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Coppola v. JNESO - Pocono Medical Center

August 25, 2009

MAUREEN A. COPPOLA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JNESO - POCONO MEDICAL CENTER, DISTRICT COUNCIL 1, IUOE-AFL-CIO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. Richard Caputo United States District Judge

(JUDGE CAPUTO)

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants Pocono Health System and Pocono Medical Center. (Doc. 58.) Defendants move for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff Maureen Coppola's sole remaining claim, a state law claim for wrongful discharge raised in Count III of her complaint (Doc. 1.) For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Background

Plaintiff was employed as a nurse by Defendant Pocono Medical Center, a subsidiary of Defendant Pocono Health Systems (Defendants are together referred to herein as "Pocono"). She was a member of a labor union that has a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") with her employer. (Defs.' Statement of Facts ¶ 8, Doc. 60; Pl.'s Counter-Statement of Facts ¶ 8, Doc. 61.) Article 5.1 of the CBA provides, in relevant part, "[t]he Hospital shall have the right to discharge, suspend, or discipline any employee for just cause." (Ex. 8, Doc. 62.)

Plaintiff was terminated by Pocono in October 2007 on grounds that she failed to carry out a doctor's orders regarding the care of a patient. (Ex. A, Doc. 60.) Union records reflect that the union concluded Pocono was "justified in terminating the employee." (Id.)

II. Procedural Background

Plaintiff filed a four-count complaint on April 29, 2008, against the Pocono Defendants as well as her union, JNESO - Pocono Medical Center, District Council 1, IUOE-AFL-CIO. (Doc. 1.) Count I raises a claim against Pocono for breach of the CBA. Count II raises a claim for breach of the duty of fair representation against the union. Count III raises a wrongful discharge claim against Pocono. Count IV raises a claim against Pocono for violation of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act.

This Court dismissed Count IV of the complaint by Memorandum and Order dated August 21, 2008. (Doc. 31.) Counts I and II of the complaint were dismissed by Stipulation (Doc. 49), approved by the Court on April 16, 2009 (Doc. 50). Count III is the sole remaining claim.

Defendants filed the present motion for summary judgment with respect to Plaintiff's remaining claim on June 16, 2009. (Doc. 58.) This motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

This Court exercised jurisdiction pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 185 (jurisdiction over actions and proceedings by or against labor organizations) and continues to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff's remaining state law claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) (supplemental jurisdiction).

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate 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 a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A fact is material if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect the outcome of the ...


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