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Parker v. Midwest Air Traffic Control

May 12, 2009

LAURA LYNN PARKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MIDWEST AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL, DEFENDANT.



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

OPINION and ORDER OF COURT

SYNOPSIS

Plaintiff, Laura Lynn Parker, asserts claims of employment discrimination arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§2000e, et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §12101, et seq., against her former employer, Defendant, Midwest Air Traffic Control ("Midwest"). (Docket No. 19). Defendant has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Docket No. 43). After careful consideration of the Motion and related filings and based on my opinion set forth below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 43) is granted.

OPINION AND ORDER OF COURT

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Since January 1, 2005, Defendant, Midwest, provides air traffic control services at the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania ("Latrobe"). Plaintiff was employed by Defendant as an air traffic controller from January 1, 2005 through October 31, 2005. Plaintiff was terminated from employment with Defendant on October 31, 2005.

The reason the air traffic control position at Latrobe exists is to control air traffic. To control air traffic at Latrobe, each controller is required to hold a Control Tower Operator ("CTO") Certificate which is a license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration ("FAA") and enables the holder to control air traffic at the airports listed on the CTO Certificate. A current, valid Class II Medical Certificate ("Class II") is required to maintain the CTO Certificate. FAA regulators require all air traffic controllers to hold a current, valid Class II whenever controlling air traffic. A CTO Certificate is a job requirement of an air traffic controller at Latrobe. A person cannot work as an air traffic controller at Latrobe without a Class II.

Plaintiff had a Class II while employed with Defendant until October 31, 2005. At her medical examination on October 24, 2005, Plaintiff informed the FAA flight surgeon of her diagnosis of insulin dependent diabetes mellitus Type 1. Following the October 24, 2005, examination, Plaintiff was not reissued a Class II Certificate by the FAA. Plaintiff could not get a Class II until she received a waiver/special consideration from the FAA. Plaintiff discussed with Greg Retallick, Defendant's air traffic manager at Latrobe, that she failed the Class II. Retallick reported to Bruce Murr, Defendant's air traffic services manager for Area 1, that Plaintiff failed the Class II. Murr reported to Bill Ellis, vice president of aviation services, that Plaintiff lost the Class II. By letter dated October 28, 2005, from Ellis to Plaintiff, Defendant terminated Plaintiff effective October 31, 2005, because she no longer held a current, valid Class II.

Plaintiff initiated this law suit against Defendant asserting claims of employment discrimination arising under Title VII and the ADA. (Docket Nos. 1 and 19). Defendant has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment as to all claims. (Docket No. 43). The issues are now ripe for review.

II. LEGAL ANALYSIS

A. 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 ...


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