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SILVER v. AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS

August 15, 2005.

DENNIS SILVER, Plaintiff,
v.
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN BISSELL, Chief Judge, District

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant American Institute of Certified Public Accountants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

  BACKGROUND

  This case was brought by Plaintiff Dennis Silver ("Plaintiff" or "Mr. Silver") against his former employer American Institute of Certified Public Accountants ("Defendant" or "AICPA"). The case was transferred to this Court from the Eastern District of New York on October 22, 2001.

  In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Mr. Silver alleges that AICPA discriminated against him based on race, age and gender. Mr. Silver cites "harassment, disparities of treatment with respect to race, increase[d] scrutiny of my work and hostile work environment." Compl. at ¶ 9. Furthermore, Mr. Silver cites to "retaliation" as a cause of action. See id. at ¶ 10.

  On March 25, 2005, Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

  DISCUSSION

  I. Standard for Summary Judgment Motion Pursuant to Rule 56

  Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) provides that summary judgment should be granted "if pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Kreschollek v. Southern Stevedoring Co., 223 F.3d 202, 204 (3d Cir. 2000). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe all facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Boyle v. Allegheny Pennsylvania, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998). The moving party bears the burden of establishing that no genuine issue of material fact remains. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

  The Supreme Court has stated that in evaluating a defendant's motion for summary judgment:
[t]he judge must ask . . . not whether . . . the evidence unmistakably favors one side or the other but whether a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the plaintiff on the evidence presented. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff. The judge's inquiry, therefore, unavoidably asks whether reasonable jurors could find by a preponderance of evidence that the plaintiff is entitled to a verdict. . . .
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. A fact is "material" only if it will affect the outcome of a lawsuit under the applicable law, and a dispute over a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable fact finder could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. See id. Only evidence that would be admissible at trial may be used to test a summary judgment motion; evidence with a deficient foundation must be excluded from consideration. See Blackburn v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 1999 WL 360546 (3d Cir. 1999). In order to survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must present more than a mere scintilla of evidence in his favor. Id. The non-moving party "cannot simply reallege factually unsupported allegations contained in his pleadings." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249; see also Clark v. Clabaugh, 20 F.3d 1290, 1294 (3d Cir. 1994).

  II. The Elements of a Prima Facie Case Under Title VII

  Title VII provides, in relevant part, that it "shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer — (1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. . . ." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).

  It is well established that Title VII claims are to be evaluated according to the burden-shifting framework established by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973) and then elaborated in Texas Dep't of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253 n. 6 (1981). As described by the Court in Burdine: First, the plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence a prima facie case of discrimination. Second, if the plaintiff succeeds in proving a prima facie case, the burden [of production] shifts to the defendant to articulate some legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the [adverse employment decision]. Third, should the defendant carry this burden, the plaintiff must then have an opportunity to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that legitimate reasons offered by the defendant were not his true reasons, but were a pretext for discrimination.

 Burdine, 450 U.S. at 252-53. It is worth noting that although the burden of production may shift under the McDonnell Douglas analysis, the Title VII plaintiff always bears the ultimate burden of persuasion of establishing intentional discrimination. See United States Postal Serv. Bd. ...


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