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Coreia v. Schuylkill County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority

May 11, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones



Pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment ("the Motion") (doc. 40) filed by Defendants Schuylkill County Area Vocational-Technical School Authority, James Monaghan, and Gerald Achenbach (collectively "Defendants") on April 3, 2006.

For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion will be granted.


As we explained in our September 16, 2005 Order, the plaintiff, John J. Coreia ("Plaintiff" or "Coreia") initiated this action by filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on November 5, 2004 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1342, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and invoking the Court's supplemental jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). (Rec. Doc. 29). On January 24, 2005 Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, which was briefed by the parties. On March 24, 2005, we issued an Order directing Plaintiff to file an amended complaint as Plaintiff attached factual allegations to his submission that were not contained within the four corners of his complaint. (See Rec. Doc. 19).

On June 30, 2005, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. On September 16, 2005, we granted Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's amended complaint in part and denied it in part. (Rec. Doc. 29). We granted Defendants' Motion with respect to the following: (1) Plaintiff's substantive due process claim (Count 3); (2) Plaintiff's claim for punitive damages against Defendant Schuylkill County Intermediate Unit #29 ("I.U."); (3) Plaintiff's official capacity claims against Defendants James Monaghan ("Monaghan"), Gerald Achenbach ("Achenbach"), and James S. Fogarty ("Fogarty"); and (4) Plaintiff's claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count 6). Id. By way of stipulation, on March 13, 2006, Defendant Fogarty was dismissed from this lawsuit. (Rec. Doc. 35).

Defendants filed the instant Motion on April 3, 2006, which has been briefed by the parties. The Motion is therefore ripe for disposition.


Summary judgment is appropriate if "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); see also Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing "there is no genuine issue for trial." Young v. Quinlan, 960 F.2d 351, 357 (3d Cir. 1992). Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences which a fact finder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982).

Initially, the moving party has a burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). This may be met by the moving party pointing out to the court that there is an absence of evidence to support an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that, where such a motion is made and properly supported, the non-moving party must then show by affidavits, pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, that there is a genuine issue for trial. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e). The United States Supreme Court has commented that this requirement is tantamount to the non-moving party making a sufficient showing as to the essential elements of their case that a reasonable jury could find in its favor. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.

It is important to note that "the non-moving party cannot rely upon conclusory allegations in its pleadings or in memoranda and briefs to establish a genuine issue of material fact." Pastore v. Bell Tel. Co. of Pa., 24 F.3d 508, 511 (3d Cir. 1994) (citation omitted). However, all inferences "should be drawn in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and where the non-moving party's evidence contradicts the movant's, then the non-movant's must be taken as true." Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992), cert. denied, 507 U.S. 912 (1993) (citations omitted).

Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)(emphasis in original). "As to materiality, the substantive law will identify which facts are material." Id. at 248. A dispute is considered to be genuine only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.


We initially note that we will, where necessary, view the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Plaintiff, in our analysis of the pending Motion.

Local Rule ("L.R.") 56.1 governs motions for summary judgment. We note with some disappointment Plaintiff's failure to adhere to the strictures of L.R. 56.1, in particular the requirement that:

The papers opposing a motion for summary judgment shall include a separate, short and concise statement of the material facts, responding to the numbered paragraphs set forth in the statement [filed by the moving party], as to which it is contended that there exists a genuine issued to be tried.

In the case sub judice, in accordance with L.R. 56.1, Defendants filed contemporaneously with their Motion a "Statement of Uncontested Facts In Support of Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion" (doc. 39). Defendants' Statement of Uncontested Facts consists of ninety-five numbered paragraphs supported by references to the record as required under L.R. 56.1. Stated another way, each proffered uncontested fact is supported by either an exhibit or a specific citation to the record developed during discovery. In response thereto, Plaintiff filed an "Objection to Defendants [sic] Statement of Uncontested Facts in its Claim For Support of Summary Judgment Motion" (doc. 53), which merely "objects" to some, not all, of Defendants' proffered uncontested facts. Moreover, Plaintiff's "objections" only address exhibits filed by Defendants. Contrary to the requirements of L.R. 56.1, Plaintiff failed to indicate whether he "admitted" or "denied" each proffered fact and additionally failed to offer any citations to the record in support of his "objections."

Notably, L.R. 56.1 provides instruction when its strictures are not followed. "All material facts set forth in the statement required to be served by the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement required to be served by the opposing party." Plaintiff has offered the Court no evidence to contradict the specific factual citations and exhibits offered by Defendants in support of their Motion. Therefore, pursuant to L.R. 56.1 and applicable case law, we will deem Defendants' "Statement of Uncontested Facts" to be admitted.*fn1 See Conway v. Bell Hearing Aid Centers, Inc., 2005 WL 3159072, *1 (M.D. Pa. 2005) ("As Plaintiff failed to file a statement of facts in opposition to Defendant's statement of undisputed material facts, Defendant's statement of facts are deemed to be admitted as true unless directly contested by Plaintiff's proffered evidence in opposition"); Bouriez v. Carnegie Mellon Univ., 2005 WL 2106582, *2-3 (W.D. Pa. 2005).

Plaintiff worked for Defendants from November 1999 through August 2003. Defendant Schuylkill County Area Vocational-Technical School is a governmental entity consisting of three separate educational entities. The Intermediate Unit ("I.U.") encompasses special education and vocational technology education. Defendant Achenbach was employed by the I.U. as the Assistant Executive Director at all relevant times to this litigation. Also at all relevant times to this litigation Defendant Monaghan was employed by the I.U. as the Director of Vocational Educational. Defendant Fogarty, who as noted was dismissed with prejudice from this action, was employed by the I.U. as the Executive Director, but was on medical leave at all relevant times to this litigation.

Plaintiff began teaching evening adult machine trade courses at the Schuylkill Technology Center in or around November 1999. On or around December 8, 1999, the I.U. and Plaintiff jointly applied for an emergency teaching certificate. Within six months after obtaining an emergency certificate, Plaintiff passed the required competency test and started taking the appropriate classes with Temple University. (Coreia Dep. at 15-17). Plaintiff was issued a Vocational Intern Certificate with an effective date of August 2000 by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Rec. Doc. 42, Defs.' Ex. 14). The intern certificate is valid for a period of three years. Id. A person holding a valid Vocational Intern Certificate would become eligible for a ...

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