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Scott v. Airtran Airways

September 21, 2006

MICHAEL D. SCOTT PLAINTIFF,
v.
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS, INC., KELLY GUSTAFSON, AMY MORRIS, LORAL BLINDE AND CAROL NOLTON, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ambrose, Chief District Judge

OPINION and ORDER OF COURT SYNOPSIS

Pending is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment relating to claims of age, race, and gender discrimination, as well as retaliation (Docket No. 22). Plaintiff has filed a Brief in Opposition. (Docket No. 39). Based on my opinion set forth below, said Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Michael D. Scott, is an African-American male who was hired by Defendant, AirTran Airways, Inc. ("AirTran") on November 6, 2003. While employed, Plaintiff had been written up and disciplined for seven attendance violations. The last violation dealt with the swapping of shifts. The discipline for the alleged violation was a ninety day suspension of his swapping privileges.

Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a Right of Review. During the investigation into the issues raised in the Right of Review, Loral Bilinde, AirTran's Vice President for Human Resources, found out that Plaintiff had falsified information on his employment application wherein Plaintiff stated that the was furloughed by USAirways and that he voluntarily left his employment with USAirways. Plaintiff was terminated on November 15, 2004. (Docket No. 24, Exhibit I). The stated reason for Plaintiff's termination was the falsification of information on his employment application.

Thereafter, Plaintiff filed suit against AirTran, and individual employees of AirTran: Kelly Gustafson, the station manager for AirTran to the Pittsburgh International Airport; Carol Nolton, a supervisor at the Pittsburgh station; Amy Morris, the manager of employee relations at the time of Plaintiff's employment; and Loral Blinde. Mr. Blinde made the decision to terminate Plaintiff. In his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims against AirTran of age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §621, et seq., and race and gender discrimination and retaliation under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e, et seq. (Docket No. 1, Count I) Plaintiff also alleges violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. §§951, et seq. ("PHRA") against AirTran. (Docket No. 1, Count II). Plaintiff finally alleges that the individual Defendants aided and abetted employment discrimination in violation of the PHRA. (Docket No. 1, Count III). See, Docket No. 39, p. 8.

Pending is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants. (Docket No. 22). Plaintiff opposes the same. (Docket No. 39). The issues are now ripe for review.

II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. Legal Standard of Review

Summary judgment may only be granted 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 judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

In considering a motion for summary judgment, this Court must examine the facts in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. International Raw Materials, Ltd. v. Stauffer Chemical Co., 898 F.2d 946, 949 (3d Cir. 1990). The burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that the evidence creates no genuine issue of material fact. Chipollini v. Spencer Gifts, Inc., 814 F.2d 893, 896 (3d Cir. 1987). The dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material when it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Id. Where the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial, the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the non-movant's burden of proof at trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, who must go beyond its pleadings, and designate specific facts by the use of affidavits, depositions, admissions, or answers to interrogatories showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Summary judgment must therefore be granted "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." White v. Westinghouse Electric Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988), quoting, Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.

B. Plaintiff's ADEA Claims

In Count I of the Complaint, Plaintiff seeks relief for age discrimination pursuant to the ADEA. See, Complaint, Count I. Plaintiff does not attempt to present any evidence of age discrimination pursuant to the ADEA (i.e. that persons under the age of 40 were treated differently than he was treated). In fact, for all intents and purposes, Plaintiff concedes this point. See, Brief in Opposition, Docket No. 39, p. 11. Specifically, Plaintiff states as follows: At a minimum the current record allows for varied interpretations concerning whether Scott was treated differently from other employees who were not African-American males. Therefore factual disputes about whether white employees or female employees were disciplined more leniently or not at all, and ultimately whether Scott was discharged for an infraction for which similarly situated white or female employees were not is clearly a question for the jury.

Id. At no point does Plaintiff discuss his age or present any evidence of age discrimination. See, Docket Nos. 38-39. Consequently, I find that Plaintiff has failed to come forward with evidence to meet the prima facie test under the ADEA. Therefore, summary ...


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