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Mattis v. Geisinger Medical Center

November 21, 2006

WILLIAM MATTIS AND DEBORAH MATTIS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
GEISINGER MEDICAL CENTER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Jones III United States District Judge

Judge Jones

ORDER

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Pending before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ("the Motion") (doc. 50), filed on October 2, 2006. Defendants' Motion seeks summary judgment as to Plaintiffs' claims in their entirety. (Rec. Doc. 52 at 2). The Court will note that Defendants requested oral argument in their Brief in Support of the Motion. (Rec. Doc. 52 at 3). However, having thoroughly reviewed the submissions, the Court finds that oral argument would be not be beneficial at this time. Thus, we decline to engage the parties therein. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND:

On or about April 22, 2004, Plaintiffs filed their initial Complaint in this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, naming as Defendant the Geisinger Medical Center ("GMC"). (Rec. Doc. 52-2, Ex. A). Plaintiffs' initial Complaint contains three Counts: Count I appears to allege a negligence claim and/or a claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Count II appears to allege a negligence claim, and Count III alleges a loss of consortium claim. (Rec. Doc. 52-2, Ex. A). On or about May 20, 2004, GMC removed the action to this Court on the basis of federal question jurisdiction, in light of Count I's allegations of ADA violations. The action was docketed with this Court as Civil Action No. 04-CV-1107.

On or about November 5, 2004, Plaintiffs filed a second action in the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, naming as Defendants to that Complaint GMC and Geisinger Health System Foundation ("Foundation"). (Rec. Doc. 52-3, Ex. B). Plaintiffs' second Complaint contains two Counts: Count I again appears to allege a negligence claim and/or a claim under the ADA, and Count II appears to allege a negligence claim. (Rec. Doc. 52-3, Ex. B). On or about November 24, 2004, Defendants removed the second action to this Court, also on the basis of federal question jurisdiction. The action was docketed with this Court as Civil Action No. 04-CV-2559.

On or about January 10, 2005, this Court entered an Order approving the parties' stipulation that the above listed actions be consolidated at Civil Action No. 04-CV-1107. (Rec. Doc. 32).

On or about October 2, 2006, Defendants filed the instant Motion. (Rec. Doc. 50). Having received Defendants' Brief in Support of Defendants' Motion (doc. 52) and Plaintiffs' Brief in Opposition to Defendants' Motion (doc. 60), and having been informed on November 20, 2006, that Defendants did not wish to file a Reply Brief, the Motion, is, therefore, ripe for disposition.*fn1

STANDARD OF REVIEW:

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 that a fact finder could draw from them. See 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. See 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. See id. at 325.

Rule 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. See 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. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23 (1986).

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 ...


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