The opinion of the court was delivered by: STEWART DALZELL, District Judge
James H. Hurst, Jr. alleges that PNC Bank ("PNC") discriminated
against him because of his race, sex, and age, and PNC denies these
allegations. The parties' motions for summary judgment*fn1 and Hurst's
motion for jury trial are now before us.
Hurst is an African American man who, at all relevant times,
was at least forty years old.
On May 8, 2000, PNC hired Hurst as a Check Receiving Processor II in
its Proof Encoding Department. Hurst reported directly to Juanita West,
and West reported to the manager of the Proof Encoding Department, Arnold Schiavi. In turn, Schiavi reported to
Thomas Starke, the Shift Manager IV, and Starke reported to Mario
Nicolai, the Senior Check Processing Department Manager.
Hurst's complaint describes several examples of how PNC treated him
differently from younger employees, white employees, and female employees
beginning in the summer of 2001.*fn2 Frustrated with what he perceived
as disparate treatment, Hurst approached Valerie Walton Singer, a Human
Resources Specialist, to discuss his concerns. Walton Singer arranged
for Hurst to meet with Starke three times during November of 2001. Starke
investigated Hurst's allegations of discrimination and took corrective
action where he felt it was warranted.
Unsatisfied with Starke's response, Hurst contacted Walton Singer
again on December 5, 2001, and she arranged for him to meet with
Nicolai. To prepare for the meeting, Nicolai reviewed and investigated
the allegations that Hurst had presented to Walton Singer and Starke.
Hurst met with Nicolai on December 27, 2001, and, after listening to
Hurst's complaints and explaining his investigation, Nicolai told Hurst
that he had found no evidence of discrimination.
Walton Singer convened a final meeting with Hurst, Schiavi, and
Starke on January 11, 2002 to reiterate that PNC found no evidence of
discrimination. PNC placed Hurst on administrative leave on January 30, 2002, and he never returned to
After some preliminary activity in this case, Hurst filed an amended
complaint against PNC, Starke, Schiavi, West, and Nicolai. That pro se
complaint includes six causes of action: (1) race and sex discrimination
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title
VII")*fn3 against PNC;*fn4 (2) age discrimination in violation of the
Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA")*fn5 against PNC;*fn6 (3)
wrongful discharge against PNC*fn7; (4) negligence against all defendants*fn8; (5)
fraud against PNC, Nicolai, and Starke*fn9; and (6) breach of fiduciary
duty against PNC and Schiavi.*fn10 Following discovery, Hurst and the
defendants filed the motions for summary judgment now before us.*fn11
Hurst also filed a motion for jury trial.
A. Federal Discrimination Claims
As we have observed, Hurst alleges that PNC violated Title VII by
discriminating against him based on his race and sex as well as ran afoul
of the ADEA by discriminating against him based on his age. In evaluating
motions for summary judgment, "[t]he familiar McDonnell Douglas burden
shifting analysis applies to . . . claims of discrimination under both
Title VII and the ADEA." Sarullo v. United States Postal Serv.,
352 F.3d 789, 797 (3d Cir. 2003); see also McDonnell Douglas Corp. v.
Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817 (1973).
In this framework, the plaintiff bears the initial burden of
establishing a prima facie case of discrimination. McDonnell Douglas. 411 U.S. at 802, 93 S.Ct. 1824. A male plaintiff
generally may carry this burden by showing that (i) he belongs to a
protected class; (ii) he was qualified for the position; (iii) he was
subject to an adverse employment action despite being qualified; and (iv)
the adverse employment action occurred under circumstances that raise an
inference of unlawful discrimination. Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v.
Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 1094 (1981); see also Potence
v. Hazleton Area Sch. Dist., 357 F.3d 366, 370 (3d Cir. 2004); Sarullo,
352 F.3d at 797. Still, the facts necessary to establish a prima facie
case will vary depending on the circumstances of a particular case.
McDonnell Douglas, 411 U.S. at 802 n.13, 93 S.Ct. at 1824 n.13; see also
Geraci v. Moody Tottrup, Int'l. Inc., 82 F.3d 578, 581 (3d Cir. 1996)
("The elements of that prima facie case, however, must not be applied
woodenly, but must rather be tailored flexibly to fit the circumstances
of each type of illegal discrimination.").
Whenever the plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, "[t]he burden of
production (but not the burden of persuasion) 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
adverse action. Keller v. Orix Credit Alliance, Inc., 130 F.3d 1101, 1108
(3d Cir. 1997). Should the defendant fail to satisfy this burden, we will
enter summary judgment for the plaintiff.
If the defendant provides sufficient evidence of a legitimate reason
for its action, however, the burden of production shifts back to the plaintiff to 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 ...