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Wright v. Cor-Rite

October 2, 2007

JOHN WRIGHT, PLAINTIFF
v.
COR-RITE, INC., DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is Defendant Cor-Rite, Inc.'s motion for summary judgment in this case involving allegations of age and disability discrimination in employment. The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

Background

Plaintiff John Wright is a former employee of Cor-Rite, Inc where he began working in 1990. (Doc. 17, Deposition of Plaintiff at 3) He worked there until his termination in August 2004. (Id. at 4). At the relevant time, plaintiff was fifty-six (56) years of age. Plaintiff asserts that he was terminated due to age and disability discrimination and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. He received a right to sue letter and then instituted the instant complaint.*fn1

The complaint asserts causes of action for: 1) violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.; 2) violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq.; 3)violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, ("PHRA"), 43 PENN. STAT. § 955(a); intentional infliction of emotional distress; and wrongful discharge. At the end of discovery, defendant filed the instant motion for summary judgment.

Jurisdiction

As this case is brought pursuant to the ADA and the ADEA for unlawful employment discrimination, we have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."). We have supplemental jurisdiction over the plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.

Standard of review

Granting summary judgment is proper 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. See Knabe v. Boury, 114 F.3d 407, 410 n.4 (3d Cir. 1997) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c)). "[T]his standard provides that 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).

In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must examine the facts in the 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 is such that a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 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 v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). 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. Discussion

Defendant moves for summary judgment on plaintiff's age and disability discrimination claims arguing that plaintiff has absolutely no evidence to support his claims. Defendant also moves for summary judgment on plaintiff's state law claims. We will discuss each separately.*fn2

I. Age Discrimination

In order to establish an age discrimination claim, a plaintiff must demonstrate: (I) the plaintiff was at least 40 years old; (ii) he or she suffered an adverse employment decision; (iii) he or she is qualified for the position; and (iv) the employer gave more favorable treatment to an employee who is sufficiently younger to permit an inference of age discrimination. Tomasso v. Boeing Co., 445 F.3d 702, 706 n. 4 (3d Cir.2006). Plaintiff must satisfy all four elements. Fakete v. Aetna, Inc., 308 F.3d 335, 338 n. 3 (3d Cir.2002).

Once a prima facie case of age discrimination is established, the burden of production shifts to the defendant to provide evidence of a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its adverse employment action. Finally, the burden of production shifts back to the plaintiff to proffer evidence from which a factfinder reasonably could (1) disbelieve the employer's articulated legitimate reason, or (2) conclude that age discrimination was more likely than not the true ...


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