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Murray v. JELD-WEN, Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 6, 2013

Matthew J. MURRAY, Plaintiff
v.
JELD-WEN, INC., Defendant.

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Stephen D. Rhoades, Law Offices of Edward McNeels, Theodore R. Laputka, Jr., Theodore R. Laputka, Jr. & Associates, Hazleton, PA, for Plaintiff.

Courtney Angeli, Robin Bowerfind, Buchanan Angeli Allschul & Sullivan, Portland, OR, Marianne J. Gilmartin, Stevens & Lee, PC, Scranton, PA, for Defendant.

MEMORANDUM

MALACHY E. MANNION, District Judge.

Presently before the court are the following motions: (1) the defendant's partial motion for summary judgment on the issue of damages, (Doc. No. 30 ); (2) the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's response to the defendant's concise statement of material facts in support of the partial motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 43 ); (3) the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment on the merits of his claims, (Doc. No. 49 ); and (4) the defendant's motion for summary judgment on the merits of the plaintiff's claims, (Doc. No. 51 ).

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

By way of relevant background, on May 11, 2011, the plaintiff filed the instant action alleging violations by the defendant of the Family and Medical Leave Act, (" FMLA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 2619. (Doc. No. 1 ). Specifically, the plaintiff alleges tat

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the defendant failed to provide him with a comparable position upon return from leave, retaliated against him for taking leave, and terminated his employment while he was on leave. After having been granted an extension of time to do so, (Doc. No. 7 ), on June 21, 2011, the defendant filed an answer to the plaintiff's complaint, (Doc. No. 8 ).

On September 7, 2011, the parties consented to have the undersigned conduct all proceedings in this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73 [1]. (Doc. No. 17 ).

On January 18, 2012, the defendant filed a partial motion for summary judgment on the issue of damages, (Doc. No. 30 ), along with a brief, (Doc. No. 31 ), and supporting declarations, (Doc. No. 32, Doc. No. 33 ). On February 7, 2012, the plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to the partial motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 34 ). After having been granted permission to do so, (Doc. No. 36 ), on February 10, 2007, the defendant filed a previously excluded concise statement of material facts in support of the partial motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 37 ). On February 21, 2012, the defendant filed a reply brief in support of its partial motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 38 ). Subsequently, on February 29, 2012, the plaintiff filed a response to the defendant's concise statement of material facts. (Doc. No. 39 ).

On March 7, 2012, the defendant filed a motion to strike the plaintiff's response to its concise statement of material facts in support of the partial motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 40 ), along with a supporting declaration, (Doc. No. 41 ). After the motion to strike was challenged by the plaintiff on the basis that the defendant had filed neither a certificate of concurrence nor a supporting brief, (Doc. No. 42 ), on April 6, 2012, the defendant filed an amended motion to strike, (Doc. No. 43 ). Accompanying the amended motion was a certificate of concurrence/non-concurrence, which indicated a failed attempt to obtain concurrence from plaintiff's counsel, (Doc. No. 43 ), as well as a supporting brief. (Doc. No. 44 ). In addition, the defendant filed a supporting declaration. (Doc. No. 45 ). On September 24, 2012, the plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to the defendant's amended motion to strike. (Doc. No. 74 ) [2].

On April 30, 2012, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment on the merits of his claims along with supporting exhibits, (Doc. No. 49 ), and a brief, (Doc. No. 50 ). On May 16, 2012, the plaintiff filed a statement of material facts in support of his motion. (Doc. No. 59 ). The defendant filed a brief in opposition to the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment with supporting exhibits on June 6, 2012, (Doc. No. 65 ), as well as a response to the plaintiff's statement of material facts, (Doc. No. 66 ). The plaintiff filed a reply brief on June 20, 2012. (Doc. No. 69 ).

In the meantime, the defendant also filed a motion for summary judgment on the merits on April 30, 2012, (Doc. No. 51 ), along with a statement of material facts and supporting exhibits, (Doc. No.

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52 ). On May 10, 2012, the defendant filed a supporting brief. (Doc. No. 58 ). The plaintiff filed a response to the defendant's statement of material facts on May 31, 2012, (Doc. No. 63 ), along with an opposing brief, (Doc. No. 64 ). The defendant filed a reply brief in support of the motion on June 14, 2012, (Doc. No. 67 ), along with a declaration, (Doc. No. 68 ).

Oral argument was held on the pending dispositive motions on January 4, 2013.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate if the " pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) .

The Supreme Court has stated that:

" ... [T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be ‘ no genuine issue as to any material fact,’ since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party is ‘ entitled to judgment as a matter of law’ because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof."

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. The moving party can discharge that burden by " showing ... that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325, 106 S.Ct. 2548.

Issues of fact are genuine " only if a reasonably jury, considering the evidence presented, could find for the nonmoving party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir.1988) (citations omitted). Material facts are those which will effect the outcome of the trial under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The court may not weigh the evidence nor make credibility determinations. Boyle v. County of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir.1998). In determining whether an issue of material fact exists, the court must consider all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 393.

If the moving party meets his initial burden, the opposing party must do more than raise some metaphysical doubt as to material facts, but must show sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Id.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Defendant's Motion to Strike

Of the pending motions, the court first considers the defendant's amended motion to strike the plaintiff's answers to its statement of facts in support of the partial motion for summary judgment on damages. (Doc. No. 43 ). In its motion, the defendant asks the court to strike the plaintiff's entire response to its statement of material facts on the basis that, contrary to L.R. 56.1, some of the responding

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facts are not supported by any record citation, while other of the responses cite to deposition transcripts which were not part of the record when the responsive statement of facts was filed. Upon review, the defendant's motion to strike will be granted in part and denied in part.

In considering the defendant's motion, L.R. 56.1 provides:

A motion for summary judgment filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 shall be accompanied by a separate, short and concise statement of the material facts, in numbered paragraphs, as to which the moving ...

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