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Gina N. Del Tinto v. Clubcom

November 15, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge



Before the Court is the Defendants' collective Motion for Summary Judgment in this case wherein Plaintiff sued her former employer and under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq.*fn1 Doc. No. 36. Defendants' Brief in Support of the Summary Judgment Motion sets forth several reasons why Judgment should be entered in favor of Defendants. Doc. No. 39. Plaintiff filed a Brief in Opposition to the Motion (doc. no. 44) and Defendant filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition. Doc. No. 58. The matter is now ripe for disposition.

I. Standard of Review

A Court must grant summary judgment, "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and [if] the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R.Civ.P. 56(a). This determination requires that we view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw all inferences in her favor. Stratechuck v. Bd. of Educ., S. Orange--Maplewood Sch. Dist., 587 F.3d 597, 603 (3d Cir. 2009).

A fact is material if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law," and the dispute is genuine if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Olivieri v. County of Bucks, 2012 WL 5235684, *4 (3d Cir. 2012), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there is no 'genuine issue for trial.'" Id., citing Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

Once the moving party has properly supported its showing that there is no triable issue of fact and demonstrated an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law, the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).

In summary, the inquiry under a Rule 56 motion is whether the evidence of record presents a genuine dispute over material facts so as to require submission of the matter to a jury for resolution of that factual dispute or whether the evidence is so one-sided that the movant must prevail as a matter of law. It is on this standard that the Court has reviewed the Defendants' Summary Judgment Motion and the Plaintiff's Response.

II. Background - Material Facts

The following material facts are not in dispute and have been taken directly from the parties' Joint Concise Statement of Material Facts.

In 2011, Plaintiff worked for Defendant ClubCom, LLC, a subsidiary of Defendant Zoom Media Corporation. Doc. No. 60, ¶¶ 1-3. While working for Defendants, Plaintiff's title was "local data entry sales employee" and her primary job duty was to input data from advertising sales contracts into Defendants' computer system. Id. ¶ 4. Plaintiff's employment with Defendants began in February of 2011 and ended on September 13, 2011, when Plaintiff resigned from the company. Id. ¶ 6.

Plaintiff does not have a learning disability. Id. ¶¶ 10, 30. Plaintiff claims that she learned from one co-worker that another co-worker -- Sarah O'Toole -- called her a "freakin' retard," a fact which O'Toole, the alleged speaker, denied shortly after O'Toole and Plaintiff had a disagreement on or about August 24 and 25, 2011, over a sales contract. Id. ¶¶ 12, 17. Plaintiff said that she was offended by this term because her father's second cousin has Down Syndrome and her niece has Asperger's Disorder. Id. ¶ 30.

O'Toole was not Plaintiff's supervisor, O'Toole did not supervise Plaintiff in any way, Plaintiff and O'Toole did not share a supervisor, and O'Toole was physically located on the opposite side of building from Plaintiff. Id. ¶¶ 13-15. Plaintiff's interactions with O'Toole occurred on an as-needed basis, when questions arose pertaining to information contained in the contracts that Plaintiff was to input into the data entry system. Id. ¶ 16.

The dispute between Plaintiff and O'Toole arose over a sales contract obtained by a sales representative. Id. ¶ 17. The sales representative had instructed that someone from O'Toole's department was to contact him when the sales contract arrived at Defendants' place of business, but when Defendants' receptionist opened the package containing the sales contract, she gave it directly to Plaintiff so she could input the contract data into Defendants' computer system. Id. ¶¶ 18-20. When employees from O'Toole's department went looking for ...

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