Mondero et al v. Lewes Surgical & Medical Associates P.A. et al
MEMORANDUM ORDER Denying 75 MOTION for Reargument. Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 1/17/2017. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
DR. NANCY MONDERO, JUDY L.
HOWETT NP, MARGARET M. SAWYER,
TANIKKA R. MILLER, and MARIAN L.
Civil Action No. 14-588-RGA
LEWES SURGICAL & MEDICAL
ASSOCIATES P.A., a Delaware Professional
Association, SEMAAN M. ABBOUD M.D.,
BETH E. BITTNER,
Before me is Plaintiffs Dr. Nancy Mondero, Judy L. Howett NP, Margaret M. Sawyer,
Tanikka R. Miller, and Marian L. Long's Motion for Reargument (D.I. 75) relating to my
summary judgment opinion (D.I. 71) and separate Order (D.I. 72). I have considered Plaintiffs'
motion and Defendant Lewes Surgical & Medical Associates, P.A.'s response. (D.I. 75; D.I.
78). For the reasons set forth herein, the motion is DENIED. Familiarity with the summary
judgment decision is presumed.
Reargument is generally appropriate only when there is: "(1) a change in the controlling
law; (2) a need to correct a clear error oflaw or fact or to prevent manifest injustice; or (3) [an]
availability of new evidence [that was] not available when the judgment was granted." Apeldyn
Corp. v. AU Optronics Corp., 831 F. Supp. 2d 837, 840 (D. Del. 2011). "Motions for
reargument or reconsideration may not be used 'as a means to argue new facts or issues that
inexcusably were not presented to the court in the matter previously decided.'" Id.
Plaintiffs' request reargument on two issues: (1) my finding that Plaintiffs failed to
sufficiently demonstrate for summary judgment purposes that they engaged in protected activity
at times other than at the November 1, 2012 meeting, and (2) my finding that Plaintiffs failed to
put forward sufficient evidence of causation to meet their prima facie case. (D.I. 75 at pp. 2-4;
D.I. 71 at pp. 3-7).
As to the first issue, Plaintiffs argue that paragraphs four through seven of Beth Bittner' s
Affidavit "speak to the office environment not only at the time of the meeting on November 1,
2012 and continuing through Plaintiffs' termination in January 2013" and suggests that there
were other instances where Plaintiffs engaged in protected activity. (D.I. 75 at pp. 2-3). In my
opinion, I noted that Plaintiff failed to provide "exhibits or declarations specifically indicating
what and where these other times were." (D.I. 71 at 5). My comment was made with paragraphs
four through seven ofBittner's affidavit in mind.
Paragraphs four through seven of Bittner's Affidavit do not provide the requisite level of
specificity. (See D.I. 64-1 at 24-25). It does not specifically indicate other instances where
Plaintiffs engaged in protected activity. (See id.). Paragraph four states that "resentment grew
and Dr. Abboud was accused of agreeing to my policy changes and protecting me because of our
This does not specifically indicate when and how Plaintiffs engaged in
protected activity. This is too vague. In contrast, paragraphs five and six do provide a specific
instance detailing the November 1, 2012 meeting, and I have found that the Plaintiffs engaged in
protected activity at this instance. Paragraph four fails to provide this level of specificity.
Paragraph seven states that: "In early January 2013, the office work environment was even more
hostile .... The drama and tension in the office was unbearable." (Id.
This, like paragraph
four, fails to specifically indicate when and how Plaintiffs engaged in protected activity.
Paragraph seven is too vague.
Plaintiffs' request is denied as to the first issue.
As to the second issue, Plaintiffs argue that paragraphs eight and nine ofBittner's
Affidavit "establish clear evidence that there was a connection between the protected activity
and the adverse employment action." (D.I. 75 at p. 3). Paragraphs eight and nine provide the
8. Following my resignation, Dr. Abboud contacted me and 'begged' me to return
to work. He promised me that things would be different and that he would take
care of the problem. I agreed to return to work and reassume the office manager
9. Following my return, Dr. Abboud instructed me, and authorized me, to
terminate Dr. Mondero, Judy Howett, and their staff, including Margaret Sawyer,
Marian Long and Tanikka Miller. Upon information, knowledge and belief, Dr.
Abboud saw Dr. Mondero and Judy Howett, and their staff, as the problem
makers simply because they would not accept the changes and complained about
my job performance and their belief that Dr. Abboud was agreeing with my
decisions and protecting me solely as a result of our relationship.
First, these paragraphs are speculative and conclusory as to why Dr. Abboud authorized
the termination of Plaintiffs. Second, even if they were not so, these paragraphs are too vague to
support the inference that Dr. Abboud fired Plaintiffs because of the November 1, 2012 meeting.
Bittner states that Dr. Abboud "promised me that things would be different and that he would
take care of the problem." What exactly did he promise? What is the problem he is referring to?
Is the problem Plaintiffs' actions during the November 1, 2012 meeting or something else?
Paragraph nine is equally vague. What exactly does Bittner believe that Dr. Abboud believes are
the "changes" Plaintiffs "would not accept"? Third, Bittner' s testimony suggests that a reason
other than retaliation was the real reason for Dr. Abboud's decision to fire Plaintiffs. These
paragraphs suggest that Dr. Abboud made the decision to terminate out of a desire to please
Bittner. Bittner says that Plaintiffs complained about Bittner's job performance to Dr. Abboud.
Furthermore, Bittner characterizes Plaintiffs as believing that Dr. Abboud was protecting Bittner
"solely as a result of [Bittner and Dr. Abboud's] relationship." In sum, these paragraphs fail to
add the requisite evidence to support a prima facie case of causation, which "must be proved
according to traditional principles of but-for causation .... " See Univ. of Texas Sw. Med. Ctr. v.
Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517, 2533 (2013).
Plaintiffs' request is denied as to the second issue.
NOW, THEREFORE, at Wilmington this
day of January, 2017, it is HEREBY
ORDERED that Plaintiffs' motion for reargument (D.I. 75) is DENIED.
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