The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. CAPUTO, District Judge
Before me is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Doc. 53.)
This case involves Plaintiff's claim that she was terminated by
Defendants, Peter Paul Olszewski, Jr., then the District Attorney
of Luzerne County,*fn1 and Stephanie Wychock, Office
Administrator of the District Attorney's Office, in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)
and Plaintiff's claim that Defendants, Barbara Harned, Sharon
Prokopchak, Debbie Orzello, Colleen Pavlick, Paula Schnelly and
Denise Brill violated 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3).
Because Plaintiff has not presented sufficient evidence of a
conspiracy, Defendants' motion will be granted as to the §
1985(3) claim. Because Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima
facie case of discrimination, Defendants' motion will be granted
as to the Title VII claim. Specifically, Plaintiff has not
presented any evidence that her position remained open to
similarly qualified applicants after her dismissal or that she
was replaced by someone outside the protected class. Furthermore, had
Plaintiff established a prima facie case of discrimination, she
still failed to point to any evidence from which a factfinder
could determine that Defendants' proffered legitimate
nondiscriminatory reason for her dismissal was actually
pretextual in nature. Therefore, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment will be granted as two both claims.
Summary judgment is appropriate 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." 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 substantive law.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Where there is no material fact in dispute, the moving party
need only establish that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Where, however, there is a disputed issue of material
fact, summary judgment is appropriate only if the factual dispute
is not a genuine one. See id. at 248. An issue of material fact
is genuine if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Id.
Where there is a material fact in dispute, the moving party has
the initial burden of proving that: (1) there is no genuine issue
of material fact; and (2) the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT & ARTHURR.
MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: CIVIL 2D § 2727 (2d ed.
1983). The moving party may present its own evidence or, where
the nonmoving party has the burden of proof, simply point out to the Court that "the nonmoving party has
failed to make a sufficient showing of an essential element of
her case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (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. See White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co.,
862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). Once the moving party has satisfied its
initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
either present affirmative evidence supporting its version of the
material facts or to refute the moving party's contention that
the facts entitle it to judgment as a matter of law. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-257.
The Court need not accept mere conclusory allegations, whether
they are made in the complaint or a sworn statement. Lujan v.
Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). In deciding a
motion for summary judgment, "the judge's function is not himself
to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but
to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
42 U.S.C. § 1985(3) provides:
[I]n any case of conspiracy set forth in this
section, if one or more persons engage therein do, or
cause to be done, any act in furtherance of the
object of such conspiracy, whereby another is injured
in his person or property, or deprived of having and
exercising any right or privilege of a citizen of the
United States, the party so injured or deprived may
have an action for recovery of the damages occasioned
by such injury or deprivation, against any one or
more of the conspirators. To establish a claim under § 1985(3), Plaintiff must prove (1)
a conspiracy; (2) motivated by a racial or class based animus
designed to deprive, directly or indirectly, the plaintiff of
equal protection of the laws; (3) an act in furtherance of the
conspiracy; and, (4) an injury or ...