MCMULLIN v. EVANGELICAL SERVICES FOR THE AGING
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE TIMOTHY J. SAVAGE ON 8/2/17. 8/2/17 ENTERED & E-MAILED.(fdc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
EDWARD DEWAYNE MCMULLIN
EVANGELICAL SERVICES FOR
THE AGING, T/D/B/A WESLEY
August 2, 2017
In this employment discrimination action, plaintiff DeWayne McMullin claims that
Wesley Enhanced Living1 terminated him as the Chief Financial Officer on the basis of
his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and on the basis of a
disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He also makes a claim
under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Law for repayment of travel
costs incurred during his employment.
Moving for summary judgment, Wesley argues that McMullin’s age and disability
claims are baseless. The undisputed facts, it contends, demonstrate that McMullin was
hired at age sixty-three and fired at age sixty-four for poor performance, and the
decisionmaker who fired him did not know that he had a heart condition. In response,
McMullin pointed to evidence casting doubt on the decisionmaker’s credibility.
contends that inconsistencies in the decisionmaker’s testimony and among other
employees show that the stated reason for the termination was pretext and conjured
after litigation began.
The defendant, Evangelical Services for the Aging, operates continuing care retirement
communities as Wesley Enhanced Living.
Because a jury could infer that McMullin was not fired for performance issues but
for discriminatory reasons, we shall deny Wesley’s motion for summary judgment on
McMullin’s discrimination claims. However, we shall grant summary judgment on the
In November 2013, McMullin applied for the position of Chief Financial Officer of
Wesley.2 Following an interview with Wesley CEO Jeff Petty and Vice President of
Human Potential Pat Lamoreaux, Wesley offered McMullin the job.3 He accepted the
offer.4 He began working as Wesley CFO on March 3, 2014.5 At the time, he was sixtythree years old.6
During his time as CFO, McMullin requested time off for routine doctor
appointments on five occasions.7 He did not inform Petty that he suffered from a heart
condition, neurocardiogenic syncope syndrome, which caused his “pulse to go down in
times of stress,” nor did he request any accommodations.8 Petty denies knowing that
McMullin had a heart condition.9 However, McMullin referenced a cardiologist visit in
one email. He did so to excuse his leaving a budget review early to catch a flight,
explaining, “My cardio doctor is retiring and tomorrow morning is the only time he could
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. A (Doc. No. 26-3) (application).
Id. Ex. D (Doc. No. 26-6) (offer letter).
Resp. Ex. 3 (Doc. No. 29-6) (“McMullin Dep.”) at 127:11.
Pl.’s Supp. Br. in Resp. to the Additional Documents Disclosed by Def. Ex. 10 (Doc. No. 36-1).
Compl. ¶ 20; McMullin Dep. at 72:18–73:2, 78:10–18.
Resp. Ex. 6 (Doc. No. 29-10) (“Petty Dep.”) at 79:2–8.
see me to pass to another doctor. My pace maker [sic] battery is due to be changed so
I could not miss the plane and then my appt [sic].”10 He does not contend that he had
any cardiac or cardiac-related episode during his employment with Wesley.11
McMullin contends that Wesley expressed hostility toward healthcare costs
because it had a self-insured health insurance program.12 In his deposition, McMullin
testified that Petty once said Wesley limited costs by
making employees feel unwelcome so that they were encouraged to leave
rather than stay around for a long workers’ comp claim. He had made
similar comments dealing with health insurance claims, which led me
to . . . form the opinion that . . . when I did relocate and did come onto the
plan that he would have some concerns about my prior health condition
and its potential cost to the plan.13
While CFO, McMullin remained on his wife’s insurance.14
He was never insured
On May 15, 2015, just over fourteen months after he started as CFO, McMullin
was terminated. Wesley claims that McMullin was fired because he continually made
errors in financial reports, financial models, and cash sheets.16 Petty informed McMullin
that he was being terminated because it was “not working out.”17 The same day, Petty
sent an email to Wesley employees informing them that McMullin “has decided to leave
Pl.’s Supp. Br. in Resp. to the Additional Documents Disclosed by Def. Ex. 10 at ECF 6.
McMullin Dep. at 74:5–9.
Compl. (Doc. No. 1) ¶ 23; Answer (Doc. No. 9) ¶ 23.
McMullin Dep. at 82:18–83:8.
Id. at 68:23–69:12.
See Stmt. of Undisputed Material Facts (Doc. No. 26-2) (“SUMF”) ¶¶ 7–16.
Compl. ¶ 28; Answer ¶ 28.
WEL effectively [sic] immediately.”18
On May 19, 2015, Wesley offered McMullin a severance package.19 On June 3,
2015, it rescinded the offer20 after discovering that McMullin had shared confidential
information with another company to develop a financial model for him.21 McMullin
contends that Petty knew he used the other company’s model to develop financial
projections for Wesley.22
Wesley did not immediately fill the CFO job.
Instead, the CFO duties were
initially shared between Petty and Ken Franiak, Wesley’s Chief Operating Officer.
Franiak had previously been CFO from April 2005 to September 2010.
assumed all of the CFO’s responsibilities by February 2016.23
Though he maintains that relocation was not a job requirement, McMullin
concedes that Wesley expected that he would relocate from California to
Pennsylvania.24 Wesley agreed to provide “reimbursement of reasonable relocation
expenses,” which included $20,000 “directly related to travel costs for you and your
family, shipping and storage of household items, lodging, meals” and $5,000 “for
temporary housing.”25 In the event he voluntarily left the job within a year, McMullin had
Pl.’s Supp. Br. in Resp. to the Additional Documents Disclosed by Def. Ex. 11 (Doc. No. 36-2).
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. R (Doc. No. 26-20).
Id. Ex. S (Doc. No. 26-21).
See id. Ex. T (Doc. No. 27-22).
McMullin Dep. at 31:3–21, 106:18–107:9.
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. V (Doc. No. 26-24) (responses to interrogatories) at ECF 6.
McMullin Dep. at 44:19, 45:12–46:5, 50:22–51:2, 53:7–8.
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. D.
to reimburse Wesley for relocation expenses paid.26 During his tenure, McMullin rented
a one-bedroom apartment two blocks from Wesley’s office.27
However, he never
relocated his family to Pennsylvania and traveled back and forth to California.
On December 28, 2016, McMullin filed this action claiming that Wesley
terminated him on the basis of his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act and on the basis of his disability in violation of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. He also makes a claim under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and
Collection Law, seeking relocation expenses for travel costs between California and
Pennsylvania. Wesley has moved for summary judgment.
Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate only “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). Judgment will be entered against a party who fails
to sufficiently establish any element essential to that party’s case and who bears the
ultimate burden of proof at trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
In examining the motion, we must draw all reasonable inferences in the nonmovant’s
favor. InterVest, Inc. v. Bloomberg, L.P., 340 F.3d 144, 159–60 (3d Cir. 2003).
The initial burden of demonstrating there are no genuine issues of material fact
falls on the moving party. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Once the moving party has met its
burden, the nonmoving party must counter with “‘specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.’” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S.
McMullin Dep. at 46:8–47:11.
574, 587 (1986) (citation omitted). The nonmovant must show more than the “mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence” for elements on which it bears the burden of
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions are not sufficient to defeat summary
judgment. Fireman’s Ins. Co. v. DuFresne, 676 F.2d 965, 969 (3d Cir. 1982).
Where, as here, a plaintiff has adduced no direct evidence of discrimination
based on his age or disability, the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis is used
to evaluate the claims. First, the plaintiff must present enough evidence to make out a
prima facie case. If he does, at the second step, the defendant must produce evidence
of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. At the
third step, the plaintiff must produce evidence that the defendant’s proffered reason for
taking the adverse action was merely a pretext for the real discriminatory reason behind
the adverse action. Cf. Stewart v. Rutgers, The State Univ., 120 F.3d 426, 432–33 (3d
Cir. 1997) (Title VII race discrimination).
If the plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie case, the defendant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. The determination of whether a prima facie case has been
established is, under most circumstances, a question of law for the court. Pivirotto v.
Innovative Sys., Inc., 191 F.3d 344, 347 n.1 (3d Cir. 1999).
To make out a prima facie case of age discrimination, McMullin must show that:
(1) he is forty years of age or older; (2) Wesley took an adverse employment action
against him; (3) he was qualified for the position from which he was removed; and (4)
the circumstances surrounding his termination give rise to an inference of
discrimination, such as being replaced by someone sufficiently younger. Smith v. City
of Allentown, 589 F.3d 684, 690 (3d Cir. 2009).
Wesley does not challenge the first three elements of the prima facie case.
McMullin was sixty-four years old. He was fired. Noting that McMullin represented that
he had over twenty years of experience as executive vice president or CFO of four
companies,28 Wesley does not challenge that McMullin was qualified for the CFO
position when he applied. The disagreement is whether the circumstances surrounding
McMullin’s termination give rise to an inference of discrimination.
Wesley contends that it could not have discriminated against McMullin because it
hired him at age sixty-three and fired him at sixty-four. It also notes that Petty, the same
person who hired and fired McMullin, was fifty-seven years old at the time he hired him.
It further notes that Franiak, the Wesley employee who assumed the CFO position’s
duties after McMullin’s termination, was fifty-two years old at the time, and, like Petty, a
member of the same protected class.
McMullin relies on contradictions in Petty’s testimony to support an inference of
In his deposition, Petty testified that accountant Patrick Young and
controller Suzanne Matthews expressed frustration about McMullin’s performance to
him.29 When they testified, they contradicted Petty. Young testified that he did not
“recall making any direct complaints”30 or “officially complaining about” McMullin 31 while
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. C (Doc. No. 26-5) (McMullin resume).
Petty Dep. at 38:9–39:10.
Resp. Ex. 8 (Doc. No. 29-12) (“Young Dep.”) at 8:15.
Id. at 8:22.
McMullin was still employed at Wesley. He complained about McMullin “more, I think,
after the fact.”32 At the same time, Young “expressed frustration” to Petty that Wesley
was unable to pay vendors timely “because the cash sheet wasn’t updated properly,” a
task left to McMullin.33 Matthews testified that she did not complain or express any
frustration “to Jeff Petty directly.”34 She did complain and express her frustration to
Franiak and Lamoreaux.35
The record does not disclose that they relayed the
complaints to Petty.
Petty’s public explanation at the time of McMullin’s departure did not square with
the reason he gave in this litigation for McMullin’s leaving. McMullin claims that Petty
misrepresented his termination to Wesley employees to conceal that he was fired for a
He points to the email sent by Petty after his termination
announcing that McMullin “has decided to leave WEL effectively [sic] immediately,”36 not
that he was terminated.
Franiak was twelve years younger than McMullin at the time he took over the
CFO responsibilities in 2015. See Sempier v. Johnson & Higgins, 45 F.3d 724, 729 (3d
Cir. 1995) (holding that the plaintiff need not show any specific age difference to satisfy
the fourth element of the prima facie case, and that even a five-year difference can be
sufficient) (citations omitted). One could infer that Wesley had tried working with an
older man, but later decided to go with a younger one because it was “not working
Id. at 9:2–3, 13.
Id. at 8:18–21.
Resp. Ex. 9 (Doc. No. 29-13) (“Matthews Dep.”) at 12:8.
Id. at 12:12.
Pl.’s Supp. Br. in Resp. to the Additional Documents Disclosed by Def. Ex. 11.
As is the case here, “the prima facie case and the pretext inquiries often overlap.”
Doe v. C.A.R.S. Prot. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 358, 370 (3d Cir. 2008). Based on the record
as it is now, a jury could find Wesley’s explanation for terminating McMullin incredible.
Such a finding may give rise to an inference of discrimination.
See Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 147 (2000) (“Proof that the defendant’s
explanation is unworthy of credence is simply one form of circumstantial evidence that
is probative of intentional discrimination, and it may be quite persuasive.”). Credibility
determinations, the drawing of legitimate inferences from facts, and the weighing of
evidence are matters left for the jury. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
McMullin has made out a prima facie case of age discrimination.
evidence, if believed, that he was fired on the basis of his age. A jury could infer
discrimination if it concludes that Wesley’s explanation for terminating McMullin is not
To make out a prima facie case of disability discrimination, McMullin must show
that he: (1) is “disabled” within the meaning of the ADA; (2) is otherwise qualified to
perform the essential functions of the job; and (3) suffered an adverse employment
decision because of discrimination. Sulima v. Tobyhanna Army Depot, 602 F.3d 177,
185 (3d Cir. 2010).
In a footnote, Wesley contends that McMullin is not disabled within the meaning
of the ADA. Under the ADA, a person is disabled if he: (1) has a physical or mental
Compl. ¶ 28; Answer ¶ 28.
impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of
the impairment; or, (3) is regarded as having such an impairment. Williams v. Phila.
Hous. Auth. Police Dep’t, 380 F.3d 751, 762 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing 42 U.S.C. §
12102(1)). When Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA), it
clarified that the phrase “substantially limits” is not intended “to be a demanding
standard.” 154 Cong. Rec. S8840–01 (2008), 2008 WL 4223414.
Contrary to his contention, McMullin does not have an actual disability within the
meaning of the ADA.
He asserts that he suffers from a heart condition,
neurocardiogenic syncope syndrome, which causes his “pulse to go down in times of
stress.”38 He asserts that, on two occasions, the condition caused his heart to stop
completely.39 He sees his cardiologist every other month.40 He does not contend that,
during his employment with Wesley, his condition manifested in a way other than
regular doctor appointments.41 As Wesley claims, McMullin is not disabled within the
meaning of the ADA because his heart condition did not substantially limit one or more
major life activities during his employment with Wesley.
McMullin has barely presented a prima facie case of “regarded as” disability.
Under the ADA, a person is “regarded as” disabled if he: (1) has a physical or mental
impairment that does not substantially limit major life activities but is treated by his
employer as having such limitation; (2) has a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits major life activities only as a result of the attitudes of others toward
Compl. ¶ 20; McMullin Dep. at 72:18–73:2.
McMullin Dep. at 73:3–8.
Id. at 74:10–15.
See id. at 74:5–9.
the impairment; or (3) has no such impairment but is treated by his employer as having
a substantially limiting impairment. Taylor v. Pathmark Stores, Inc., 177 F.3d 180, 187
(3d Cir. 1999) (citing 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2); Warshaw v. Concentra Health Servs., 719 F.
Supp. 2d 484, 495 (E.D. Pa. 2010).
Wesley argues that Petty did not know that McMullin had a heart condition. To
establish disability discrimination, “an employer must know of the disability.” Rinehimer
v. Cemcolift, Inc., 292 F.3d 375, 380 (3d Cir. 2002).
The parties agree that McMullin did not inform Petty that he had a disability.
However, Petty had information from which he could have believed he did. To show
Petty knew of McMullin’s condition, McMullin points to five emails to Petty requesting
time off for doctor appointments.42 He referenced needing to see a cardiologist in an
email apologizing for leaving a budget review early to catch a flight, and explained, “My
cardio doctor is retiring and tomorrow morning is the only time he could see me to pass
to another doctor. My pace maker battery is due to be changed so I could not miss the
plane and then my appt.”43 In his deposition, Petty testified that he “did not interpret that
he had a heart problem.”44 A jury could infer that Petty regarded him as disabled from
his having been advised that he was regularly seeing a cardiologist and had a
To make a prima facie case of disability discrimination, McMullin must also show
he was terminated for discriminatory reasons. Wesley argues that the circumstances
surrounding McMullin’s termination do not give rise to an inference of discrimination on
Pl.’s Supp. Br. in Resp. to the Additional Documents Disclosed by Def. Ex. 10 (Doc. No. 36-1).
Id. at ECF 6.
Petty Dep. at 79:2–8.
the basis of disability.
As we have discussed, Petty’s reason for firing McMullin is
contradicted by the reason given to the staff.
A defendant can satisfy its “relatively light” burden of showing a nondiscriminatory reason for its action, Burton v. Teleflex Inc., 707 F.3d 417, 426 (3d Cir.
2013), by “introducing evidence which, taken as true, would permit the conclusion that
there was a non-discriminatory reason for the unfavorable employment decision,”
Fuentes v. Perskie, 32 F.3d 759, 763 (3d Cir. 1994).
Wesley’s burden is one of
“production, . . . not of persuasion.” Chuang v. Univ. of Cal. Davis, Bd. of Trs., 225 F.3d
1115, 1123–24 (9th Cir. 2000). It “need not prove that the tendered reason actually
motivated” its decision. Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 763. It need only show that its decision
could have been motivated by the proffered legitimate, non-discriminatory reason. Id.;
Iadimarco v. Runyon, 190 F.3d 151, 157 (3d Cir. 1999).
Wesley contends that it fired McMullin due to performance issues. It claims that
McMullin regularly made errors in financial reports, financial models, and cash sheets. 45
It asserts that, based on these performance issues, Petty decided to terminate
Because Wesley has articulated a non-discriminatory reason, the burden shifts
back to McMullin either to discredit Wesley’s proffered justification or present evidence
that he was fired because of a discriminatory reason. Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 764. A
plaintiff may discredit the proffered reason by demonstrating “such weaknesses,
SUMF ¶¶ 7–16.
Id. ¶ 17.
implausibilities, inconsistencies, incoherencies, or contradictions in the employer’s
proffered legitimate reasons for its action that a reasonable factfinder could rationally
find them unworthy of credence . . . and hence infer that the employer did not act for
[the asserted] non-discriminatory reasons.” Id. at 765 (emphasis removed) (citations
and internal quotation marks omitted); see also DeAngelo v. DentalEZ, Inc., 738 F.
Supp. 2d 572, 580 (E.D. Pa. 2010). A plaintiff can meet his burden by “point[ing] to
evidence with sufficient probative force” from which a fact finder could conclude that the
adverse employment action was more likely than not the result of discrimination.
Simpson v. Kay Jewelers, Div. of Sterling, Inc., 142 F.3d 639, 644–45 (3d Cir. 1998);
Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 764.
In other words, McMullin must proffer evidence which: “1) casts sufficient doubt
upon each of the legitimate reasons proffered by the defendant so that a factfinder
could reasonably conclude that each reason was a fabrication; or 2) allows the
factfinder to infer that discrimination was more likely than not a motivating or
determinative cause of the adverse employment action.” Fuentes, 32 F.3d at 762.
McMullin has offered evidence supporting an inference of discrimination and
showing that Wesley’s reasons for firing him are pretext.
contradictions of Petty’s testimony.
McMullin pointed to
In addition, the last email provided by Wesley
showing McMullin’s performance issues was dated February 18, 2015,47 almost three
months before McMullin’s May 15, 2015 termination. McMullin argues that this three-
See Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. E (Doc. No. 26-7) (dated July 23, 2014); id. Ex. F (Doc. No. 26-8)
(dated November 25, 2014); id. Ex. G (Doc. No. 26-9) (dated December 12, 2014); id. Ex. H (Doc. No. 2610) (dated December 17, 2014); id. Ex. I (Doc. No. 26-11) (dated December 19, 2014); id. Ex. J (Doc. No.
26-12) (dated December 30, 2014); id. Ex. M (Doc. No. 26-15) (dated February 13, 2015); id. Ex. N (Doc.
No. 26-16) (dated February 16, 2015); id. Ex. O (Doc. No. 26-17) (dated February 17, 2015); id. Ex. P
(Doc. No. 26-18) (dated February 17, 2015); id. Ex. Q (Doc. No. 26-19) (dated February 18, 2015).
month period shows that he would have been fired for performance issues sooner if that
was the real reason for his termination.
Thus, a jury may infer that McMullin’s
performance issues are pretext and reasonably conclude that Wesley’s stated reasons
for firing him are fabrications.
Wage Payment and Collection Law Claim
McMullin also seeks $20,000 in unpaid relocation expenses. Wesley contends
that McMullin is not entitled to relocation expenses because he never relocated from
California to Pennsylvania.
The WPCL “provides employees a statutory remedy to recover wages and other
benefits that are contractually due to them.” Braun v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 24 A.3d
875, 953 (Pa. Super. 2011) (quoting Oberneder v. Link Comput. Corp., 696 A.2d 148,
150 (Pa. 1997)), aff’d, 106 A.3d 656 (Pa. 2014).
It does not create a right to
The contract between the parties, not the WPCL, governs whether
specific compensation is earned. De Asencio v. Tyson Foods, Inc., 342 F.3d 301, 309
(3d Cir. 2003) (quoting Antol v. Esposto, 100 F.3d 1111, 1117 (3d Cir. 1996)); Weldon
v. Kraft, Inc., 896 F.2d 793, 801 (3d Cir. 1990).
The parties do not dispute that relocation expenses fall within the scope of the
WPCL. Under the WCPL, an employer who “agrees to pay or provide fringe benefits or
wage supplements” must pay or provide them “as required . . . within 60 days of the
date when proper claim was filed by the employe in situations where no required time
for payment is specified.”
43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 260.3.
Fringe benefits or wage
supplements include “reimbursement for expenses” and “any other amount to be paid
pursuant to an agreement to the employe.” Id. § 260.2a.
Whether McMullin’s travel costs are reimbursable as relocation expenses turns
on an interpretation of the offer letter. The offer letter provides for “reimbursement of
reasonable relocation expenses for your move from La Canada, CA.” 48 Relocation
expenses include $20,000 “directly related to travel costs for you and your family,
shipping and storage of household items, lodging, meals.”49
The Court’s primary task in contract interpretation is determining the intent of the
parties. 401 4th St., Inc. v. Investors Ins. Group, 879 A.2d 166, 171 (Pa. 2005) (“The
purpose of [interpreting a contract] is to ascertain the intent of the parties as manifested
by the terms.”).
In doing so, effect must be given to all the provisions in the contract.
Murphy v. Duquesne Univ. Of the Holy Ghost, 777 A.2d 418, 429 (Pa. 2001) (“The
whole instrument must be taken together in arriving at contractual intent.”).
When the contract language is clear and unambiguous, the court construes the
contract as a matter of law. Trizechahn Gateway LLC v. Titus, 976 A.2d 474, 483 (Pa.
2009). On the other hand, where the contract is ambiguous, it is for the factfinder to
ascertain the parties’ intent.
Merely because the parties interpret the contract
differently does not mean it is ambiguous. Espenshade v. Espenshade, 729 A.2d 1239,
1242 (Pa. Super. 1999).
Only where a contract is reasonably capable of different
constructions and understood in more than one sense is it ambiguous. Ins. Adjustment
Bureau, Inc. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 905 A.2d 462, 468–69 (Pa. 2006).
alternative meaning is unreasonable, there is no ambiguity. Murphy, 777 A. 2d at 430.
Applying these principles, we find that the offer letter is clear. The letter referred
Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. D (Doc. No. 26-6) at 1.
Id. at 2.
to travel for relocation, not for shuttling back-and-forth during the term of employment.
It included “travel costs” as part of relocation expenses, listing costs “directly related” to
relocation: “travel costs for you and your family, shipping and storage of household
items, lodging, meals.” Travel costs are enumerated as part of a series of items related
to relocation. See Post v. St. Paul Travelers Ins. Co., 691 F.3d 500, 520 (3d Cir. 2012)
(quoting Northway Vill. No. 3, Inc. v. Northway Props., Inc., 244 A.2d 47, 50 (Pa. 1968)
(“Similarly, ‘[t]he ancient maxim “noscitur a sociis” summarizes the rule that the meaning
of words may be indicated or controlled by those words with which they are associated.
Words are known by the company they keep.’”).
Because the offer letter is clear, we construe it as a matter of law. Travel costs
back-and-forth from Pennsylvania to California for family visits are not relocation
Therefore, we shall grant Wesley’s motion for summary judgment on
McMullin’s WPCL claim.
We shall grant Wesley’s motion for summary judgment in part and deny it in part.
There are a number of disputed material facts surrounding McMullin’s discrimination
claims, precluding summary judgment on those claims. There are no disputed material
facts regarding the relocation expenses. Wesley is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law on the WPCL claim.
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