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Jose Colon v. Ashford Bucks County

November 7, 2012

JOSE COLON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
ASHFORD BUCKS COUNTY, LLC D/B/A SHERATON BUCKS COUNTY HOTEL AND ASHFORD TRS SAPPHIRE VI, LLC D/B/A SHERATON BUCKS COUNTY HOTEL AND REMINGTON LODGING AND HOSPITALITY LP AND OTIS ELEVATOR COMPANY, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

Currently pending before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Remington Lodging & Hospitality, LLC. For the following reasons, the motion will be GRANTED.

I. INTRODUCTION

On March 2, 2011, Plaintiff filed suit against Ashford Bucks County, LLC ("Ashford Bucks"), Ashford TRS Sapphire VI, LLC ("Ashford TRS"), Remington Hotel and Lodging LP ("Remington L&H, LLC"),*fn1 and Otis Elevator Company ("Otis"). All of these entities were connected with the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel ("the Hotel") in some manner. Plaintiff claims Defendants are liable for negligence based on a contract between Otis and the Hotel. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 11). On March 23, 2011, Ashford Bucks, Ashford TRS, and Remington, L&H, LLC, filed an Answer to the Complaint. (Doc. No. 7).*fn2

This matter was initially assigned to District Court Judge C. Darnell Jones, II. On September 14, 2011, the parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge under 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. P. 73, and the matter was referred to me. (Doc. No. 14).

Fact discovery closed on June 25, 2012. (Doc. No. 23). On July 25, 2012, Remington L&H, LLC filed the instant motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 31). Remington, L&H, LLC, asserts that summary judgment is appropriate because they are entitled to immunity under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Act ("The Act"). Specifically, Remington L&H, LLC argues they were Plaintiff's employer at the time of the alleged incident and thus are entitled to immunity under the exclusivity provision of the Act. (Doc. No. 31). Plaintiff disputes that Remington L&H, LLC was Plaintiff's employer, and argues that material issues of fact exist on the question of which entity was Plaintiff's employer. (Doc. No. 35).

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff was hired to work at the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel ("the Hotel") in 2008. During all relevant times, the Hotel was owned by Ashford Bucks. (Doc. No. 35-1 at 2).

Ashford Bucks leased the Hotel property to Ashford TRS VI, who in turn entered into a maintenance contract with Remington L&H, LLC. Id.

On April 17, 2009, a fire occurred at the Hotel. (Doc. No. 1, ¶15). As a result of the fire, the hotel elevators, including the service elevator, stopped operating. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 15). The next day, April 18, 2009, Plaintiff was using the Hotel service elevator in the course of his employment, when the elevator doors allegedly closed on Plaintiff's arm, causing injury. (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 19).

As a result of this injury, Plaintiff received worker's compensation under the Act. Plaintiff entered into a Compromise and Release Agreement on January 26, 2011. (Doc. No. 31, Ex. 2-B). On that same day, worker's compensation Judge Joseph McManus entered an order and finding of fact ratifying the agreement, finding that Plaintiff knew and understood the terms of the agreement. (Doc. No. 31, Ex. 3-C). Plaintiff's worker's compensation documents list Remington Hotel Corporation, not Remington L&H, LLC, as Plaintiff's employer. Further, Remington Hotel Corporation is the listed entity who paid Plaintiff's worker's compensation premiums.*fn3 Remington L&H, LLC argues that this was a mistake, and Remington L&H, LLC was actually Plaintiff's employer at the relevant time. (Doc. No. 31, ¶ 20).

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is only appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). An issue is "genuine" if there is sufficient evidence from which a jury could find in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id.

It is not the court's role to weigh the disputed evidence and decide which is more probative, or to make credibility determinations. The court must consider the evidence, and all reasonable inferences which may be drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986) (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); Tigg Corp. v. Dow Corning Corp., 822 F.2d 358, 361 (3d Cir. 1987). If a conflict arises between the evidence presented by both sides, the court must ...


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