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Geraci v. Moody-Tottrup

March 30, 1996

PATRICIA MCGUIRK GERACI,

APPELLANT

v.

MOODY-TOTTRUP, INTERNATIONAL, INC.

(CAPTION AMENDED AS PER CLERK'S ORDER DATED 11-9-95.)



ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA

(D.C. Civ. No. 94-01093)

Before: GREENBERG, NYGAARD, Circuit Judges and LAY, Senior Circuit Judge *fn*

NYGAARD, Circuit Judge.

Argued January 31, 1996

Opinion Filed: April 30, 1996)

OPINION OF THE COURT

Patricia McGuirk Geraci sued her employer, alleging that she had been unlawfully terminated because she was pregnant. The district court granted summary judgment to Geraci's employer because she had not shown that the employer knew Geraci was pregnant when it terminated her. The district court held that given this evidentiary hiatus, Geraci could not make out a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination. We will affirm.

I.

The facts of this case are set forth in the district court's thorough opinion, and we need only summarize. See Geraci v. Moody-Tottrup Int'l, Inc., 905 F. Supp. 241, 243-45 (W.D. Pa. 1995). Moody-Tottrup is in the business of inspecting pipe and other materials. It hired Geraci in 1987 as a Clerk Typist but consistently promoted her, until she became an Inspection Coordinator in 1991. It appears from the record that Geraci was an exemplary employee during her tenure at Moody.

In the last week of 1992, Geraci suspected that she was pregnant and performed a home pregnancy test; the results were positive. She decided not to inform management at that time, however, fearing that she would not receive her annual raise scheduled for January or February. Geraci did tell six of her twenty co-workers (none of whom were members of management), but specifically asked them not to tell her superiors. There is no evidence that any of them did so, nor that management was otherwise informed of Geraci's pregnancy at that time.

In late January 1993, management laid Geraci off because of a decline in company revenue. It is undisputed that Moody decided to lay Geraci off in mid-December, before Geraci herself knew she was pregnant, but that it delayed telling her so as not to ruin her holidays.

When she was laid off, Geraci asked whether Moody would rehire her should business improve. Moody management advised her that she would not be rehired, and that she should look for another job. Geraci then told Moody that she was pregnant. Moody continued her health care benefits until after the baby was born and gave her three weeks severance pay.

A few months later, an advertisement appeared in the local newspaper for what appeared to be the same position from which Geraci had been terminated. According to Moody, this position arose to fill a large Malaysian contract, but the "Malaysian people" wanted an inspection coordinator with "hands-on" experience, which Geraci lacked. In any event, Geraci did not apply for this position, believing that it would be futile. Moody asserts that because the Malaysian contract did not materialize, the position was never filled.

In June 1994, after exhausting her administrative remedies, Geraci filed this suit in district court, alleging that Moody terminated her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically 42 U.S.C. Section(s) 2000e-2(a)(1), 2000e(k). After discovery, Moody moved for summary judgment, asserting that, because there was no evidence that anyone in management knew Geraci was pregnant (either when Moody decided to terminate her or when it informed her of its decision), Moody ...


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