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FULLMAN v. PHILADELPHIA INTERN. AIRPORT
May 10, 1999
ANDREW FULLMAN, PLAINTIFF,
PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Andrew Fullman, has filed this pro se action against his
former employer, Laidlaw Transit ("Laidlaw"), his former supervisor at
Laidlaw, Perry Vedder ("Vedder"), the City of Philadelphia, the
Philadelphia International Airport ("the Airport")*fn1, various
employees of the Airport, including Dennis Bouey, the Director of
Aviation at the Airport ("Bouey"), Jim Lynch, the Airport Operations
Superintendent ("Lynch"), Charles Isdell, the First Deputy Director of
Aviation ("Isdell") and Mark Gale, the Airport Operations Manager
("Gale") (collectively "Airport officials"), as well as Anthony Baselice
("Baselice"), an individual who works at the Airport for an airlines.
This action arises from plaintiff's alleged wrongful termination by his
employer, Laidlaw. Specifically, plaintiff claims that all defendants
discriminated against him based on his race, gender, and alleged
disability in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
("Title VII"), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), and the
American with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). In addition, plaintiff asserts,
against all defendants, a violation of his constitutional rights under
42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as pendant state claims for emotional
distress, wrongful termination and defamation.
Before the Court are summary judgment motions of defendants Laidlaw and
Vedder, the Airport defendants, as well as defendant Baselice. For the
reasons stated below, the Court will dismiss without prejudice
plaintiff's Title VII and ADA claims against defendant Laidlaw for failure
to exhaust administrative remedies, and grant each defendants' motions
for summary judgment on all plaintiff's remaining claims.
The following facts are not in dispute or are construed in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Plaintiff was hired by Laidlaw to serve
as a shuttle bus driver at its Airport facility on June 24, 1996, to work
the overnight employee shuttle bus at the Airport. Pursuant to it
contract with the Airport,*fn2 Laidlaw's shuttle drivers were
responsible for transporting Airport employees between the various
terminals and the employee parking lot.*fn3 During their shifts, Laidlaw
drivers were required to continuously make these designated "runs" around
In November of 1997, Vedder received a report from the Airport
Operations Department that plaintiff was not making all his designated
runs as required by Laidlaw policy and Laidlaw's contract with the
Airport. After reviewing certain computer print-outs, which tracked all
runs made by all employees, Vedder concluded that plaintiff was not
making certain designated runs. In addition, after a review of
plaintiff's time sheets, Vedder concluded that plaintiff had falsely
indicated that he had made the runs but had not picked up any passengers
when, in fact, he had skipped some runs for a bathroom break. As a
result, Laidlaw terminated plaintiff (the "Second Termination") for a
second time. After his Second Termination, plaintiff filed another
grievance through the Union. Pursuant to the procedure in the collective
bargaining contract, Vedder attended a meeting with Union representatives
and plaintiff to discuss the firing. At the meeting, plaintiff alleged
that he had not falsified any reports but merely recorded his bathroom
breaks according to the way he and all other Laidlaw employees were
trained. Laidlaw again settled the grievance by reinstating plaintiff.
In April of 1998, plaintiff was terminated for the third (the "Third
Termination") and final time. It is the Third Termination that is before
the Court at this time. The Third Termination was allegedly precipitated
by events which occurred on March 20, 1998. During one of his runs that
evening, plaintiff stopped his bus outside the American Airlines
terminal, illuminated the "out of service" sign and proceeded to use the
restroom. When plaintiff returned to his bus some American Airline
employees, who were waiting for the bus, approached plaintiff and
questioned where he had been. According to plaintiff, defendant Baselice
began cursing at plaintiff for using the bathroom and an argument
ensued. Plaintiff asked his dispatcher to call the police, who arrived
shortly thereafter and diffused the dispute by calling another but to
take the employees to the employee parking lot. The next day, defendant
Baselice filed a written complaint about plaintiff with Laidlaw and
defendant Lynch, the Airport Director of Operations.
On March 31, 1998, Vedder received a letter from Lynch, which stated
that Lynch had received Baselice's complaint and requested that Vedder
provide a written response regarding plaintiff's actions as soon as
possible. After receiving this most recent complaint about plaintiff,
Vedder suspended plaintiff pending an investigation and another meeting
with the Union. Prior to that meeting, however, Lynch told Vedder that
based on plaintiff's repeated misconduct and the latest altercation with
the American Airline employees, the Airport would no longer permit
plaintiff to work at the Airport. Immediately thereafter, Lynch had
plaintiff's Airport identification badge deactivated, effectively barring
plaintiff's access to the Airport.
At the meeting with the Union, Vedder explained to the Union
representative that he had suspended plaintiff pending an investigation
and that Laidlaw could not retain plaintiff as a shuttle bus driver
because Lynch had forbidden him from working at the Airport. As a
result, Laidlaw instituted the Third Termination.
After the Third Termination, plaintiff did not file a grievance within
the time period provided for under the collective bargaining ...