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Lisa Mckenna v. Healthease

April 18, 2013

LISA MCKENNA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HEALTHEASE, INC., ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM

Lisa McKenna worked as a fitness instructor for Healthease, Inc. ("Healthease"), a company owned by Armand Tecco. Lockheed Martin and Healthease had an agreement under which Healthease sent a fitness instructor to Lockheed Martin's King of Prussia facility. McKenna was that fitness instructor for approximately four months before she was let go, allegedly due to her age and gender. She sued Lockheed Martin, Healthease, Tecco, and Eric Mamon, a Healthease employee. Lockheed Martin, Healthease, and Tecco filed summary judgment motions. Lockheed Martin argues that the case against it cannot proceed because Lockheed Martin did not employ McKenna. Healthease and Tecco, along with Lockheed Martin contend that McKenna has failed to create a genuine issue of material fact on her discrimination claims. Finally, problems with McKenna's standing came to the attention of this Court based on her Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. McKenna now seeks additional time to complete discovery. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies the request for additional time to complete discovery, and holds that Lockheed Martin was not McKenna's employer and that McKenna has not created a triable issue of fact on her discrimination claims. Accordingly, Defendants' motions for summary judgment are granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Healthease and Lockheed Martin had a contract in which Healthease agreed to provide an onsite fitness manager for forty hours per week at Lockheed Martin's King of Prussia campus. (Lockheed Martin's Statement of Undisputed Facts [Lockheed Martin SOF] ¶¶ 1-2.) The Healthease staff member assigned to manage the fitness center was responsible for recruiting and retaining members, marketing fitness center programs, fitness programming, performing fitness assessments, supervising and monitoring exercise participants, promoting and organizing group exercise programs, developing and implementing educational programs, designing and implementing incentive programs, creating educational bulletin boards and flyers, generating monthly reports, budgeting, managing supplies, and cleaning and maintaining exercise equipment. (Id. ¶ 4.) Jack Eisele, Lockheed Martin's manager of special services, managed Lockheed Martin's relationship with Healthease. (Id. ¶ 5.) He acted as a liaison who ensured that Lockheed Martin employees benefitted from Healthease's services while Healthease upheld its end of the bargain. (Id.)

McKenna is a fifty-two year old female. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25.) McKenna applied for a job opening with Healthease by submitting her resume on Craigslist. (Lockheed Martin SOF ¶ 15.) Tecco and Mamon interviewed McKenna at Healthease's office. (Id. ¶¶ 17, 20, 23.) She did not interview with a Lockheed Martin employee. (Id. ¶ 27.) Mamon told McKenna that she would be running Lockheed Martin's fitness facility in King of Prussia, teaching fitness classes, and providing personal training. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.) Either Tecco or Mamon offered McKenna the job and told her to meet with Patrick Rufo, a Healthease employee who worked at the King of Prussia facility, for training. (Id. ¶¶ 28-31.) Tecco provided McKenna with Healthease's compensation and benefits package and Mamon informed her of her salary and that she would work forty hours a week. (Id. ¶¶ 34-35, 37.)

McKenna started work at Lockheed Martin on September 29, 2008. (Id. ¶ 40.) She trained with Rufo and received Healthease's "Standards of Superior Service," which "described Healthease's expectations for its fitness manager with regard to certifications, fitness training, supervision, fitness assessments, exercising programming, communication, professional etiquette, dress code, appearance, working environment, and personal health standards." (Id. ¶¶ 43-44.) Healthease also set the fees for personal training. (Id. ¶ 48.) When Plaintiff missed a half day of work, she contacted Mamon; she did not contact anybody at Lockheed Martin. (Id. ¶¶ 50-51.) McKenna provided Mamon and Tecco monthly reports about her activities in the fitness center. (Id. ¶ 54.) Healthease paid McKenna's salary, issued her paycheck earning statements, issued her a W-2 form, enrolled her in direct deposit, and provided her with a 401(k) plan, medical and dental benefits, as well as long-term disability and life insurance, and paid her unemployment compensation insurance and payroll taxes. (Id. ¶¶ 55-61, 65-66.)

McKenna was terminated on January 29, 2009. (Id. ¶ 68.) Prior to McKenna's termination, Healthease saw a number of its clients cut back on the use of Healthease's services. (Lockheed Martin's Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. C [Tecco Decl.] ¶¶ 11-13.) In December 2008, Lockheed Martin and Healthease reached an agreement in which Lockheed Martin reduced its payment to Healthease. (Id. ¶ 13.) Healthease claims that it was forced to reduce its staff by one when it lost substantial income and business. (Id. ¶14.) Scott Dyck, who had worked with Healthease for three years, was assigned to Lockheed Martin's King of Prussia facility. (Lockheed Martin SOF ¶ 71.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate when the admissible evidence fails to demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). When the moving party bears the burden of persuasion at trial, it must identify evidence in the record establishing the absence of a genuine factual issue. Nat'l State Bank v. Fed. Reserve Bank, 979 F.2d 1579, 1582 (3d Cir. 1992). When the moving party does not bear the burden of persuasion at trial, it may meet its burden on summary judgment by showing that the nonmoving party's evidence is insufficient to carry its burden of persuasion. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Thereafter, the nonmoving party demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact if sufficient evidence is provided to allow a reasonable finder of fact to find for the nonmoving party at trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In reviewing the record, a court must "view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all inferences in that party's favor." Spence v. ESAB Grp., Inc., 623 F.3d 212, 216 (3d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). The court may not, however, make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence in considering motions for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000); see also Goodman v. Pa. Tpk. Comm'n, 293 F.3d 655, 665 (3d Cir. 2002).

III. DISCUSSION

Before addressing the merits of Plaintiff's discrimination claims, the Court must discuss Plaintiff's response to Defendants' summary judgment motions, as well as McKenna's ability to bring this lawsuit in her own name.

A. Rule 56(d) and Standing

1. Background

This Court previously considered McKenna's standing to bring this cause of action. On November 9, 2012, Lockheed Martin filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's case arguing that she lacked standing because the real party in interest was the bankruptcy trustee of McKenna's Chapter 7 bankruptcy. On November 15, 2012, Healthease and Tecco filed a similar motion. On December 5, 2012, counsel for McKenna wrote to the Court about a "new and important development that the Court should be apprised of." (Letter to Court, McKenna v. Healthease, Civ. A. No. 10-3940 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 5, 2012), ECF No. 53.) According to the letter, the bankruptcy trustee was going to seek permission from the bankruptcy court to pursue McKenna's discrimination claims. The Court was also told that "[a] letter from the trustee directly to Your Honor will be forthcoming shortly." (Id.) The letter never arrived. Tired of this case languishing, the Court issued an opinion in which it concluded that McKenna lacked standing to bring her claims for monetary damages because her discrimination claims properly belonged to her bankruptcy estate, even though they existed pre-petition. McKenna v. Healthease, Inc., Civ. A. No. 10-3940, 2013 WL 159379 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 15, 2013). When she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, McKenna failed to list her interest in her discrimination charge as a claim or contend that the charge was exempt. Furthermore, when the bankruptcy trustee asked McKenna if she had listed all of her assets and debts, she responded affirmatively. (Req. of Former Bankr. Trustee for Order Not Dismissing Pending Litig. Ex. 1 [Mot. for Order Reopening Bankr.] at 2-3, McKenna v. Healthease, Civ. A. No. 10-3940 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 25, 2013), ECF No. 59.) This Court held that McKenna lacked standing to bring her discrimination claims because a legal claim that is not scheduled or otherwise administered by the time the bankruptcy is closed "forever remains property of the estate, and the trustee remains the real party in interest." Matthews v. Potter, 316 F. App'x 518, 521 (7th Cir. 2009); see also Schafer v. Decision One Mortg. Corp., Civ. A. No. 08-5653, 2009 WL 1532048, at *4 (E.D. Pa. May 29, 2009) ("If a debtor fails to exempt or schedule a claim, and the trustee does not abandon the claim, the claim remains the property of the estate."). However, even though McKenna lacked standing, the Court elected not to dismiss her claim at ...


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