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Robinson v. PFPC

March 4, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.


Before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.


Plaintiff Jeffrey Robinson ("Robinson") brought this lawsuit against his former employer, PNC Global Investment Servicing Inc. ("PNC")*fn1 , alleging that his employment was illegally terminated as a result of gender discrimination, in violation of Title VII.*fn2

Defendant moves for summary judgment on the grounds that Robinson has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination in violation of Title VII or, alternatively, has failed to demonstrate that PNC's articulated, legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for terminating him is pretextual. On December 10, 2009, Plaintiff filed an opposition to Defendant's motion. (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J., doc. no. 25.) On December 16, 2009, Defendant filed a motion for leave to file a reply in further support of the motion for summary judgment.*fn3

On January 19, 2010, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to file a sur-reply in opposition to the instant motion.*fn4


A. Plaintiff's Termination

Plaintiff became an employee of PNC in January 1982. He was last employed as a Quality Assurance Clerk in Defendant's Integrated Business Transaction Department ("IBTS"). He was terminated on or about August 1, 2006, after having been suspended a week earlier. Plaintiff was informed of his discharge via telephone by Valerie Walton-Singer ("Walton-Singer"), an Employee Relations Investigator. Walton-Singer told him that he was being fired for falsification of documents.*fn5 Plaintiff acknowledged falsifying documents, but he alleges he did so at the direction of his second-level supervisor Helen Douglas-Givens ("Douglas-Givens"). Plaintiff also claims his direct supervisor, Diane Simpson ("Simpson"), was aware of this directive as well and monitored Robinson's completion of the assignment.

B. Document Falsification

During the spring and summer months of 2006, Plaintiff's department was in the midst of an outside audit. As part of the audit, in May 2006, Simpson instructed Plaintiff to find and compile certain documents required by the auditors, namely fax coversheets confirming the transmission of certain paperwork by the IBTS Department to brokers. (Id. at 25, 32.) After a search, Plaintiff told Simpson that he could not locate certain requested documents. (Id. at 36.) Simpson reported the problem to Douglas-Givens. Plaintiff claims that Douglas-Givens was concerned because, during the prior year's audit, her department could not produce those documents and she told Plaintiff that he needed to recreate the missing documents. (Id. at 48-51.) Specifically, he claims Douglas-Givens told him to backdate the fax machines on their floor and then fax documents from one machine to another - thereby creating a backdated fax transmission sheet. (Id.) Moreover, Plaintiff alleges Douglas-Givens directed him to get help from Venita White ("White"), a settlement clerk in the IBTS department, in changing the date on the fax machines, which he did. (Id. at 53-58.) Plaintiff claims this directive occurred in June 2006. (Id. at 57.)

Plaintiff admits he did re-create the documents and that it took him several weeks to complete the project. (Id. at 64.) Plaintiff claims that when he handed the documents to Douglas-Givens, he told her that this "wasn't right." He claims that Douglas-Givens told him not to worry about it and that she would take care of it. (Id. at 76.) Douglas-Givens then had the falsified documents submitted to the outside auditors. At no time did Plaintiff report any concerns he had to the human resources department or any other PNC management personnel.

C. Investigation into Document Falsification

The auditors noticed the discrepancy and Walton-Singer investigated the situation. (Decl. of Walton-Singer.) During Walton-Singer's investigation, she interviewed Robinson, Simpson and Douglas-Givens. During Robinson's first of two interviews with Walton-Singer, he lied about having any involvement in falsifying the documents. In his second interview, Plaintiff admitted to falsifying the documents. As described above, Plaintiff was fired for falsifying documents.

Walton-Singer interviewed Douglas-Givens on two occasions. She denied involvement in the falsification of the documents. (Def.'s Statement of Facts (SOF) at ¶ 31.) PNC claims that, aside from Plaintiff's allegation, there was no evidence that Douglas-Givens was involved in or knew of the falsification. (Id.) Therefore, Douglas-Givens was not disciplined or fired as a result of this incident.

As a result of Walton-Singer's investigation, Simpson was also terminated for failure to follow procedure and protocol when she failed to report Robinson's dishonest activities to her ...

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