United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Bryan A. Rush Plaintiff
A Pocono Country Place, Inc., Kurt Cummings and Cassandra Webster
Honorable Richard P. Conaboy United States District Court
consider here Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 25). Defendants are A Pocono Country Place, Inc., which
operates a gated residential community in Monroe County,
Pennsylvania, and two individuals, Kurt Cummings and
Cassandra Webster, both of whom work for A Pocono Country
Place, Inc. The Plaintiff, Bryan Rush, also worked at A
Pocono Country Place as a patrol officer before he was fired
in March of 2015. The circumstances surrounding Rush's
termination are at issue because he alleges that the reasons
for which he was fired were pretextual and that he was
actually a victim of racial discrimination and/or unlawful
retaliation. The parties have briefed the motion and it is
now ripe for disposition (Docs. 27, 30, and 33).
Pocono Country Place (“Pocono”) is a gated,
planned residential community in Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.
Residents of Pocono pay quarterly fees which cover the cost
of, inter alia, a Public Safety Department.
Chief of Police at Pocono, Defendant Cummings, is an
Defendant Cummings has the authority and discretion to hire,
fire, and discipline employees of the Pocono Public Safety
Human Resources Manager at Pocono, Defendant Webster, is an
Plaintiff Rush, a caucasian male, is a former patrol officer
During the time Plaintiff Rush worked as a patrol officer at
Pocono he was a smoker.
Public Safety Department at Pocono includes patrol officers.
Patrol officers are responsible for patrolling and
maintaining the safety of the Pocono community and, where
necessary, seeking the assistance of the regional police in
Other positions in the Pocono Safety Department include: (1)
gate guard; (2) dispatcher; (3) corporal; (4) assistance
manager or lieutenant; and (5) public safety manager or
employees of the Pocono Public Safety Department are subject
to and provided copies of (1) the Employee Handbook and (2)
the Pocono Policy and Procedure Guide.
Plaintiff Rush was hired as a patrol officer at Pocono on
January 15, 2014 and continued to hold this position until
his termination on March 20, 2015.
Plaintiff Rush received copies of the Employee Handbook and
Policy and Procedure Guide shortly after being hired.
most of the time Plaintiff Rush was employed at Pocono,
Defendant Cummings was Chief of the Public Safety Department.
Employee Handbook sets forth a policy dealing with the use of
tobacco products by Pocono employees on the work site.
Employee Handbook explicitly provides in bold type that
“Smoking is prohibited in Association vehicles.”
17. The Employee Handbook contains a notification that
violations of the smoking policy “may result in
disciplinary action, up to and including discharge.”
18. The Policy and Procedure Guide specifically states that
patrol officers shall not “smoke or use tobacco
products” while on duty.
Policy and Procedure Guide prohibits patrol officers from
engaging in high speed ...