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Paraskevopoulos v. Central Maine Medical Center

United States District Court, D. Maine

August 9, 2019

LEO S. PARASKEVOPOULOS, Plaintiff
v.
CENTRAL MAINE MEDICAL CENTER, Defendant

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          John H. Rich III United States Magistrate Judge

         In this employment discrimination action, plaintiff Leo S. Paraskevopoulos moves for partial summary judgment as to defendant Central Maine Medical Center's affirmative defense that he failed to mitigate his lost wage damages. See Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (“Motion”) (ECF No. 66) at 1. The defendant has filed a cross-motion for partial summary judgment on an unrelated theory, see generally ECF No. 69, which is the subject of a separate recommended decision. Because the plaintiff has met his burden to show he made some effort to secure employment after his termination, and the defendant has failed to meet its burden to show that comparable jobs were available and that the plaintiff failed to use reasonable diligence to secure employment, I grant the Motion.

         I. Applicable Legal Standards

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56

         Summary judgment is appropriate “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); Ahmed v. Johnson, 752 F.3d 490, 495 (1st Cir. 2014). “A dispute is genuine if ‘the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in favor of the non-moving party.'” Johnson v. Univ. of P.R., 714 F.3d 48, 52 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Thompson v. Coca-Cola Co., 522 F.3d 168, 175 (1st Cir. 2008)). “A fact is material if it has the potential of determining the outcome of the litigation.” Id. (quoting Maymi v. P.R. Ports Auth., 515 F.3d 20, 25 (1st Cir. 2008)).

         The party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). In determining whether this burden is met, the court must view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and give that party the benefit of all reasonable inferences in its favor. Johnson, 714 F.3d at 52. Once the moving party has made a preliminary showing that no genuine issue of material fact exists, the nonmovant must “produce specific facts, in suitable evidentiary form, to establish the presence of a trialworthy issue.” Brooks v. AIG SunAmerica Life Assur. Co., 480 F.3d 579, 586 (1st Cir. 2007) (quoting Clifford v. Barnhart, 449 F.3d 276, 280 (1st Cir. 2006) (emphasis omitted)); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “As to any essential factual element of its claim on which the nonmovant would bear the burden of proof at trial, its failure to come forward with sufficient evidence to generate a trialworthy issue warrants summary judgment to the moving party.” In re Spigel, 260 F.3d 27, 31 (1st Cir. 2001) (citation and internal punctuation omitted).

         “This framework is not altered by the presence of cross-motions for summary judgment.” Cochran v. Quest Software, Inc., 328 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 2003). “[T]he court must mull each motion separately, drawing inferences against each movant in turn.” Id. (citation omitted); see also, e.g., Wightman v. Springfield Terminal Ry. Co., 100 F.3d 228, 230 (1st Cir. 1996) (“Cross motions for summary judgment neither alter the basic Rule 56 standard, nor warrant the grant of summary judgment per se. Cross motions simply require us to determine whether either of the parties deserves judgment as a matter of law on facts that are not disputed. As always, we resolve all factual disputes and any competing, rational inferences in the light most favorable to the [nonmovant].”) (citations omitted).

         B. Local Rule 56

          The evidence that the court may consider in deciding whether genuine issues of material fact exist for purposes of summary judgment is circumscribed by the local rules of this district. See Loc. R. 56. The moving party must first file a statement of material facts that it claims are not in dispute. See Loc. R. 56(b). Each fact must be set forth in a numbered paragraph and supported by a specific record citation. See id. The nonmoving party must then submit a responsive “separate, short, and concise” statement of material facts in which it must “admit, deny or qualify the facts by reference to each numbered paragraph of the moving party's statement of material facts[.]” Loc. R. 56(c). The nonmovant likewise must support each denial or qualification with an appropriate record citation. See id. The nonmoving party may also submit its own additional statement of material facts that it contends are not in dispute, each supported by a specific record citation. See id. The movant then must respond to the nonmoving party's statement of additional facts, if any, by way of a reply statement of material facts in which it must “admit, deny or qualify such additional facts by reference to the numbered paragraphs” of the nonmovant's statement. See Loc. R. 56(d). Again, each denial or qualification must be supported by an appropriate record citation. See id.

         Local Rule 56 directs that “[f]acts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.” Loc. R. 56(f). In addition, “[t]he court may disregard any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment” and has “no independent duty to search or consider any part of the record not specifically referenced in the parties' separate statement of fact.” Id.; see also, e.g., Borges ex rel. S.M.B.W. v. Serrano-Isern, 605 F.3d 1, 5 (1st Cir. 2010); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (“If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion[.]”).

         II. Factual Background

         The parties' statements of material facts, credited to the extent that they are either admitted or supported by record citations in accordance with Local Rule 56, with disputes resolved in favor of the defendant as the nonmovant, reveal the following.[1]

         In July 2011, the plaintiff began a three-year residency program with the defendant. Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts with Opposing Statement (“Plaintiff's Consolidated SMF”), commencing at page 1 of Parties' Consolidated Statement of Material Facts (Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment) (“Parties' Consolidated SMF”) (ECF No. 85), ¶ 1. On January 21, 2014, the defendant terminated the plaintiff's employment in its residency program. Id. ¶ 2. Following his termination, the plaintiff applied to more than 130 residency programs, participated in the residency match process twice a year, applied to non-residency jobs, and explored medical licensure in the United States and Canada. Id. ¶¶ 5-9; Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts with Plaintiff's Reply Statement (“Defendant's Consolidated SMF”), commencing at page 6 of Parties' Consolidated SMF, ¶¶ 8-9. However, he was unable to secure employment in another residency program or as a medical professional. Plaintiff's Consolidated SMF ¶ 11. Ultimately, the plaintiff found employment as a research assistant and a carpenter. Id. ¶¶ 17-18; Defendant's Consolidated SMF ¶¶ 10-13.

         III. ...


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