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Smith v. Mount Nittany Medical Center
United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
June 6, 2017
REBECCA SMITH, Plaintiff,
MOUNT NITTANY MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant.
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge.
NOW, this 6th day of June 2017, the Court having
reviewed the record in light of the applicable law, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED that:
Plaintiff's deposition speaks for itself, and she is
EXCUSED from appearing personally at the Court's June 8,
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
(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
(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
(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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