FRUNGILLO v. BRADFORD REGIONAL AIRPORT OPERATING et al
ORDER granting 44 Motion for Summary Judgment and granting 48 Motion for Summary Judgment. The Clerk shall mark this case CLOSED. Signed by Judge Barbara Rothstein on 3/12/2018. (kly)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
BRADFORD REGIONAL AIRPORT
OPERATING, et al.,
Civil Action No. 16-108
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’
MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Plaintiff Thomas Frungillo brings this disability discrimination action alleging that various
parties affiliated with his former workplace, Bradford Regional Airport, violated his rights under
the Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), 29 U.S.C. § 2601, the Americans with Disabilities
Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 Pa.
C.S. § 951. (Doc. 11.) Specifically, Plaintiff brings this action against two sets of Defendants:
“County Defendants,” comprised of Defendants Cameron County, Elk County, and Warren
County; and “Airport Defendants,” comprised of Defendants Bradford Regional Airport
Authority, Bradford Regional Airport Operating, and Bradford Airport Advisory Board. Plaintiff
avers that he was a “joint employee” of County Defendants and of Airport Defendants, and that
his employment was wrongfully terminated shortly after—and in retaliation for—his taking FMLA
leave. (Id. at ¶¶ 45-75, p. 9 n.4). County Defendants and Airport Defendants each move for
summary judgment, arguing that neither is an “employer” subject to the requirements of the FMLA
or the ADA. Specifically, County Defendants argue that Plaintiff was not their employee, and was
instead employed solely by Airport Defendants. (Doc. 49). Airport Defendants assert—and
Plaintiff agrees—that Airport Defendants employed fewer than 15 employees, and that an
employer is subject to the FMLA only if it employs 50 or more employees, 29 U.S.C. §
2611(2)(A)-(B), and is subject to the ADA only if it employs 15 or more employees, 42 U.S.C. §
12111(4)-(5)(A). Thus, Airport Defendants maintain that as Plaintiff’s sole employer, they cannot
be subject to FMLA or ADA liability as a matter of law. (Id. at 1-2, 11-14). 1 Plaintiff opposes
both motions. (Pl’s. Opp’n Airport Def.’s Mot., Doc. 52; Pl’s. Opp’n County Def.’s Mot., Doc.
Having reviewed the parties’ briefs together with all relevant materials, the Court finds that
County Defendants were not joint employers with Airport Defendants, and that Plaintiff was
instead employed solely by Defendant Bradford Airport Authority. Thus, neither set of Defendants
is subject to liability under the FMLA or the ADA as a matter of law. Accordingly, the Court
grants County Defendants’ motion as it relates to Plaintiff’s FMLA and ADA claims, and Airport
Defendants’ motion as it relates to the joint employment issue, and dismisses Plaintiff’s federal
claims. In addition, the Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s remaining PHRA
claims. The Court’s reasoning follows:
A. Summary Judgment Generally
Summary judgment is proper “if the movant shows 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).
The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of
Additionally, or alternatively, Defendants argue that no reasonable juror could find that Defendants’ actions were
discriminatory, or that their non-discriminatory justification for firing Plaintiff was pretextual. (Doc. 45 at 14-30; Doc.
49 at 2 n.1). The Court need not reach Plaintiff’s discrimination allegations as the Court finds that Defendants are not
subject to the provisions of the FMLA or the ADA. (Doc. 45 at 14-30; Doc. 49 at 2 n.1).
material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). “[T]he substantive law will
identify which facts are material. Only 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). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine . . .
if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
In deciding a summary judgment motion, the court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and draw all justifiable inferences in its favor. Weldon v. Kraft,
Inc., 896 F.2d 793, 797 (3d Cir. 1990) (citing Sorba v. Pennsylvania Drilling Co., 821 F.2d 200,
204 (3d Cir.1987), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1019 (1988)).
B. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment for FMLA and ADA Claims
The benefits and rights guaranteed by the FMLA and the ADA are not afforded to all
employees in all workplaces. Specifically, and in relevant part, in order to be “eligible” for leave
under the FMLA, an employee must be employed by an entity that employs 50 or employees. 29
U.S.C. § § 2612(a)(1), 2611(2)(A)-(B). Similarly, the ADA prohibits only those entities with 15
or more employees from discriminating against a qualified individual on the basis of disability. 42
U.S.C. § § 12111, 12112(a). In bringing claims under these Acts, plaintiff-employees may satisfy
the employee threshold requirement by demonstrating that two or more independent entities served
as “joint employers,” and, therefore, that they should be treated as a single employer. See 29
C.F.R. § 825.106(b)(1) (two or more independent entities “may be joint employers under the
FMLA”); Cella v. Villanova Univ., 2003 WL 329147, at *7 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2003) (independent
entities may be “joint employers” for the purposes of the ADA) (citing N.L.R.B. v. BrowningFerris Indus. of Pennsylvania, Inc., 691 F.2d 117, 1124 (3d Cir. 1982).
Plaintiff Thomas Frungillo was hired in 1998 to serve as Bradford Regional Airport’s
Airport Director. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 37:16-21). As Airport Director, Plaintiff was tasked
generally with running “a safe and efficient airport.” (Id. at 38:12-25). Plaintiff remained Airport
Director throughout his employment. (Id.).
Bradford Regional Airport is a public airport located in McKean County, Pennsylvania.
(See Doc. 11 ¶ 13.) Since 2011, Defendant McKean County has contributed whatever funds are
needed so that the Airport does not operate at a loss. (Airport Funding Agreement, Doc. 53-12 at
3). The Airport’s operations are overseen by Defendant Bradford Regional Airport Authority (“the
Authority”). (Authority Articles of Incorporation, Doc. 47-4). The Authority was formed and
incorporated by Defendants Cameron County, Elk County, McKean County, and Warren County,
in April 1967, under the Pennsylvania Municipality Authorities Act of 1945, Pa. Stat. Ann. § 301.
(Id.). In November 1967, the City of Bradford conveyed the Airport to the Authority. (Agreement
between Authority, Counties, and City of Bradford, Doc. 51-2 at 1).
The Authority operates under the control of a nine-member Board of Directors, all of whom
are appointed by the McKean County Board of Commissioners. (Authority Bylaws, Doc. 47-5 at
1-2). Pursuant to the Authority’s bylaws, at least one member must reside in each of the following
counties: Cameron, Elk, and Warren. (Id.). There is no residency requirement for the Authority’s
remaining six Board members. (Id.). The Authority pays its expenses, including Plaintiff’s wages,
through Defendant Bradford Regional Airport Operating, a PNC bank account. (Airport Defs.’
Statement of Facts, Doc. 46 at ¶ 3). 2
In December 2012, Plaintiff and the Authority entered into an employment agreement that
documents, inter alia, the parties’ obligations in the event that Plaintiff’s employment with the
Airport ends. (Doc. 51-4).
On Monday, September 1, 2014, Plaintiff began what was supposed to be a week-long
vacation. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 114:23-115:12). Plaintiff was scheduled to return to work on
Monday, September 8, 2014. (Id.). On the morning of September 8, however, Plaintiff did not
report to work. Instead, that afternoon, Plaintiff sent an email to the Authority’s Personnel
Committee, 3 informing them as follows: “I have over 20 days of vacation and need some time off
for my own personal health. There are personnel and support issues which need to be discussed
prior to my return. I cannot simply continue as is. If you wish to discuss the matter further please
let me know a date and time.” (9/8/14 Email from Plaintiff to Personnel Committee, Doc. 47-10
Approximately 20 minutes later, one of the Personnel Committee members replied as
It is uncontested that as a bank account, Defendant Bradford Regional Airport Operating does not have any
employees. (Doc. 46 at ¶ 3; see Pl.’s Opp’n, Doc. 52 (failing to identify or otherwise address “Bradford Regional
Airport Operating”); Pl.’s Statement of Facts, Doc. 52-1 (same); Pl’s. Doc. 55 (same)). Thus, Defendant Bradford
Regional Airport Operating is not an “employer” under the FMLA or the ADA. See 29 U.S.C. § 2611(2)(A)-(B); 42
U.S.C. § 12111(4)-(5)(A). Accordingly, Defendant Operating is dismissed from this action.
The record demonstrates that the Authority’s human resources committee is known to the Authority as the
Authority’s “Personnel Committee.” (See, e.g., DeMott Aff., Doc. 47-28 at ¶¶ 20-23). In his counter statement of
facts, Plaintiff refers to this same committee as the “Human Resources Committee.” (Doc. 52-1 at ¶ 18). In his
Complaint, however, Plaintiff avers that the Authority’s personnel or human resources committee is actually
Defendant Bradford Airport Advisory Board (“Advisory Board”). (Doc. 11 ¶ 16 (asserting that Defendant Advisory
Board is “responsible for . . . handling employee-related issues within . . . Defendant Authority (much like a Human
Resources office would).” (Id. at ¶ 16). Plaintiff, in his briefing, does not address this discrepancy. (See generally id.;
Doc. 52 (mentioning “Bradford Airport Advisory Board” only in the introductory paragraph’s listing of the “Airport
Defendants”); Doc. 55 (same)). Additionally, according to Airport Defendants, “Defendant Advisory Board does not
conduct business, have assets, exist as a legal entity or have employees.” (Airport Defs.’ Statement of Facts, Doc. 43
at ¶ 4). Plaintiff does not contest this. (See generally Docs. 52, 52-1, 55). Thus, to the extent that such an entity exists,
the Court dismisses from this action Bradford Airport Advisory Board. See 29 U.S.C. § 2611(2)(A)-(B); 42 U.S.C. §
follows: “I suggest you begin your vacation, relax and contemplate your future. I will get together
with [the other three Personnel Committee members] this week to discuss the situation. Then, we
might meet sometime next week to discuss the matter.” (Id. at 2). Plaintiff responded that he would
take “the remainder of the week as vacation and return on Monday—September 15.” (Id.).
At the Personnel Committee’s request, Plaintiff met with it that Friday, September 12,
2014. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 153-54; DeMott Aff., Doc. 47-28 at ¶¶ 20-23). Following the
meeting, the Committee decided that Plaintiff’s employment should be terminated. (DeMott Aff.,
Doc. 47-28 at ¶¶ 20-23). Not having the authority to terminate Plaintiff, however, the Committee
made its recommendation to the Authority’s Board of Directors at the Authority’s Board’s
previously-scheduled September 17, 2014 meeting. (Id. at ¶ 33). Seven of the Authority’s nine
Board members attended the meeting; and, having heard from the Committee, all seven voted to
terminate Plaintiff’s employment. (E.g., id. at ¶¶ 32-40). 4 Plaintiff does not contest that at the time
Plaintiff was terminated, the Authority employed “approximately eight to 10 individuals.” (A.
Dankesreiter Aff., Doc. 47-30 at ¶ 37).
In this action, Plaintiff asserts that since at least 2012, he has suffered from various
disabilities recognized under the ADA and the FMLA, 5 and maintains that his September 8, 2014
email to the Authority’s Personnel Committee constituted a request to take FMLA leave. By
terminating his employment shortly thereafter, Plaintiff contends, Defendants interfered with his
FMLA benefits and retaliated against him (Count 7). For the same reasons, Plaintiff further
contends that under the ADA and the PHRA, Defendants wrongfully discriminated against him
Plaintiff was issued two termination letters, each dated September 17, 2014. The first informs Plaintiff that his
termination was effective that day, while the second letter states that his termination was effective October 17, 2014.
(Compare Doc. 53-24 with Doc. 53-35); see also (Pl’s. Employment Agreement, Doc. 51-4 (“Employer shall have the
right to terminate [Plaintiff’s] employment at any time upon thirty (30) days written notice[.]”)).
Specifically, Plaintiff asserts that he suffers from a degenerative disc disease in his back, a bulging disc in his neck,
nerve damage to his arm, and severe stress. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 58:10-25, 74:16-24; see also 8/3/2012 Medical
Report, Doc. 53-18 at 4; 8/26/13 Medical Evaluation Summary; 7/14/14 Imagining Services Report, Doc. 53-21).
(Counts 1 and 2, respectively), retaliated against him (Counts 3 and 4, respectively), and failed to
accommodate him by refusing to hold open his position during his FMLA leave (Counts 5 and 6,
County Defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that for the purposes of
the FMLA and the ADA, they were not “joint employers” of Plaintiff, and, therefore, that they are
not subject to liability under either Act as a matter of law. Airport Defendants have also moved
for summary judgment, asserting that there was no joint employment, and, therefore, that they are
not subject to liability given the agreed-upon number of employees they employed at the time
Plaintiff was terminated. Thus, the determinative issue before the Court is whether the County
Defendants were joint employers of Plaintiff (along with the Authority). If not, than neither group
of Defendants is subject to liability under either Act.
A. Plaintiff’s FMLA and ADA Claims
As indicated above, the parties agree that Plaintiff was employed by Defendant Authority;
and that Plaintiff’s federal law claims can proceed only if County Defendants additionally, i.e.,
“jointly,” employed Plaintiff. (Compl., Doc. 11 at ¶ ¶ 45-46, 54, 61, 66; Airport Defs.’ Mot., 45 at
10-12; County Defs.’ Mot., Doc. 49 at 1-2; Pl’s. Opp’n, Doc. 55 at 3). There is further no dispute
that the “joint employer” test under the FMLA is identical to that under the ADA, and, therefore,
that the analysis applies to both sets of claims. (See Doc. 49 at 6-7; Doc. 55 at 7); compare Braden
v. Cty. of Washington, 2010 WL 1664895, at *6-8 (W.D. Pa. Apr. 23, 2010) (analyzing the joint
employment relationship under the FMLA) with Cella v. Villanova Univ., 2003 WL 329147, at
*7-8 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 12, 2003), aff’d, 113 F.App’x 454 (3d Cir. 2004) (analyzing the joint
employment relationship under the ADA) (citing N.L.R.B. v. Browning-Ferris Indus. of
Pennsylvania, Inc., 691 F.2d 1117, 1124 (3d Cir. 1982)).
A “joint employment” relationship exists “where two or more employers exert significant
control over the same employees—where from the evidence it can be shown that they share or codetermine those matters governing essential terms and conditions of employment[.]” BrowningFerris, 691 F.2d at 1124. The factors that the Court should consider are set forth in In re
Enterterprise Rent-A-Car Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litig., 683 F.3d 462 (3d Cir.
2012). See Thompson v. Real Estate Mortg. Network, 748 F.3d 142 (2014) (noting that in 683 F.3d
462 (3d Cir. 2012), the Third Circuit enunciated the “Enterprise test” for joint employment). These
factors consist of whether the alleged employer: (1) had the “authority to hire and fire” the
employee; (2) had the “authority to promulgate work rules and assignments and to set the
employee[’s] conditions of employment: compensation, benefits, and work schedules, including
the rate and method of payment;” (3) was involved in the employees’ “day-to-day supervision,
including employee discipline;” and (4) had “actual control of employee records, such as payroll,
insurance, or taxes.” In re Enterprise, 683 F.3d at 469) (citing Browning-Ferris, 691 F.2d at 1123).
These factors must be viewed in light of “the total employment situation and the economic realities
of the work relationship.” Id. (internal quotation omitted). Thus, courts must also consider
“evidence that does not fall neatly within one of the [four broad categories].” Id.
Here, Defendants cite a multitude of factors indicating that the Counties did not jointly
employ Plaintiff along with the Authority. (See Doc. 49 at 10-14; Doc. 61 at 4-14). For example,
Defendants assert that the Counties did not have the authority to hire or fire Plaintiff, nor any other
Bradford Airport employee. (Doc. 49 at 10; see Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 176:13-16, 177:3-7).
Additionally, Defendants assert, Plaintiff had an Employment Agreement with the Authority that
was between only two parties: Plaintiff, the “employee,” and the Authority, the “employer.” (Doc.
51-4). Plaintiff did not have an employment agreement with any of the Counties. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc.
53-1 at 173:4-15). Pursuant to Plaintiff’s Employment Agreement, Plaintiff was to “devote his
whole time, energy, and attention, exclusively to the business of the Employer, and  to carry out
the duties assigned to him by Employer[.]” (Id. at 3). The Agreement further gave the Authority—
and only the Authority—the right to terminate Plaintiff’s employment upon 30 days written notice.
(Id.). 6 Plaintiff received two termination letters from the Authority, (Docs. 53-24, 53-25), and did
not receive a termination letter from any of the Counties, (Doc. 49).
As to Plaintiff’s work rules, assignments, and conditions of employment, Defendants
assert, for example, that only the Authority dictated what hours Plaintiff was to be at work. (Doc.
49 at 12 (citing Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 177:25-178:10)). Plaintiff received multiple bonuses, none
of which were issued by the Counties. (Id. at 182:21-183:1). Plaintiff’s health and life insurance
policies were issued and paid for the Authority alone. (Id. at 183:17-184:2). Additionally, Plaintiff
had a work cell phone, a work credit card, and work travel expenses, all of which were reimbursed
in full by the Authority. (Doc. 49 at 12-13 (citing Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53:1 at 178:11-25, 183:2-16)).
As to Plaintiff’s day-to-day supervision, Plaintiff essentially set his own schedule. (Pl’s.
Dep., 177:21-178:4). Additionally, according to Plaintiff, all of the work completed at the Airport
“flowed” either directly through Plaintiff, as Airport Director, or directly to the Authority. (Id. at
39:1-10). As to Plaintiff’s job performance, he met infrequently with the Authority about it, and
never met with any of the Counties about it. (Id. at 179:17-180:10).
As to Plaintiff’s wages, Defendants assert that they were paid only by the Authority’s PNC
bank account, (Pl’s. Dep. at 181:10-24), and that Plaintiff was never issued a W2 from any of the
Counties, (id. at 182:1-13). On his income tax returns, Plaintiff listed his employer either as
Similarly, Plaintiff understood that as Airport Director, he was not able to hire any employees without the Authority’s
approval; and Plaintiff never sought approval from the Counties to hire or fire employees. (Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at
“Bradford Regional Airport Authority” and/or as “Bradford Regional Airport Operating,” the
Authority’s bank account. (Id. at 182:11-20).
In response to this evidence, Plaintiff maintains that “the Authority [a]cts directly or
indirectly in the interest of the Defendant Counties in relation to the employee.” (Doc. 55 at 8-11).
Specifically, Plaintiff asserts, McKean County “contributes annually 100% of the funds needed to
operate the Airport.” (Id. at 8 (citing 2/17/11 Compensation Agreement, Doc. 53-12)); see also
Pl’s. Counter Statement of Facts, Doc. 52-1 at 5) (“The four counties entered into an agreement to
have McKean County provide 100% of the funds needed to operate the Airport”)). Thus, Plaintiff
argues, at least McKean County jointly employed Plaintiff. (See Doc. 55 at 8-11).
Plaintiff misreads the Agreement he cites. In relevant part, the Agreement states that
McKean County “shall…contribute annually 100% of the funds needed to operate the Airport on
a break-even basis.” (Doc. 53-12 at 3) (emphasis added). This provision does not mean that the
Airport is funded solely by McKean County; instead, it means that McKean County will contribute
whatever funds are necessary so that the Airport does not operate at a loss. In other words, the
Airport receives funding from sources other than McKean County. (See, e.g., Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 531 at 39:14-18 (explaining that the Federal Government, through its “Essential Air Service
program,” provides the Airport “subsid[ies] to maintain commercial operations”)). 7 Furthermore,
McKean County’s contribution is too attenuated to meet any of the Enterprise factors.
Plaintiff additionally asserts that “Plaintiff’s supervisor,” Joseph DeMott, serves both as
the Authority’s Chairman of the Board and as a McKean County Commissioner. Doc. 55 at 11,
12-13. DeMott, Plaintiff asserts, used his McKean County email address when communicating
Plaintiff’s incorrect interpretation of the Compensation Agreement underlies many of Plaintiff’s contentions. (See
Doc. 55 at 8-14). Plaintiff maintains, for example, that Plaintiff’s “pay comes directly from McKean County as they
provide all of the Airport’s funding.” (Id. at 14). For the same (incorrect) reason, Plaintiff maintains that “the Counties
provided [Plaintiff] with medical and life insurance.” (Id. at 12).
with Plaintiff about Plaintiff’s employment. Id. at 13. Further, Plaintiff contends, Cameron, Elk
and Warren Counties are “represent[ed]” on the Authority’s Board by virtue of the Board’s
residency requirements; and all of the Board members are appointed by McKean County
Commissioners. See id. at 11-14. Thus, Plaintiff argues, actions taken by—and the day-to-day
supervision of—the Authority should be imputed to the Counties. See id. 8
However, where a defendant-employer admits that its board of directors has the sole
authority to hire and fire employees, board members’ service both on that Board and for the
corresponding County does not indicate joint employment. See Kovaleski v. County of
Lackawanna, 2011 WL 6294497, at *6 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 15, 2011) (finding that joint employment
relationship did not exist between the County and the County’s Transportation System, where the
Transportation System’s Board members worked for both entities, and where the County could
further make hiring and firing make recommendations to the Transportation System’s Board,
because the Board had the “ultimate” decision-making power).
Indeed, Plaintiff does not cite any support for his contention that DeMott’s (and other
Board members’) actions taken on behalf of the Authority should be imputed to the Counties. (See
Doc. 55 at 11-13). By contrast, and as described above, Defendants, have submitted ample
evidence that the Counties had no influence over the work of the Authority, or, more specifically,
over Plaintiff’s employment. (See also Authority Bylaws, Doc. 47-5 at 2 (“[a]ll matters related to
the property and operation of the business of the Authority shall be managed and decided by the
Board of Directors”); Airport Defs.’ Ans., Doc. 15 at ¶ 17 (denying that Plaintiff’s employment,
In furtherance of this argument, Plaintiff additionally maintains that Plaintiff “received McKean County’s handbook
and frequently used the handbook.” (Id. at 13 (citing Pl’s. Dep., Doc. 53-1 at 174:12-17, 176:23-177:2, 179:25-180:7)).
The undisputed record demonstrates, however, that Plaintiff “asked for a copy of the McKean County Employee
Handbook, as he said he wanted to use it as a reference to write a handbook for his employees. He did not receive the
handbook as an employee of McKean County, as he was not employed by the County, and he was not covered by the
employment policies of McKean County.” (Roche Aff., Doc. 62-2 at ¶ 3).
and the terms thereof, “were controlled in any part by Defendant Counties”); Authority Board
Members’ Affs., Docs. 47-24--28 (declaring that during their time on the Authority, they never
consulted with the Counties before acting, including when they voted to terminate Plaintiff); Lane
Aff., Doc. 62-1 at ¶ 5 (declaring, as a McKean County Commissioner, that “[i]n authorizing
funding for the [A]irport, McKean County did not impose any restrictions or qualifications for the
payment, and did not seek to exercise any control over the Airport Director’s [i.e., Plaintiff’s,] use
of the funds”)).
Nevertheless, Plaintiff, in his opposition, argues that the joint employer test requires a factintensive analysis, and, therefore, that the grant of summary judgment is inappropriate. (Doc. 55
at 5). In Enterprise, however, the Third Circuit found it appropriate to weigh the four factors in
light of the totality of the employment relationship, to determine whether summary judgment is
appropriate. In re Enterprise, 683 F.3d at 471 (“[W]hen a legal standard requires the balancing of
multiple factors, as it does [with the joint employer determination], summary judgment may still
be appropriate[.]”). Given the lack of substantiation by Plaintiff and the overwhelming proof by
Defendants, after analyzing the factors set forth in Enterprise and considering the totality of the
circumstances of Plaintiff’s employment, the Court finds that Plaintiff has not created a genuine
issue of material fact as to whether there was a joint employment relationship between the County
Defendants and the Authority. Therefore, the Court grants Defendant Counties’ motion for
summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s FMLA and ADA claims. See id. (affirming summary judgment
and finding no joint employment relationship between parent and subsidiary despite companies
being engaged in the same “nature of business” and having “interlocking directories” for their
respective boards of directors, and despite there being certain factors that weighed in favor of a
joint employment relationship); Braden v. Cty. of Washington, 2010 WL 1664895, at *7 (W.D. Pa.
Apr. 23, 2010) (granting summary judgment as to plaintiff’s FMLA claims, and, having analyzed
the facts under the four broad categories, finding no joint employer relationship despite County
Court employee’s assertions that the County: had been “involve[d] in payroll and benefits
administration[;] presen[t] during the hiring process[;]” “provided support to court-related
employees[;]” “adopted certain County policies[;] and…[had] recommended that Plaintiff be
suspended, written up, and fired”); Cella v. Villanova Univ., 2003 WL 329147, at *7-8 (E.D. Pa.
Feb. 12, 2003), aff’d, 113 F.App’x 454 (3d Cir. 2004) (granting summary judgment as to plaintiff’s
ADA claims, and, having analyzed the facts under the four broad categories, finding no joint
employer relationship where employee had been subject to a collective bargaining agreement,
which governed his employment, and to which one defendant-entity was not a party).
As to Airport Defendants’ motion, there is no dispute that at the time of Plaintiff’s
termination, the Authority employed fewer than 15 employees; and that acting as Plaintiff’s sole
employer, the Authority cannot be subject to FMLA or ADA liability as a matter of law. Thus,
the Court grants Airport Defendants’ motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
FMLA and ADA claims are dismissed.
B. Plaintiff’s PHRA Claims
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), a district court may decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction if “the district court has dismissed all claims over which it has original jurisdiction.”
“In the usual case in which all federal-law claims are eliminated before trial, the balance of factors
to be considered under the pendent jurisdiction doctrine—judicial economy, convenience, fairness,
and comity—will point toward declining to exercise jurisdiction over the remaining state-law
claims.” Carnegie-Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 (1988) (internal citation omitted).
Here, “the parties have not articulated specific reasons for the [C]ourt to entertain the PHRA
claim[s] in the absence of a federal cause of action.” Erdman v. Nationwide Ins. Co., 621 F. Supp.
2d 230, 238 (M.D. Pa. 2007), aff’d, 582 F.3d 500 (3d Cir. 2009) (declining to exercise jurisdiction
over PHRA claim after dismissing plaintiff’s FMLA claim). Thus, the Court declines to exercise
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s PHRA claims. See id.; Carnegie-Mellon Univ., 484 U.S.
at 350; Borough of West Mifflin v. Lancaster, 45 F.3d 780, 788 (3d Cir. 1995).
Having found that Plaintiff was employed solely by Defendant Bradford Regional Airport
Authority, the Court hereby ORDERS as follows:
County Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s FMLA and ADA
claims is GRANTED;
Airport Defendants’ motion for summary judgment as it relates to the joint
employment issue under the FMLA and the ADA is GRANTED;
Plaintiff’s FMLA and ADA claims (Counts 1, 3, 5, 7) are DISMISSED;
Defendants Bradford Regional Airport Operating and Bradford Airport Advisory
Board are DISMISSED;
Plaintiff’s PHRA claims (Counts 2, 4, 6) are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
due to the Court’s declination to exercise supplemental jurisdiction.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED this 12th day of March, 2018.
BARBARA J. ROTHSTEIN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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