The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie, U.S. District Judge
This action involves claims of age and disability discrimination in
connection with plaintiff William Davis' termination from his employment
at Tammac Corporation ("Tammac"). Davis alleges violations of the
Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.,
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et
seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. C.S.A.
§ 955, as well as a pendent state law claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress. Tammac has moved for summary judgment
on all claims. Because Davis has failed to present competent evidence
that he suffers from a "disability" or was regarded by Tammac as having a
"disability" as defined in the ADA, Tammac will be granted summary
judgment on Davis' disability discrimination claims. Davis has provided
sufficient evidence, however, to withstand Tammac's summary judgment
motion on his claim of age discrimination. Thus, summary judgment will be
denied as to those claims. As a result of the parties' concurrence, the
intentional infliction of emotional distress claim and Davis' request for
punitive damages under the PHRA will be dismissed.
Tammac is a financial services company which markets automotive lease
financing programs, manufactured housing industry financing, insurance
services, credit reporting and resort industry financing. In 1991, Davis
was hired by Tammac as Director of Tammac Career Services ("TCS"). TCS,
which is part of Tammac's Automotive Leasing Division, was developed to
offer sales programs to automobile dealerships, and supplemented the
lease training programs which were being conducted by the lease
division's marketing representatives.*fn1
As Director of TCS, Davis' responsibilities included developing
training curriculum soliciting auto leasing dealers for the
sales training; and conducting the sales training programs.*fn2 Davis
also occasionally performed market surveys for the lease division, which
enabled Tammac to determine the viability of expanding its services into
new geographic territories. Besides Davis, the only other employees in
TCS were clerical and administrative staff. Davis reported to William
Smith, who oversaw the auto lease division and the manufactured housing
In the early 1990's, Tammac had a dealer base of approximately 1500
dealers. Davis provided training at approximately 29 dealerships, 11 to
12 of which were located in the Allentown, Pennsylvania area. Davis
conducted approximately 20 training programs each year, and trained
approximately 600 sales representatives. During his tenure, Davis also
occasionally provided training programs for the manufactured housing
division, and some "in-house" training for Tammac Credit Services.
Although revenues for the auto lease division as a whole grew from
1992-1995, TCS sustained losses of $30,251 in 1992; $48,561 in 1993;
$25,957 in 1994 and $43,264 in 1995. Davis discussed the fees generated
by TCS with Smith on a monthly basis. According to Davis, Smith never
expressed concern to Davis about the income which the division was
generating and did not provide any negative feedback to Davis.
In the fall of 1994, Davis asserts that Smith told him that one of the
sales representatives, James Root, was going to be promoted, and that
Davis would take over Root's territory in Allentown. In October 1994,
Davis suffered a heart attack and had heart surgery. He returned to work
in January 1995. Upon his return to work, Davis resumed his position as
Director of TCS, and worked without restrictions. Davis contends,
however, that management's attitude towards him changed after his heart
attack, and that he was no longer involved in management's "inner
circle." In June 1995, Smith informed Davis that Tammac was closing TCS
because of its unprofitability, and that it was terminating Davis'
Shortly after deciding to close the TCS division, Tammac was approached
by National Auto Funding to establish an indirect auto substandard credit
lending program at Tammac. NAF provides loans to individuals with a poor
credit history. NAF agreed to loan funds if Tammac could commit marketing
and operations personnel to approach auto dealers to arrange for the
financing. For any loan which Tammac initiated, Tammac would receive a
fee from NAF.
Smith contacted Davis and offered him the opportunity to head the
sub-par financing program at a salary of $30,000 plus commissions. Davis
was informed that the project was risky, but he accepted the position
because he had no other employment options. A clerical employee, Kim
Alexander, was transferred from the manufactured housing unit to assist
Davis with the sub-par financing program.
In December 1995, a few months after the sub-par program started, NAF
withdraw its funding. Because Tammac did not have another funding
source, Tammac closed the sub-par financing program in January of 1996,
and terminated Davis' employment a second time. At the time of his second
termination, Davis was not offered another position in the company; Kim
Alexander, Davis' assistant, returned to her previous position in the
manufactured housing unit. Davis was 49 years old at the time of his
Davis filed a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"). The
PHRC authorized commencement of a law suit on October 22, 1997.
(Complaint, Dkt. 1, at ¶ 9.) Davis filed this action on September
4, 1998. In October of 1999, Tammac moved for summary judgment. The
motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment should be granted when "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 . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is "material" if proof of
its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the suit under
the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). "Facts that could alter the outcome are material facts." Charlton
v. Paramus Bd. of Educ., 25 F.3d 194, 197 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 115
S.Ct. 590 (1994). "Summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a
material fact is `genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
Initially, the moving party must show the absence of a genuine issue
concerning any material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 329
(1986). All doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material
fact must be resolved against the moving party, and the entire record
must be examined in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988);
Continental Ins. Co. v. Bodie, 682 F.2d 436, 438 (3d Cir. 1982). Once the
moving party has satisfied its burden, the nonmoving party "must present
affirmative evidence to defeat a properly supported motion for summary
judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57. Mere conclusory allegations or
denials taken from the pleadings are insufficient to withstand a motion
for summary judgment once the moving party has presented evidentiary
materials. Schoch v. First Fidelity Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d
Cir. 1990). Rule 56 requires the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery, where a party "fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
Discrimination claims can be established in two ways: by direct
evidence that the employer's decision was motivated by discrimination; or
by indirect evidence which creates an inference of discrimination under
the burden-shifting framework set forth in McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792
(1973).*fn6 Under the McDonnell-Douglas burden shifting analysis, the
plaintiff bears the initial burden of offering evidence sufficient to
"create an inference that an employment decision was based on a
discriminatory criterion illegal under the act." Maxfield v. Sinclair
International, 766 F.2d 788, 791 (3d Cir. 1985), cert. denied,
474 U.S. 1057 (1986). If the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case,
the burden of production shifts to the defendant, who must then offer
evidence that is sufficient, if believed, to support a finding that it
had a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the discharge. Showalter
v. University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 190 F.3d 231, 235 (3d Cir.
1999); Fuentes v. Perskie, 32 F.3d 759, 765 (3d Cir. 1994). If the
defendant satisfies this requirement, then the burden of production
shifts back to the plaintiff to point to some evidence that the reasons
offered by the defendant were a pretext for discrimination. Shaner v.
Synthes, 204 F.3d 494, 500-01 (3d Cir. 2000). To defeat summary
judgment, the plaintiff must proffer evidence "from which a factfinder
could reasonably either (1) disbelieve the employer's articulated
legitimate reasons or (2) believe that an invidious discriminatory reason
was more likely than not a motivating or determinative cause of the
employer's action." Showalter, 190 F.3d at 235; Keller v. Orix Credit
Alliance, Inc., 130 F.3d 1101, 1108 (3d Cir. 1997)(en banc); Torre v.
Casio, Inc., 42 F.3d 825, 830 (3d Cir. 1994). "To discredit the
employer's proffered reason,  the plaintiff cannot simply show that
the employer's decisions were wrong or mistaken. . . . Rather the moving
plaintiff must demonstrate such weaknesses or implausibilities,
inconsistencies, incoherencies, or contradictions in the employer's
proffered legitimate reasons for ...