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Daniel Sullivan v. Temple University

March 5, 2013

DANIEL SULLIVAN,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY,
DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM

I.INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Daniel Sullivan filed suit against his former employer, Temple University, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("the ADEA") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("the PHRA"). His claims are premised on age discrimination and retaliation. Temple has moved for summary judgment, which Sullivan does not oppose with respect to the retaliation claim. For the reasons that follow, the Court grants the motion to the extent Sullivan's claims are based on retaliation and denies the motion to the extent his claims are based on age discrimination.

II.BACKGROUND*fn1

This case arises out of defendant Temple University's failure to hire Daniel Sullivan as the Community Oral Health Coordinator at Temple's Dental School. Alexia Clarke was chosen for the position instead. At the time Clarke was hired, she was approximately thirty years old and Sullivan was sixty years old. (Clarke Dep. at 7; Sullivan Dep. at 61.)

A. Sullivan's Employment at Temple

For almost six years, Sullivan worked as a Project Manager at the Dental School. (Defendant's Statement of Material Facts ("Def. SOMF") at ¶ 17.) He had various responsibilities in this role: he provided direction for development of clinics; he supervised all grant-related activities including the budget and personnel; he coordinated clinic operations; and he prepared management reports. (Id at ¶ 21.) According to Sullivan, the position was not limited to these tasks, and his responsibilities evolved over time. (Sullivan Dep. at 73-74.)

B. Sullivan's Position is Eliminated

Sullivan's salary was derived entirely from grant funds, and eventually, the funding for the grant ended in August, 2007. (Def. SOMF at ¶ 26.) Nevertheless, Temple retained Sullivan as Project Manager by using funds from open faculty positions to pay his salary. (Id. at ¶¶ 27, 29.) Approximately a year later, Temple hired Dr. Amid Ismail as Dean of the Dental School. (Id. at ¶ 30.) Dean Ismail decided to eliminate Sullivan's position and create a new position that would encompass Sullivan's duties. (Id. at ¶¶ 32-33.)

With Sullivan's job ending, his supervisor, Dr. Ivonne Ganem, needed someone to take over Sullivan's responsibilities until the new position was filled. (Id. at ¶ 45.) At the request of either Dean Ismail or Dr. Ganem, Sullivan began training Alexia Clarke to take over his duties. (Id. at ¶ 46.) Clarke was Dean Ismail's research assistant and was eventually chosen for the new position. (Id. at ¶¶ 46, 62, 101.)

C. The Community Outreach Coordinator Position

Before Sullivan's employment ended, Temple posted the new position, entitled Community Outreach Coordinator. (Id. at ¶ 49.) Four days before the posting, Dean Ismail and Dr. Ganem met. (Ganem Dep. at 176-77.) Dr. Ganem's notes from the meeting state, "Dan will not get the job. Alexia -- will be coordinating all projects and outreach. Alexia will be in charge of outreach scheduling and community engagements." (Def. SOMF at Ex. 27.)

Forty-six people applied for the position, including Sullivan. Sullivan was selected by Human Resources as one of four candidates for final consideration. (Id. at ¶ 59.) However, he was not among the two who received an interview. (Id. at ¶ 60.) Alexia Clarke was eventually offered the position. (Id. at ¶ 62.)

Sullivan discussed his unsuccessful application with Associate Vice President for Human Resources Harry Young. (Id. at ¶ 65.) Young asked his colleague Karen Ward to review the position and the search process. (Id. at ¶ 68.) Both Ward and Young concluded that Community Outreach Coordinator position was similar enough to Sullivan's Project Manager position that he should have been given an interview. (Id. at ¶ 69.) Both testified at their depositions that they believed he was qualified for the job. ...


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