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Grosklos v. York Railway Co.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 18, 2014

PHILLIP C. GROSKLOS, Plaintiff,
v.
YORK RAILWAY COMPANY, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

JOHN E. JONES, III, District Judge.

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:

Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 15). For the reasons set forth below, the motion shall be denied.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff Philip C. Grosklos began his railroad career in 1979 as an employee of the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad. (Doc. 17 ¶ 3). From December 1, 1999 through November 9, 2009, he was employed by Defendant York Railway. (Doc. 17 ¶ 4). Throughout the course of his railroad career, Grosklos worked primarily as a car inspector. (Doc. 17 ¶ 5).

Plaintiff filed this action on October 18, 2012 against the following Defendants: Genesee & Wyoming, Inc.; Rail Link, Inc.; and York Railway Company. Plaintiff's Complaint (Doc. 1) alleged, pursuant to the Federal Employers' Liability Act ("FELA"), 45 U.S.C. § 51, et seq., that he developed injuries to his knees and back as a result of his employment with Defendants.

Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 15) and brief in support thereof (Doc. 16) on August 1, 2013. Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition (Doc. 19) on August 20, 2013 and Defendants filed their reply brief (Doc. 21) on September 4, 2013. Thus, the motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

Additionally, the parties have stipulated that York Railway Company is the proper named Defendant in this matter and that Plaintiff's claims as to Defendants Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. and Rail Link, Inc. are to be dismissed. (See Doc. 17 ¶ 1 n. 1 (citing Doc. 17, Ex. A at 5:1-13)). Accordingly, we shall honor the wishes of the parties and order the dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Genesee & Wyoming, Inc. and Rail Link, Inc., leaving York Railway Company as the sole Defendant.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

In opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rely merely on allegations of denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must... set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). The non-moving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations, but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial." Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985). However, the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. P.N. v. Clementon Bd. of Educ., 442 F.3d 848, 852 (3d Cir. 2006).

Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a factfinder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; there must be a genuine issue of material fact to preclude summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Federal Employers' ...


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