United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
CORONE REID, et al.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL INC., et al.
Corone Reid and Donny Odey (“Odey”) have sued
under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 for racial discrimination in the
termination of their employment. Before the court is the
motion of defendants Temple University Hospital, Inc.
(“TUH”) and Yasser Al-Khatib
(“Al-Khatib”) for summary judgment on Odey's
claims under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows 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); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A dispute is genuine
if the evidence is such that a reasonable factfinder could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254 (1986). We view
the facts and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party. See In re Flat Glass Antitrust Litig., 385
F.3d 350, 357 (3d Cir. 2004).
judgment is granted where there is insufficient record
evidence for a reasonable factfinder to find for the
nonmovant. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. “The
mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the
[nonmoving party]'s position will be insufficient; there
must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for
[that party].” Id. In addition, Rule 56(e)(2)
provides “[i]f a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the
court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for the purposes
of the motion.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2).
following facts are undisputed. Odey is a black man who
immigrated to the United States from Nigeria in 1989. He was
hired by TUH sometime in 1997 or 1998 as a Crisis Response
Technician (“CRT”) at the main campus. Odey
transferred to TUH's Episcopal Campus
(“Episcopal”) after two or three years, where he
worked in the Crisis Response Center (“CRC”), a
treatment unit for patients with short-term acute behavioral
health issues. Al-Khatib became Odey's supervisor in
2012. Al-Khatib was born in Lebanon and worked as a nurse
manager for TUH. Khatib gave Odey good performance ratings
throughout his time with TUH. In 2012, Odey received a
performance rating of 2.12 out of 3.0. In 2013, his
performance rating was 2.44 out of 3.0, while in 2014 it was
2.6 out of 3.0.
in 2014, Odey complained to Al-Khatib about an inappropriate
remark made by a white nurse named Bob Hansen
(“Hansen”). Hansen had become upset because he
believed Odey let a patient into a bathroom where she had
been found trying to wash her hair in the sink. Hansen told
Odey he was going to write Odey up and send him back to his
“African black ass country” and called Odey a
“knucklehead.” Odey reported this incident to
Al-Khatib the next day, and Al-Khatib promised to
next day, Al-Khatib called Odey into his office where Hansen
was already sitting. According to Odey, Al-Khatib told him
“if I don't want to work here no more, there are
too many doors there, I can go through any of the doors or
he's going to use everything in his power to get rid of
me.” Al-Khatib warned both men that future misconduct
could lead to termination and urged them to work together in
a professional manner. Odey does not recall any other
problems with Hansen before or after this incident. In
October 2014, Al-Khatib terminated Hansen's employment
for violating TUH's rules regarding the reporting of
January 2015, Odey was involved in an oral confrontation with
a fellow CRT named Stephen John (“John”), who
Odey describes as being of “East Indian” descent.
Odey and John had a dispute regarding patient paperwork,
which led to both men raising their voices at each other.
Thereafter, Al-Khatib called Odey, John, and their union
representative to his office. Al-Khatib did not let Odey
explain what had happened and threatened to “get
rid” of Odey if he “ever hear[d] anything from
[Odey] again or if [Odey] ever [did] anything again.”
At the conclusion of the meeting, Al-Khatib issued identical
“initial discussion” disciplines to both Odey and
John, which are the least serious forms of discipline.
28, 2015, an involuntarily committed patient escaped from the
CRC by slipping out a door behind the unit secretary at
approximately 5:40 p.m. CRTs are required to conduct rounds
in the CRC during which they physically observe and record
the condition of each patient at 30-minute intervals. Odey
was the CRT assigned to conduct the rounds at 6:00 p.m. and
6:30 p.m. Video surveillance of the CRC shows Odey picking up
the rounds sheet at approximately 6:10 p.m. and filling out
the form for over a minute while standing in an area with no
view of patients, and then returning to an internal office
with no view of patients until around 7:00 p.m.
p.m., a nurse conducting rounds discovered the patient's
absence. He subsequently notified Al-Khatib and the police.
Allen Peters (“Peters”), another CRT, had been
assigned to conduct the 7:00 p.m. rounds but had failed to do
so until after the patient's absence had been discovered
during the 7:30 p.m. rounds. Peters subsequently noted a
“?” for the missing patient on the 7:00 p.m.
reviewing the round sheets and video surveillance of the
unit, Al-Khatib called Odey and his union representative to a
meeting on June 1, 2015. During that meeting, Odey admitted
to falsely certifying that he had conducted the 6:30 p.m.
rounds. He further stated that another CRT, Tim Davis
(“Davis”), had performed the 6:00 p.m. rounds on
behalf of Odey. At the conclusion of the meeting, Al-Khatib
terminated Odey's employment for falsification of
separately questioned Davis about the 6:00 p.m. rounds.
Davis, who is African-American, provided a written statement
that he was discharging a patient and had written
“D/C” in the 6:00 p.m. space for that patient and
then started initialing the bottom of the column out of habit
when Odey had interrupted him. Davis denied completing the
entire 6:00 p.m. rounds sheet or otherwise attempting to
suggest he had done so. Davis was not disciplined. Peters,
who is also African-American, was also considered for
termination for his actions related to the 7:00 p.m. rounds.
The union interceded on Peters' behalf to argue that his