lends money for a fee and that he had borrowed money from plaintiff for a fee. Mr. Corbin stated that Joseph Hulett, a mailroom clerk, also loaned money to employees but did not state that he had borrowed from Mr. Hulett. Ms. Angelone also interviewed Mr. Longo who said he had not seen any evidence of loan sharking activity but that Marguerite Hall, Supervisor of Central Processing, told him of rumors that plaintiff and Mr. Hulett were engaged in loan sharking.

 Ms. Angelone also spoke to Ms. Hall who stated that Greg Horne had told her he borrowed money from plaintiff for a fee. Ms. Hall said she had observed plaintiff dispensing money from a box to employees who signed over their paychecks on several paydays. Ms. Angelone also spoke with was Tim Panfile, Assistant Manager of Materials, who told her plaintiff was loaning money to employees for a fee and employees had occasionally given him money to deliver to plaintiff. Mr. Panfile also reported that plaintiff directed him on several occasions to schedule overtime for certain employees who owed plaintiff money. Mr. Panfile told her employees sometimes sign their entire paychecks over to plaintiff.

 Ms. Angelone then pulled the cancelled paychecks of all Materials Management Department employees. She found that eight employees on sixteen different occasions endorsed over to plaintiff their paychecks in amounts totaling approximately $ 10,000. Six of the eight employees were persons identified by Mr. Johns. *fn2" She found no paychecks of any employee endorsed over to Mr. Hulett.

 Ms. Angelone was responsible for all aspects of the employment process "from hiring to termination." Pursuant to defendant's formal employee discipline policy, no one may terminate an employee without contacting the Vice President of Human Resources.

 Ms. Angelone concluded that plaintiff should be terminated. She then contacted Timothy Webster, Esquire, an attorney in the Hospital's legal department, to discuss the "legalities" of the situation. Ms. Angelone then reviewed her decision with Samuel Steinberg, the Hospital's President, who approved of her decision. She also advised Mr. Longo who concurred with the decision.

 On September 15, 1993, Ms. Angelone met with plaintiff in the presence of Mr. Webster and Mr. Longo. Ms. Angelone told plaintiff of the results of the investigation, including her review of the cancelled paychecks. She gave plaintiff the choice of resigning or being terminated. Plaintiff acknowledged that he had loaned money to ...


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