Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Michniewicz v. Metasource

November 19, 2010

LESLIE MICHNIEWICZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METASOURCE, LLC, D/B/A METASOURCE, DEFENDANT.
LORETTA KEOUGH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METASOURCE, LLC, D/B/A METASOURCE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.

MEMORANDUM ON SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Plaintiffs Leslie Michniewicz ("Michniewicz") and Loretta Keough ("Keough," collectively with Michniewicz, "Plaintiffs") commenced separate actions*fn1 bringing interference and retaliation claims under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., against their former employer Metasource, LLC, d/b/a Metasource ("Metasource"). Plaintiffs had been employed by Metasource as full-time document preppers, and allege, inter alia, that Metasource denied or otherwise interfered with their substantive rights under the FMLA and retaliated against them by terminating them while they were on FMLA leave for surgical procedures. Pending before the Court are Metasource's Motions for Summary Judgment (Michniewicz, ECF No. 28; Keough, ECF No. 11, collectively "Summ. J. Mots."), which seek to dismiss all of Plaintiffs' claims. After oral argument on the pending motions and an exhaustive review of the record, and for the reasons that follow, both Motions will be denied.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

A. Plaintiffs' Employment

Metasource is a business processing outsourcing company. (Jones Dep. 20:7-12.*fn2

Michniewicz began working for Metasource as a temporary employee in March 2007,*fn3 and became a full-time employee in May 2007. (Pls.' Facts ¶ 6.) Keough began working for Metasource as a temporary employee in late 2006, and became a full time employee in November 2007. (Keough Dep. 9:22-24, 14:15-15:11.*fn4 Both plaintiffs were terminated on June 15, 2009. (Def.'s Facts, Ex. A, Payroll Records.)

Plaintiffs worked as document preppers under the supervision of Scott Doyle ("Doyle").

(Michniewicz Dep. 62:3-8*fn5; Keough Dep. 34:12-16.) Doyle supervised Plaintiffs during their entire tenures at Metasource. (Michniewicz Dep. 62:3-8; Keough Dep. 34:12-16.) As preppers, Plaintiffs were responsible for preparing clients' documents for processing -- they removed paperclips and staples, fixed bent corners, and organized the documents in line with bar-coded materials. (Michniewicz Dep. 53:21-54:14; Keough Dep. 49:20-50:12.) Preparation specifications varied across clients. (Keough Dep. 50:20-24.) Both Plaintiffs believe that Doyle preferred, and showed favoritism towards, the other document preppers. (Michniewicz Dep. 116:3-10; Keough Dep. 54:19-55:22.)

Neither Plaintiff was disciplined during her employment with Metasource. (Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 12-14, Def.'s Resp. to Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 12-14; & Ex. E, at 3; Doyle Dep. 61:19-23, 68:2-7.*fn6 ) But Michniewicz did testify that on three separate occasions, Doyle made comments about her ability to work in light of her problems with her hands. (Michniewicz Dep. 108:16-109:3.) She testified that on the third occasion, Doyle said, "I don't know why you're still working here. Why don't you just quit, because if your hands are hurting that much, or whatever, I don't know why you just don't leave this job and quit. Don't you think it would be better for you and the health of your hands?" (Michniewicz Dep. 108:19-109:2.) Michniewicz responded, "[O]nce my operation my hands are going to be good again." (Michniewicz Dep. 109:2-3.) Keough does not contend that Doyle made any statements to her or others regarding her health.

In April 2009, Michniewicz requested and was granted leave for neck surgery, and Keough requested and was granted leave for surgery to remove a cyst. (Michniewicz Dep. 86:12-21, 92:9-93:2; Keough Dep. 46:4-12.) Michniewicz also applied for and received short-term disability benefits. (Michniewicz Dep. 93:3-23.)

B. Metasource's Business

In late 2008, Metasource experienced reduced demand from three customers -- TastyKake, Prestige Windows, and Swift Trucking. (Doyle Dep. 108:12-111:7, 112:21-24.) During the same time-frame Metasource was contemplating the acquisition of a competitor, Capture Resources, Inc. (Doyle Dep. 22:4-23:17.) Capture Resources, located across the street from Metasource's Bristol, Pennsylvania location, performed the same nature of work as Metasource. (Doyle Dep. 18:10-17.)

Both Plaintiffs acknowledged there was less work during this timeframe (Michniewicz Dep. 61:14-20; Keough Dep. 39:16-40:19), and Michniewicz acknowledged lay offs occurred (Michniewicz Dep. 95:13-22). Although there was less work, Doyle testified that Metasource continued to utilize two shifts of workers throughout 2009, but at times used only one shift in 2008. (Doyle Dep. 9:7-21.) Doyle clarified, "Business can be extremely slow, but we'll still run 16 and a half hour days because there's nothing you can do about that one client who is sending us work at 6 o'clock at night. We have to be there. Even if the first shift goes home at 1 o'clock that day because the volume is low, the second shift is still coming in...." (Doyle Dep. 90:3-10.) Further, there would be only one shift when "there [is] no business for the second shift to work." (Doyle Dep. 90:14-17.)

As a result of less demand, Metasource reduced its workforce commensurate with the diminished workload. (Doyle Dep. 48:6-49:6.) Doyle selected the preppers to terminate based on "their prep rates[, which] consist of how fast they are, how their quality was and how accurate they were." (Doyle Dep. 59:21-24.) He also considered disciplinary issues, knowledge of the job, and attendance. (Doyle Dep. 60:4-11.) Doyle testified,

"The temps were the first to go.... We got rid of the temps first. That had us down to about eight, nine employees.

I held on [to] the nine as long as I could, because... after the two processes of the big clients were minimized, we had a lot of little projects to finish.... Then once the work was even lower in volume, we... laid off our two part-time people.

So after the three temps, two-part time, that had the 12 down to about seven. So I worked with seven preppers for a few weeks until it got extremely -- to the slowest it ever was.... I had to lay off the final three, which I believe that's where [Michniewicz] came into play." (Doyle Dep. 50:4-51:2.)

Metasource decided to discharge Plaintiffs in May 2009, when both were still on FMLA leave, and their terminations took effect on June 15, 2009. (Michniewicz Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 6, 13; Keough Def.'s Facts ¶ 7; Doyle Dep. 87:8-10.) Michniewicz was not informed of her layoff until June 2009, and the effective date of her layoff was delayed until June 15, 2009, the day when she had been "physically cleared to resume working without [medical] restrictions." (Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 25-26; Def.'s Resp. to ¶ 25-26.) Preppers were the only personnel terminated during this reduction.*fn7 (Doyle Dep. 58:24-59:6.)

Later in May 2009, Metasource acquired an additional fifteen preppers from Capture Resources. (Doyle Dep. 29:21-22, 32:19-33:5.) Doyle then reduced the Capture Resources preppers down to twelve based on prep and speed rates, quality and accuracy rates, and his "own judgment meaning who takes longer cigarette breaks, who uses the bathroom more, who didn't show up on these certain days, who wouldn't stay longer for us... who would sit down for the majority of the day, who would take extra breaks, who would sneak off for a little bit, [and] who would play with their iPod too much." (Doyle Dep. 33:15-18, 34:11-35:8.) Although he admitted he did not have access to their rates for their tenure at Capture Resources, he conducted tests on behalf of Metasource. (Compare Doyle Dep. 84:1-3; with Doyle Dep. 21:14-20, 33:12-18, 34:6-9.)

Plaintiffs dispute that Metasource terminated them because of a lack of work. Plaintiffs aver that they were not given specific reasons for their layoffs, but Metasource contends that they were told there had been a "reduction in force." (Pls.' Facts ¶¶ 25-26; Def.'s Resp. to ¶¶ 25-26.) Plaintiffs, however, contend that Metasource anticipated an increase in business once the acquisition was finalized, which occurred in May 2009. (Doyle Dep. 23:1-3.) In fact, Doyle testified that the workforce he supervised nearly doubled ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.