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Diaz v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, Third Circuit

June 25, 2013

ELISA DIAZ
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA

MEMORANDUM

R. BARCLAY SURRICK, District Judge.

Presently before the Court is Plaintiff Elisa Diaz's Motion for Reconsideration. (ECF No. 41.) For the following reasons, the Motion will be denied.

I. BACKGROUND

On January 28, 2011, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court, alleging discrimination, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq., "in regard to... terms, conditions and privileges of employment, " because of her post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD") (Count I), and retaliation for sexual harassment (Count II). (Compl. ¶¶ 43-44, 49, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff has stipulated to the dismissal of Count II. (Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. 1, ECF No. 12.)

On March 16, 2012, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. (Def.'s Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 11.) On May 2, 2012, an Order was entered granting Defendant's motion. (Summ. J. Order, ECF No. 38.) On May 10, 2012, a Memorandum was filed setting forth in detail the reasons for the May 2, 2012 Order. (Summ. J. Op., ECF No. 39.)

On May 16, 2012, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration. (Pl.'s Mot., ECF No. 41.) Defendant responded on May 18, 2012. (Def.'s Resp., ECF No. 42.)[1]

II. LEGAL STANDARD

A party is entitled to have a court reconsider a judgment in the following circumstances: "(1) an intervening change in the controlling law; (2) the availability of new evidence that was not available when the court granted the motion for summary judgment; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice." Max's Seafood Cafe ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 678 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing N. River Ins. Co. v. CIGNA Reinsurance Co., 52 F.3d 1194, 1218 (3d Cir. 1995)); see also Interdigital Commc'ns, Corp. v. Fed. Ins. Co., 403 F.Supp.2d 391, 393 (E.D. Pa. 2005). Plaintiff asserts that our ruling on summary judgment is "palpably incorrect" and "must be reversed to prevent manifest injustice". (Pl.'s Mot. 2.)

III. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff argues that the Court's grant of summary judgment "constitutes a clear error of fact and law." ( Id. ) Plaintiff claims that "[r]econsideration of the Court's May 2, 2012 Order is warranted because the Court erred in ruling that no genuine issues of material fact existed as to the necessary elements of Plaintiff's ADA discrimination claim." ( Id. at 4.) Plaintiff identifies ten specific instances of what she perceives as the Court's misapplication of the standard for summary judgment. Plaintiff argues that the "Court's Opinion relies on facts not raised by either party, makes numerous inferences in favor of Defendant, and omits several crucial facts raised by Plaintiff." ( Id. ) A careful reading of the May 10 Memorandum proves Plaintiff wrong. We address each of the Plaintiff's assertions in turn.[2]

First, Plaintiff argues that the Court erred in determining that Plaintiff was not evaluated for mental fitness by Defendant's psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Arce, M.D., and accuses the Court of "literally quoting Dr. [George] Hayes' recounting of Dr. Arce's hearsay statements that are completely contradicted by the testimony of Plaintiff." (Pl.'s Mot. 8-9.) It is undisputed that no substantive evaluation of Plaintiff occurred. However, this issue of fact is far from material. A fact is "material" only if its resolution could affect the result of the suit under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Our conclusion-that Plaintiff was not fit for duty-was not based on statements by Dr. Hayes or Dr. Arce, nor did it require determining the exact reason for Plaintiff's failure to be properly evaluated by Dr. Arce. The material issue of whether Plaintiff was fit for duty was not disputed. Plaintiff's physician and Defendant's physician agreed that Plaintiff was not fit for duty. ( See Summ. J. Op. 26.)

Plaintiff argues that we resolved a controverted issue of material fact, Plaintiff's cooperation or lack thereof, in favor of Defendant. We disagree. Our Memorandum simply includes the notation of Defendant's physicians' assessment of Plaintiff's lack of cooperation. Plaintiff's Motion picks at many factual inconsistency in the record, and attempts to magnify these inconsistencies to justify proceeding to trial. Not every minor factual question is material. Plaintiff can point to areas where the parties' accounts differ, but she has not demonstrated how any of these differences constitutes a genuine issue of material fact that would require denying summary judgment.

Second, Plaintiff takes issue with the Court's mention of Plaintiff's appeal to the Civil Service Commission. (Pl.'s Mot. 9-10.) Plaintiff argues that the Court "created arguments on behalf of the City in order to justify granting summary judgment." ( Id. at 10.)[3] Plaintiff is wrong. In dealing with a motion for summary judgment, we examine the entire record, including motions and exhibits filed subsequent to the motion in question. See Wright, Miller & Kane, supra § 2723 ("The entire record, including but not limited to the pleadings, briefs, admissions, and answers to interrogatories in the action, is admissible [for purposes of summary judgment]."). In addition, we made no inferences. Plaintiff's appeal was an acknowledged and uncontroverted fact, not the "inference" Plaintiff alleges that we made.[4] This was not an inference in Defendant's favor or an argument created on Defendant's behalf. The Court merely stated an uncontroverted fact. This is certainly not a basis for reconsideration.

Third, Plaintiff claims that the Court drew inferences that Plaintiff suffered from panic attacks in 2008 and 2009 (Pl.'s Mot. 10), that her drowsiness and sleeping problems were more serious than Plaintiff claimed ( id. at 11), and that her PTSD negatively affected her ability to work ( id. ). Plaintiff's claims are misleading, inasmuch as the so-called "inferences" merely repeat diagnoses made by Plaintiff's own physicians. We did not infer that Plaintiff suffered from panic attacks in 2008. We drew this information from the notes taken by Dr. Adam Pasternack, D.O., Plaintiff's longtime primary care physician. ( See Summ. J. Op. 12 n.15 ("In December 2008, Plaintiff visited Dr. Pasternack, who noted her stress and stomach issues, and that Plaintiff was having panic attacks.") (citing Pasternack Notes D01484, Pl.'s Resp. Summ. J. Ex. SS, ECF No. 12).)[5] We did not infer that Plaintiff's drowsiness was considerable. We simply read the reports of Plaintiff's own physicians. Dr. Pasternack wrote that Plaintiff's "medications can cause a patient to be extremely tired making them significantly less alert." (Pasternack Letter, Pl.'s Resp. Summ. J. Ex. S.) Dr. Brown noted that Plaintiff experienced "[f]atigue or loss of energy nearly every day." (Brown Evaluation 162.) As for Plaintiff's allegation that the Court inappropriately determined that Plaintiff's PTSD negatively affected her ability to work, ...


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