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Marie Villard v. Whitemarsh Continuing Care Retirement Cmty

December 14, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gene E.K. Pratter United States District Judge




Plaintiff Marie Villard has sued her former employer, the Whitemarsh Continuing Care Retirement Community ("Whitemarsh"), for interference and retaliation under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and for worker's compensation retaliation under Pennsylvania law. Whitemarsh now moves for summary judgment against Ms. Villard's claims. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Whitemarsh's motion.


Whitemarsh hired Ms. Villard as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) for its retirement community in December 2007. Ms. Villard worked nighttime shifts at Whitemarsh, and her job duties included bathing residents, laundering their clothes, monitoring their vital signs, and preparing them for medical treatment.

In April 2010, Ms. Villard injured her shoulder while moving a resident at Whitemarsh. After Ms. Villard reported her injury, Whitemarsh sent her to Concentra, a treatment facility. Concentra allowed Ms. Villard to continue working at Whitemarsh, but restricted her from lifting over ten pounds, pushing or pulling over 30 pounds of force, and reaching above her shoulders. Whitemarsh allowed Ms. Villard to comply with these restrictions by having her work in its activities department rather than in her normal CNA position. In July 2010, Concentra cleared Ms. Villard to work without restrictions, and she returned to her job as a CNA.

In September 2010, Ms. Villard met with Kristine Carcarey, the Director of Nursing at Whitemarsh, and Susan McMenamin, Whitemarsh's Director of Human Resources. Ms. Carcarey and Ms. McMenamin informed Ms. Villard that a resident who lived in Room 222 had complained about Ms. Villard's rude behavior, and they told Ms. Villard that they would have to investigate the complaint. They also asked Ms. Villard to write a statement about her interactions with the resident. In the statement, Ms. Villard denied acting rudely or disrespectfully towards the resident. However, Christina Kritzer, another Whitemarsh employee, subsequently interviewed the resident about Ms. Villard's behavior, and the resident alleged that Ms. Villard told her to not "get smart with me."

On September 23, 2010, Karen Gemmel, another Whitemarsh employee, called Ms. Villard to schedule a follow-up meeting regarding the investigation. The next day, Ms. Villard had a second meeting with Ms. Carcarey and Ms. McMenamin. On September 27, Whitemarsh terminated Ms. Villard. Whitemarsh has justified its termination by alleging that Ms. Villard acted antagonistically towards her fellow employees during her phone call with Ms. Gemmel and her second meeting with Ms. Carcarey and Ms. McMenamin.


Upon the motion of a party, summary judgment is appropriate if, "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials," Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c), the moving party persuades the district court that "there exists no genuine issue of material fact that would permit a reasonable jury to find for the nonmoving party." Lemaire v. Hartford Life & Accident Ins. Co., 69 F. App'x 88, 91 n.2 (3d Cir. 2003) (quotation omitted). An issue is "genuine" if a reasonable jury could hold in the non-movant's favor with regard to that issue. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is only "material" if its resolution could affect the result of the suit under governing law. Id.

In evaluating a summary judgment motion, a court "must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party," and make every reasonable inference in that party's favor. Hugh v. Butler Cnty. Family YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 267 (3d Cir. 2005). If, after making all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, the court determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, summary judgment is appropriate. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Wisniewski v. Johns-Manville Corp., 812 F.2d 81, 83 (3d Cir. 1987).


A.FMLA Retaliation ...

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