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Smith v. Mount Nittany Medical Center

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 6, 2017

REBECCA SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
MOUNT NITTANY MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge.

         AND NOW, this 6th day of June 2017, the Court having reviewed the record in light of the applicable law, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:

         1. Plaintiff's deposition speaks for itself, and she is EXCUSED from appearing personally at the Court's June 8, 2017 argument.

         2. In addition to the motions listed in this Court's May 8, 2017 Scheduling Order, the Court will also ask Plaintiff's Counsel at the time of the oral argument whether counsel failed to conduct a reasonable inquiry into the applicable law and factual contentions, as required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, in light of the following:

(a) Plaintiff's deposition reveals that she failed to give the Defendant “fair warning” of a claimed religious exemption as a matter of law when she supplied Defendant with a number of possible justifications for an exemption in a single email and instructed one of Defendant's employees to select whichever justification that employee preferred.
(b) Plaintiff's deposition reveals that, until after she was terminated, she failed to respond to all subsequent communications from Defendant's employees that inquired into the justification(s) for her refusal to obtain the TDAP vaccine.
(c) In fact, Plaintiff's deposition reveals that, despite receiving numerous communications indicating that she would be terminated if she did not received the TDAP vaccine, she did not email, telephone, or speak with any of Defendant's employees to discuss her situation.
(d) Plaintiff's deposition further reveals that after filing a “grievance” that omitted any discussion of a religious exemption with the wrong departments, the Vice President of Defendant's Human Resources department nevertheless contacted her on June 4, 2015.
(e) That communication from Human Resources stated: “I will be working with you regarding this matter.” In addition, it expressly requested that Plaintiff reply and submit certain documentation regarding her justification(s) for refusing the TDAP vaccine “so that we may begin our conversation.” It continued: “Once I receive that information from you and I have a chance to review your thoughts, we can then plan to continue our discussion.” The letter concluded as follows: “Thank you and if you have any questions, please contact my office.” The letter supplied the contact phone number for that employee's office.
(f) Plaintiff admits in her deposition that, until after she was terminated, she did not reply to that communication in any manner, did not send the requested documentation, and did not contact the provided telephone number for Defendant's Human Resources department.
(g) Instead, Plaintiff's deposition reveals that she ultimately waited nearly two months until July 31, 2015 to respond to the June 4, 2015 Human Resources communication, which response occurred more than three weeks after her July 9, 2015 termination.
(h) When she did respond, her letter and supporting documentation, which she compiled by misappropriating Defendant's company resources, totaled 95 pages in length and omitted any discussion of a religious exemption request, except to the extent that Plaintiff was “convinced and convicted . . . as a Christian” that “this practice . . . clearly violates the laws and principles of God's Word the Bible.”
(i) Not only did she fail to give the Defendant “fair warning” under the law, but Plaintiff's deposition also reveals that even after she was offered a reasonable accommodation, she also failed to communicate with Defendant and engage in the interactive process in good faith.
(j) In particular, instead of engaging in the interactive process, Plaintiff immediately filed with the EEOC a formal charge against the Defendant that ...

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