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Burns v. P.F. Changs China Bistro, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

February 23, 2017

SHAWN BURNS, Plaintiff,
v.
P.F. CHANG'S CHINA BISTRO, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          David Stewart Cercone United States District Judge.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff, Shawn Burns (“Burns” or “Plaintiff”) filed a five (5) count Complaint alleging: (1) racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (the “Title VII”) (Counts I & II); (2) racial discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 925 et seq. (the “PHRA”) (Counts III & IV); and (3) racial discrimination in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“§ 1981”) against Defendant, P.F. Chang's Chinese Bistro, Inc. (“P.F. Chang's” or “Defendant”). P.F. Chang's has filed a motion for summary judgment, Burns has responded and the motion is now before the Court.

         Pursuant to the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, P.F. Chang's filed a Concise Statement of Material Facts (“Defendant's CSMF”) in support of its motion for summary judgment. See LCvR 56(B)(1). Plaintiff's responses to Defendant's CSMF, however, are inappropriate. A party opposing a motion for summary judgment must file:

A separately filed concise statement, which responds to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's Concise Statement of Material Facts by
a. admitting or denying whether each fact contained in the moving party's Concise Statement of Material Facts is undisputed and/or material;
b. setting forth the basis for the denial if any fact contained in the moving party's Concise Statement of Material Facts is not admitted in its entirety (as to whether it is undisputed or material) with appropriate reference to the record . . .;[1] and
c. setting forth in separately numbered paragraphs any other material facts that are allegedly at issue, and/or that the opposing party asserts are necessary for the Court to determine the motion for summary judgment[.]

See LCvR 56(C)(1)(emphasis added).

         Though Burns responds either “True” or “False” to each enumerated paragraph in Defendant's CSMF, he fails to reference the record for all but one (1) of his denials of Defendant's factual averments or in support of his counter allegations. Courts in this district have strictly applied Local Rule 56 and deemed uncontroverted facts to be admitted. Cuevas v. U.S., C.A. No. 09-43J, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42115 *5 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 29, 2010) (“Plaintiff's response to Defendant's Motion does not contain any basis for any . . . denial of a fact and also fails to reference the record for each such denial. . . . [I]t is not for the Court to sort through the entire record to determine the basis of an alleged disputed fact. As Plaintiff has failed to comply with our local rules, Defendant's Statement of Facts as set forth in [its concise Statement of Material Facts] are admitted as true and correct.”). Local Rule 56.1(E) sets forth the consequences for failure to comply with L.R. 56.1(C) as follows:

alleged material facts set forth in the moving party's Concise Statement of Material Facts or in the opposing party's Response to Defendant's Concise Statement of Material Facts, which are claimed to be undisputed, will for the purposes of deciding the motion for summary judgment be deemed admitted unless specifically denied or otherwise controverted by a separate concise statement of the opposing party.

See LCvR 56.1(E). Consequently, in accordance with our Local Rules, all factual averments contained in the Defendant's CSMF that are not controverted with proper citations to the record will be deemed admitted for purposes of summary judgment. Holman v. Hogue, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42770 at *3 (W.D. Pa. Feb. 15, 2013) (citation omitted). .

         II. Statement of the Case

         In or around July of 2012, Burns applied for and was offered employment with P.F Chang's as a Pantry Chef. Defendant's CSMF ¶¶ 1 & 3. When Burns commenced his employment, he was provided with a copy of P.F. Chang's Employee Handbook (the “Handbook”) which contained an Equal Employment Opportunity policy affirming that P.F. Chang's provided equal employment opportunities (including hiring and promotion) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race. Defendant's CSMF ¶¶ 4 & 5. The Handbook also ...


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