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D'Amore v. Exelon Generation Co., LLC

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

May 22, 2013



Appeal from the Order Entered March 11, 2011 In the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Civil Division at No(s): 2008-CV-14476-CV




Victor D'Amore ("Appellant") appeals the trial court's order granting the motions for summary judgment filed in this case by Exelon Generation Co., LLC ("Exelon"), David G. Thompson, Glen R. Candeletti, Marthom Corp. ("Marthom"), and The Stress Center for Comprehensive Psychological Services, P.C. ("The Stress Center") (collectively, "Appellees"). As well, Appellant challenges a number of other trial court rulings, including those pertaining to preliminary objections and discovery. We affirm.

In the trial court's Memorandum Opinion of December 28, 2011, which the court incorporated by reference in its April 18, 2012 opinion pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(a), the court provided the following account of what it found to be "essentially undisputed facts":

[Appellant] had entered into an employment contract with CDI Business Solutions, a firm which performed contract work for [Exelon], in November-December, 2007. In November, [Appellant] had entered into an employment contract with CDI Business Solutions, a firm which performed contract work for Exelon at the [Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant ("TMI")]. The intention of [Appellant] was to be placed into a position as an electrical engineer at TMI. It was a condition of such employment that [Appellant] obtain "unescorted access" rights, a security clearance which permits access to secure and vital areas of nuclear power plants without an escort – all as required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission [("NRC")] Regulations. See 10 C.F.R. § 73.56.
On December 10, 2007, [Appellant] began the three-day, pre-employment screening process at Exelon. [Appellant] completed computer-based training courses and other training classes as well as completed required paperwork. During the "in- processing, " Exelon staff members noticed that [Appellant] appeared to be acting erratically and becoming argumentative. The concerns of one or more of the staff members were reported to supervisory personnel who asked [Appellant] to undergo a "clinical demand interview, " a semi-structured interview which is conducted to determine the emotional stability, reliability and trustworthiness of an applicant. Exelon arranged for [Appellee Glen R. Candeletti], a clinical psychologist and owner of [The Stress Center], to perform the demand interview. Dr. Candeletti, in turn, contacted a colleague, [Appellee] David G. Thompson of [Marthom], for the purpose of conducting [Appellant's] interview. Dr. Candeletti had regularly contracted with Dr. Thompson for such purposes.
During [Appellant's] demand interview, Dr. Thompson asked [Appellant] if he had been granted unescorted access status in the past at any nuclear facility. [Appellant] replied that he had been granted such access at four different nuclear facilities. Dr. Thompson attempted to confirm [Appellant's] statements and telephoned Stephen Henry, an Exelon employee, who had access to a centralized database regarding access at nuclear facilities. That system is referred to as the Personnel Access Database System (PADS), a central, computerized, restricted-access data system on which the [NRC] requires licensed nuclear power plants and their accepted contractors and vendors to post information regarding the granting or denial of unescorted access to any applicant so that such information would be available to any other nuclear power reactor licensee. Mr. Henry told Dr. Thompson that the PADS database showed no prior grant of unescorted access to [Appellant] at any nuclear power facility. Because [Appellant's] response to Dr. Thompson's question could not be reconciled with the information found in the PADS database and [Appellant] did not provide Dr. Thompson with any documentation of his claimed prior unescorted access, Dr. Thompson recommended to Dr. Candeletti that [Appellant] not be granted unescorted access to TMI. Dr. Candeletti passed that same recommendation to Exelon which denied [Appellant] unescorted access status.[1] On January 14, 2008, [Appellant] appealed Exelon's decision to deny him unescorted access; however, his appeal was denied by Exelon on April 10, 20081. Thereafter, [Appellant] lost his employment opportunity with CDI.
1Exelon determined that all procedures and policies were performed in accordance with NRC requirements and nothing in the record before us suggests that [Appellant] provided Exelon with any evidence of any past grants of unescorted access to [Appellant] at any nuclear facility.
[Appellant] brought this lawsuit claiming that each [Appellee] defamed him, that each [Appellee] intentionally interfered with his existing or prospective business relations and that [Appellees] Candeletti and Thompson committed malpractice.

Trial Court Opinion ("T.C.O."), 12/28/2011, at 1-3.

Appellees collectively filed three sets of preliminary objections, the clinicians filing in tandem with their respective employers. The trial court sustained the preliminary objections in three orders filed on September 2, 2009. In particular, the trial court sustained Appellees' preliminary objections as to all counts due to the lack of specificity in Appellant's complaint. In explaining this aspect of its rulings, the court called attention to Appellant's failure to set forth each count separately as to each individual Appellee. The court rejected Appellant's contention that to do so would be to require the repetition of approximately 100 paragraphs of redundant allegations as to each defendant, resulting in a complaint approximately 500 paragraphs in length. The trial court characterized this argument as "disingenuous at best, " noting Appellant's "complete disregard" for Pa.R.C.P. 1019(a) (requiring the statement of material facts underlying a cause of action in concise form) and Pa.R.C.P. 1019(g) (permitting the incorporation by reference of any part of a complaint into another part of the same pleading). Trial Court Orders, 9/2/2009.[2]

Thereafter, Appellant filed an amended complaint. While he managed to keep his amended complaint less lengthy than the threatened 500 paragraphs, it nonetheless comprised 286 numbered paragraphs (versus 101 in the first complaint, both paragraph counts excluding dozens of sub-paragraphs). Therein, Appellant asserted five counts each of defamation and conspiracy to defame (all Appellees); five counts each of intentional interference with existing and prospective business relationships and conspiracy (all Appellees); and four counts of malpractice (all Appellees except Exelon).

Once again, all Appellees raised preliminary objections in three separate filings. By orders entered on April 14, 2010, the trial court overruled the Appellees' preliminary objections, except for all five parties' respective demurrers to all counts of civil conspiracy. Trial Court Orders, 4/14/2010.

Thereafter, the parties engaged in discovery, spawning a litany of disputed motions and orders amongst the parties, several of which orders are challenged in seven of Appellant's stated issues on appeal. These include a trial court order directing Appellant to produce, inter alia, records concerning Appellant's prior psychiatric treatment, arrest record, income tax, and an order denying Appellant's request for a subpoena for a corporate representative deposition concerning certain records produced pursuant to a prior subpoena. See Brief for Appellant at 54-67.

Following discovery, all Appellees filed motions for summary judgment. The trial court granted all Appellees' motions in full by order entered December 28, 2011, which order was supported by an explanatory memorandum opinion. This appeal followed. The trial court directed Appellant to file a concise statement of errors complained of on appeal pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b), and Appellant complied. The trial court issued its Rule 1925(a) opinion on April 4, 2012, and then a revised opinion on April 17, 2012. In the latter, the trial court incorporated by reference its prior memoranda as to all of Appellant's issues except as to Appellant's challenges to the trial court's discovery rulings. Those, the trial court explained in its Rule 1925(a) ...

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