The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joyner, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Theodore Willmore, instituted this suit under the
Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et. seq.
("ADA") seeking both monetary damages and reinstatement to his
former position with American Atelier, Inc. as a furniture
scruffer. Defendant has now filed a motion for summary judgment
on the grounds that, (1) plaintiff is not a disabled person
within the meaning of the ADA and, (2) its decision to terminate
his employment was due solely to his insubordinate and
belligerent behavior on the day of his termination. For the
reasons which follow, the motion for summary judgment shall be
According to the averments in his complaint, Theodore Willmore,
Sr. was hired by American Atelier, Inc. on May 4, 1998. A short
time later, on June 3, 1998, Mr. Willmore contends that he
seriously injured his back when he fell while working but he
apparently nevertheless continued to work. On June 22, 1998, the
somehow injured his hands while working, and was terminated later
that same day. By this lawsuit, Plaintiff contends that Defendant
terminated his employment because of his hand and back injuries
and that since these injuries effectively disabled him, his
termination was therefore in violation of the ADA.
Standards for Summary Judgment Motions
The standards to be applied by the district courts in ruling on
motions for summary judgment are set forth in Fed. R.Civ.P. 56.
Under subsection (c) of that rule,
. . . The judgment sought shall be rendered
forthwith 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. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character,
may be rendered on the issue of liability alone
although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of
Pursuant to this rule, a court is compelled to look beyond the
bare allegations of the pleadings to determine if they have
sufficient factual support to warrant their consideration at
trial. Liberty Lobby, Inc. v. Dow Jones & Co., 838 F.2d 1287
(D.C.Cir. 1988), cert. denied, 488 U.S. 825, 109 S.Ct. 75, 102
L.Ed.2d 51 (1988); Aries Realty, Inc. v. AGS Columbia
Associates, 751 F. Supp. 444 (S.D.N.Y. 1990).
Generally, the party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions
on file, together with any affidavits, which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91
L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In considering a summary judgment motion, the
court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and all reasonable inferences from the facts
must be drawn in favor of that party as well. U.S. v. Kensington
Hospital, 760 F. Supp. 1120 (E.D.Pa. 1991); Schillachi v. Flying
Dutchman Motorcycle Club, 751 F. Supp. 1169 (E.D.Pa. 1990).
Where, however, "a motion for summary judgment is made and
supported [by affidavits or otherwise], an adverse party may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's
pleading, but the adverse party's response . . . must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
If the adverse party does not so respond, summary judgment, if
appropriate, shall be entered against [it]." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
The non-moving party must raise "more than a mere scintilla of
evidence in its favor" in order to overcome a summary judgment
motion and it cannot rely on unsupported assertions, conclusory
allegations, or mere suspicions or beliefs in attempting to
survive such a motion. Tziatzios v. U.S., 164 F.R.D. 410, 411,
412 (E.D.Pa. 1996) citing Celotex v. Catrett, supra, 477 U.S.
at 325, 106 S.Ct. at 2553-54, Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510-11, 91 L.Ed.2d 202;
Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460 (3rd
The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits certain employers
from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their
disabilities. Sutton v. United Air Lines, Inc., 527 U.S. 471,
119 S.Ct. 2139, 2143 (1999). The core anti-discrimination section
of the ADA provides that:
No covered entity shall discriminate against a
qualified individual with a disability because of the
disability of such individual in regard to job
application procedures, the hiring, advancement, or
discharge of employees, employee compensation, job
training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges
Deane v. Pocono Medical Center, 142 F.3d 138, 142
(3rd Cir. 1998); 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). Under the
Definitions section of the Act, a "covered entity
means an employer, employment agency, labor
organization, or joint labor-management committee."
42 U.S.C. § 12111(2). A "qualified person with a
disability," in turn, is defined as ". . . an
individual who, with or without reasonable
accommodation, can perform the essential functions of
the employment position that such individual holds or
desires . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8).
In light of the preceding definitions, the Courts have held
that disability discrimination cases, like other types of
employment discrimination, are to be analyzed under the burden
shifting framework first articulated in McDonnell Douglas
Corporation v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d
668 (1973) and Texas Department of Community Affairs v.
Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981). To
establish a prima facie case of discrimination under the ADA,
the plaintiff must therefore show three elements: (1) that he is
a disabled person within the meaning of the ADA; (2) that he is
otherwise qualified to perform the essential functions of the
job, with or without reasonable accommodations by the employer;
and (3) that he has suffered an otherwise adverse employment
decision as a result of discrimination. Taylor v. Phoenixville
School District, 184 F.3d 296, 306 (3rd Cir. 1999); Gaul v.
Lucent Technologies, Inc., 134 F.3d 576, 580 (3rd Cir. 1998).
Turning to the first prong of the prima facie case, we must
initially determine whether or not Mr. Willmore is a disabled
person within the meaning of the ADA. Under 42 U.S.C. ...