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SMITH v. SHARED MEDICAL SYSTEM

July 22, 2004.

WESLEY N. SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
SHARED MEDICAL SYSTEM; CHARLES NASH; and MILLARD JACKSON, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAN DuBOIS, District Judge

ORDER AND MEMORANDUM

ORDER

AND NOW, this 22nd day of July, 2004, upon consideration of Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 28, filed January 26, 2004), Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 29, filed February 10, 2004), and Defendants' Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 31, filed February 20, 2004), plaintiff's Letter Brief (Doc. No. 33, filed April 5, 2004), and Defendants' Supplemental Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 34, filed April 16, 2004), for the reasons set forth in the following Memorandum, IT IS ORDERED that Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

  IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that a scheduling conference will be conducted in due course. MEMORANDUM

  I. INTRODUCTION

  Plaintiff Wesley N. Smith filed suit against his former employer, Shared Medical Systems, Inc. ("Shared"), and his managers and/or supervisors at Shared, Millard Jackson and Charles Nash, claiming that he was terminated in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. ("Title VII") (Count I), the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ("ADA") (Count II), and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. C.S.A. § 951 et seq. ("PHRA") (Count III), based on racial, national origin, and disability discrimination. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 6, 21-24.

  Presently before the Court is defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. The motion raises only one issue — the question of whether plaintiff's claim is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. For the reasons set forth in the following memorandum, the Court concludes that plaintiff has raised a genuine issue of material fact on the issue of equitable tolling. Accordingly, defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.

  II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

  Plaintiff filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on July 26, 2002, alleging that defendants discriminated against him on the basis of his race, national origin, and disabilities. Defs.' Renewed Mot. for Summ. J. ("Defs.' Mot.") at 4 & Ex. B (Charge of Discrimination filed by Wesley Smith). The EEOC dismissed plaintiff's claims on August 15, 2002 because they were not timely filed. Id. at Ex. C (EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights Form).

  Plaintiff filed a pro se Complaint in this Court on November 8, 2002. After retaining counsel, plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on September 15, 2003. In the Amended Complaint, plaintiff asserted claims for racial, national origin, and disability discrimination under Title VII, the ADA, and the PHRA.

  Before any discovery, defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff's claims were barred because he had not filed a timely charge with the EEOC. In response, plaintiff argued that medical impairments prevented him from timely filing a charge with the EEOC and these ailments should equitably toll the statute of limitations. By Order dated August 28, 2003, the Court denied defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment without prejudice to defendants' right to file a second motion for summary judgment after completion of relevant discovery.

  Based on the parties' suggestions at the preliminary pretrial conference on September 10, 2003, the Court ordered that discovery should proceed solely on the issue of the timeliness of plaintiff's claims. After completing discovery on this issue, defendants filed the Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment presently before the Court.

  III. DISCUSSION

  A. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

  "[I]f the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with 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[,]" summary judgment should be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The Supreme Court describes the summary judgment determination as "the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial — whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). Therefore, "a motion for summary judgment must be granted unless the party opposing the motion can adduce evidence which, ...


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