United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. MARIANI UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Introduction and Procedural History
November 9, 2017, Plaintiff Frank A. Navarro filed a
Complaint against Defendants Hotel Belvidere, LLC and The
Ridge. (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs Complaint contained four counts:
Count I - retaliation in violation of the Family Medical
Leave Act; Count II -failure to engage in the interactive
process and wrongful termination in violation of Americans
with Disabilities Act ("ADA"); Count III - failure
to engage in the interactive process and wrongful termination
in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
("PHRA"); and Count IV - detrimental reliance. On
December 29, 2017, Navarro filed an Amended Complaint (Doc.
7), which contained two counts: Count I - failure to engage
in the interactive process and wrongful termination in
violation of the ADA; and Count II -detrimental
the completion of fact discovery, on November 30, 2018,
Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 19). In
their supporting brief, Defendants assert that Navarro's
ADA claim should be dismissed as a matter of law because
Plaintiffs claim does not have "sufficient
jurisdictional basis" under the ADA. (Doc. 20, at 3).
Further, Defendants assert that they are entitled to summary
judgment on Navarro's detrimental reliance claim because
Navarro is an at-will employee. (Id. at 5).
in his "Memorandum of Law in Opposition to
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment," contends
that summary judgment should be denied because there is an
outstanding dispute of material fact as to whether Defendants
properly calculated the fifteen-employee threshold. (Doc. 22,
at 6-9). Further, Navarro contends that summary judgment
should be denied as to the detrimental reliance claim
because, even though he was an at-will employee, a
"verbal contract" was created between him and
Defendants, on which he detrimentally relied. (Id.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. 19). The parties have fully briefed the
motion, and it is ripe for decision. For the reasons that
follow, the Court will grant the Motion with respect to
Plaintiffs detrimental reliance claim and deny the Motion
with respect to the ADA claim.
Statement of Undisputed Facts
only material fact not disputed by either party is that
Navarro was hired as an at-will employee, without a contract,
and all of Defendants' employees were at-will employees.
(Doc. 21, ¶ 5; Doc. 22-4, ¶ 5).
submit that the total number of employees for any particular
calendar week exceeds fourteen employees for, at most,
fifteen weeks in 2016 according to its count of employees and
payment/salary records of 2016. (Doc. 21, ¶ 3). Navarro,
however, disputes the way in which Defendants calculated its
number of employees. (Doc. 22-4, ¶ 3).
also submit that they did not have fifteen employees for each
working day for twenty or more weeks during the year of 2016.
(Doc. 21, ¶ 4). However, Navarro contends that
Defendants did have fifteen employees, based on
Defendants' tax filings, and Defendants have not shown
any other "daily logs, timesheets or schedules to
support" Defendants' contention that they do not
meet the fifteen-employee threshold. (Doc. 22-4, at ¶4).
Standard of Review
summary adjudication, the court may dispose of those claims
that do not present a "genuine dispute as to any
material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "As to
materiality, ... [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing
the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once such a showing has been made, the non-moving party must
offer specific facts contradicting those averred by the
movant to establish a genuine issue of material fact.
Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871,
888 (1990). Therefore, the non-moving party may not oppose
summary judgment simply on the basis of the pleadings, or on
conclusory statements that a factual issue exists.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. "A party asserting
that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support
the assertion by citing to particular parts of materials in
the record ... or showing that the materials cited do not
establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or
that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to
support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B). In
evaluating whether summary judgment should be granted,
"[t]he court need consider only the cited materials, but
it may consider other materials in the record."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). "Inferences should be drawn in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and where
the non-moving party's evidence contradicts the
movant's, then the non-movant's must be taken as
true." Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am.,
Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992), cert,
denied 507 U.S. 912 (1993).
"facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute
as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 380 (2007). If a party has ...