The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Curtis Joyner, United States District Judge
This case is now before the Court for disposition of the defendants'
motions for summary judgment as to all of Plaintiff's claims against
them. For the reasons which follow, the motions shall be granted in part
and denied in part.
On or about October 27, 1999, Raymond Walsh accepted an offer of
employment from Donald Young, the Vice President of Operations for Alarm
Security Group, Inc. ("ASG") to become the general manager of an office
which ASG intended to open in Philadelphia. At the time that Mr. Walsh
accepted this offer, he was employed as a general branch manager for
Security Link in San Bruno, California. In the offer letter which
Plaintiff signed, it was
"assumed" that his start date would be
"approximately January, 1, 2000," and his earnings were "guaranteed to be
$100,000 payable in bi-weekly increments." The day after he received this
written offer letter, Plaintiff tendered his resignation to Security Link
and subsequently left this position on November 4, 1999. Later that same
month, Plaintiff relocated from California to Philadelphia.*fn1
In the first week of January, 2000, Plaintiff telephoned Defendant
Young to present himself for work. At that time and over the course of
the next several months, however, Plaintiff was told that his start date
would be delayed. Eventually, in July, 2000, Plaintiff was informed that
ASG would not be opening a Philadelphia office and hence he did not have
a job. Mr. Walsh thereafter instituted this lawsuit alleging breach of
contract, fraud, negligent employment, promissory estoppel and violations
of the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act, 43 P.S. §
260.1, et. seq.
While they do not dispute that they offered and Mr. Walsh accepted the
position of general manager of the Philadelphia office, Defendants contend
that at all times their employment offer was contingent upon ASG
acquiring enough companies with existing business to open a branch in the
Philadelphia area. Insofar as that never occurred, Defendants assert that
a necessary condition precedent was never satisfied and thus they are not
liable to Mr. Walsh.
Standards Governing Motions for Summary Judgment
It is recognized that the underlying purpose of summary judgment is to
avoid a pointless trial in cases where it is unnecessary and would only
cause delay and expense. Goodman v. Mead Johnson & Co., 534 F.2d 566,
573 (3d Cir. 1976), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1038, 97 S.Ct. 732, 50 L.Ed.2d
748 (1977). Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), summary judgment is properly
". . . 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 damages.
Stated more succinctly, summary judgment is appropriate only when it is
demonstrated that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
In deciding a motion for summary judgment, all facts must be viewed and
all reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving
party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538, 106 S.Ct. 1348 (1986); Oritani Savings & Loan
Association v. Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland, 989 F.2d 635,
638 (3rd Cir. 1993); Troy Chemical Corp. v. Teamsters Union Local No.
408, 37 F.3d 123, 125-126 (3rd Cir. 1994); Arnold Pontiac-GMC, Inc. v.
General Motors Corp., 700 F. Supp. 838, 840 (W.D.Pa. 1988). An issue of
material fact is said to be genuine "if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L.Ed.2d 202, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986).
In Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, supra, the Supreme Court held that the
movant had the initial burden of showing the court the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, but that this did not require the movant
to support the motion with affidavits or other materials that negated the
opponent's claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The Court also held that
Rule 56(e) requires the nonmoving party to "go beyond the pleadings and by her
own affidavits, or by the `depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file,' designate `specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 324 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). This
does not mean that the nonmoving party must produce evidence in a form
that would be admissible at trial in order to avoid summary judgment.
Obviously, Rule 56 does not require the nonmoving party to depose its own
witnesses. Rather, Rule 56(e) permits a proper summary judgment motion to
be opposed by any of the kinds of evidentiary materials listed in
Rule 56(c), except the mere pleadings themselves, and it is from this list
that one would normally expect the nonmoving party to make the required
showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Id. See Also,
Morgan v. Havir Manufacturing Co., 887 F. Supp. 759 (E.D.Pa. 1994);
McGrath v. City of Philadelphia, 864 F. Supp. 466, 472-473 (E.D.Pa.
1. Plaintiff's claims for breach ...