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Henderson v. Borough of Baldwin

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

December 13, 2017




         I. MEMORANDUM

         Pending before the Court is Defendant Borough of Baldwin (“Defendant” or “Borough”)'s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36), pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36) will be GRANTED.

         A. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Brian Henderson (“Plaintiff” or “Henderson”) has been a police officer with the Borough since January 2002. Def's Statement of Undisputed Facts (Doc. 37) ¶ 11. Plaintiff applied for a lieutenant position in 2011. Id. ¶ 16. In August 2011, the Baldwin Borough Civil Service Commission certified the eligibility list of officers who could fill a lieutenant position. Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff was third on the list, with Craig Cavlovic (“Cavlovic”) and Matthew Kearns (“Kearns”), scoring higher than Plaintiff. Id. On September 20, 2011, Borough Council promoted Cavlovic and Kearns, the two officers who scored higher than Plaintiff, to lieutenant. Id. ¶ 18. Following Cavlovic and Kearns's promotions to lieutenant, by letter dated November 23, 2011, Plaintiff questioned why the promotion process did not comply with the Civil Service requirement that a medical and psychological examination be conducted. Id. ¶ 19. In his November 23, 2011 letter, Plaintiff stated that he “can't help but feel [his] candidacy for Lieutenant had been predetermined, perhaps due to [his] position as the Union President.” Id. ¶ 20.

         On December 6, 2011, Borough Council unanimously passed a motion to rescind the promotions of Cavlovic and Kearns “and to have the reinstatement of these positions contingent on the passing of the medical and psychological evaluations as per the Civil Service Regulations.” Id. ¶ 21. On December 7, 2011, in his role as union president, Plaintiff requested “written clarification of where the legal authority came from to remove [Cavlovic and Kearns from their supervisory positions] without due process.” Id. ¶ 22. By letter dated December 7, 2011, Borough Manager John Barrett (“Barrett”) responded to Plaintiff and provided an explanation of the Borough's actions regarding the promotions. Id. ¶ 23. In that letter, Barrett informed Plaintiff that the Borough had concluded that the officers in question had not completed a medical examination and psychological evaluation as required in the Civil Service Regulations. Id. ¶ 24. Barrett further stated that these conclusions “have caused the Borough to take further action to properly promote, ” including “the ‘temporary rescinding' of the promotional appointments, ” which will be reinstated contingent upon the satisfactory completion of both a medical and psychological evaluation.” Id. ¶ 25.

         In a separate letter to Plaintiff also dated December 7, 2011, Barrett stated that the promotions were not compliant with the Civil Service Regulation due to the lack of examinations and had been temporarily rescinded. Id. ¶ 26. In this letter, Barrett further stated that the Borough wished to schedule the examinations for “all eligible applicants” and that if Plaintiff would like to be considered eligible for the promotion, he should advise the Chief of Police of his “decision to participate in the medical examination and psychological evaluation.” Id. ¶ 27. Plaintiff understood that Cavlovic and Kearns remained lieutenants in an acting capacity and would be placed “back in the same position” if they passed the physical and psychological examinations. Id. ¶ 28. As such, Plaintiff did not have a reasonable expectation that he would be promoted if Cavlovic and Kearns passed the medical examination and psychological evaluation unless “perhaps down the road . . . another slot maybe opened up.” Id. ¶ 29.

         On December 8, 2011, Plaintiff informed Barrett that he “would very much like to take the physical and psychological exams for the position of lieutenant” but questioned whether failing either would jeopardize his current position as a Borough police officer. Id. ¶ 30. Plaintiff chose to proceed with the physical examination and psychological evaluation in case Cavlovic or Kearns did not pass one of the tests or another lieutenant position became available during the pendency of the Civil Service list. Id. ¶ 31. Plaintiff had some doubt about whether Cavlovic and Kearns would pass both tests. Id. ¶ 32. Plaintiff had no reason to think he would not pass either the physical examination or the psychological evaluation. Id. ¶ 33. If another lieutenant position opened, Plaintiff believed he would not have to take the physical examination or psychological evaluation again. Id. ¶ 34.

         Plaintiff's physical examination was conducted on December 13, 2011. Id. ¶ 45. The report of the physical examination was faxed to John Barrett on December 13, 2011. Id. ¶ 46. Plaintiff's psychological evaluation was conducted on January 3, 2012. Id. ¶ 47. Plaintiff passed both the psychological evaluation and the physical examination. Id. ¶ 48. Plaintiff claims that Barrett's receipt of the results of the physical examination violated the ADA's confidentiality provisions because Barrett is not Plaintiff's “immediate supervisor.” Id. ¶ 38. Plaintiff admitted, however, that it would have been necessary for Barrett to receive the results so that he could inform Borough Council of the candidates who remained eligible for promotion. Id. ¶ 39. Plaintiff also suggests that other staff may have seen the results of his medical examination, as the fax machine to which it was transmitted was not located in a private area. Plaintiff believes he had “conversations at the time” about a concern “that possibly one or more of the clerks or secretaries being able to see [the results]” with other police officers, but could not recall which officers. Id. ¶ 41. Plaintiff never received any information that, in fact, any unauthorized person viewed the results of his physical examination or psychological evaluation. Id. ¶ 42.

         Like Plaintiff, both Cavlovic and Kearns passed both the physical examination and psychological evaluation. Id. ¶ 35. On January 17, 2012, Cavlovic and Kearns were again promoted to the rank of lieutenant. Id. ¶ 36. Thereafter, Plaintiff brought this lawsuit, seeking: (a) “[m]onetary damages in excess of $75, 000;” (b) “[p]romotion to the rank of lieutenant and retroactive back pay commensurate with the rank;” (c) costs, interest, and attorney fees; and (d) “[p]unitive and/or exemplary damages.” Id. ¶ 51. In response to the Borough's Interrogatory No. 6, requesting that Plaintiff “[i]dentify and describe any and all damages, benefits, other expenses and/or economic damages for which you are seeking to recover from this lawsuit, ” Plaintiff wrote “promotion and back pay.” (Exhibit A to Appendix). Id. ¶ 52. In response to the Borough's Interrogatory No. 7, requesting that Plaintiff “[i]dentify and describe the ‘great embarrassment' suffered by Plaintiff as alleged in Paragraph 31 of the Amended Complaint, ” Plaintiff wrote “embarrassment-wise, I was not promoted, but still subjected to psychological and physical testing similar to my peers who were promoted.” Id. ¶ 53. Plaintiff testified that the “great embarrassment” he suffered was because he “had gone through the same process as my peers, but I wasn't promoted.” Id. ¶ 54. Plaintiff did not receive any medical treatment in connection with his claims or alleged damages. Id. ¶ 55.


         Summary judgment is appropriate if the moving party establishes “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute is “genuine” only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a fact is “material” only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. See Sovereign Bank v. BJ's Wholesale Club, Inc., 533 F.3d 162, 172 (3d Cir. 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Merkle v. Upper Dublin Sch. Dist., 211 F.3d 782, 788 (3d Cir. 2000).

         C. ANALYSIS

         1. Plaintiff's Claim Arising from the Invalid Medical ...

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