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BEATTIE v. TRUMP SHUTTLE

March 5, 1991

CHARLES W. BEATTIE, Plaintiff,
v.
THE TRUMP SHUTTLE, INC., Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FLANNERY

 THOMAS A. FLANNERY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 This matter comes before the Court upon defendant's motion for summary judgment and upon plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. At issue is whether defendant The Trump Shuttle ("Trump") violated the Veteran's Reemployment Rights Act ("VRRA"), 38 U.S.C. §§ 2021-2026, by failing to hire plaintiff Beattie, who was fulfilling military reserve duties at the time of his application for employment. The Court finds that Trump's refusal to hire Beattie violated Beattie's rights under the VRRA and the Court will grant plaintiff's motion and deny defendant's motion.

 I. Background

 The material facts in this matter are not in dispute. On February 11, 1988, Charles Beattie, a pilot employed by Eastern Air Lines, Inc. ("Eastern") and a colonel in the United States Air Force Reserve, requested leave from Eastern to attend the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. The Industrial College is a section of the National Defense University devoted to the study of the political, military and economic strengths of the world's major nations. Admission to the college is quite competitive and prestigious, and successful completion of the course of studies offered there is a prerequisite for military career advancement. Eastern granted Beattie's request for a leave of absence, and, on May 27, 1988, Beattie submitted to Eastern a copy of his orders to attend the Industrial College from August 8, 1988 until June 15, 1989. Beattie began his leave on August 8, 1988.

 On October 12, 1988, during Beattie's military leave, Trump entered into an agreement with Eastern to purchase the assets and operations of Eastern's shuttle division. The shuttle service consists of scheduled air carrier operations in the Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York markets. Pursuant to the purchase agreement, Trump extended offers of employment to all Eastern personnel, by job position, with hiring preferences to be based upon each applicant's seniority status at Eastern. Trump ultimately hired approximately 200 pilots. Trump admits that Beattie possessed the requisite seniority to have been selected from within the group of applicants for pilot positions.

 Trump's offers of employment required that all applicants be available for training approximately two weeks prior to the scheduled commencement of Trump operations on February 1, 1989. *fn1" Beattie submitted an application for employment by the specified deadline of December 12, 1988 despite his military commitment, which made it impossible for him to begin employment by mid-January. In or about December, 1988, Trump informed Beattie that he would not be hired because of his unavailability on the anticipated date of commencement of Trump operations.

 Beattie completed his duties at the Industrial College on June 15, 1989. He never applied for reinstatement to his former position at Eastern, although his position at Eastern still existed and was available to him. There is no evidence showing that Beattie had been assigned to Eastern's shuttle division previous to his military leave or that Trump's purchase of the shuttle had eliminated Beattie's former position.

 II. Summary Judgment

 Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) provides that summary judgment

 
shall be rendered forthwith if the 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 judgment as a matter of law. A summary judgment, interlocutory in character, may be rendered on the issue of liability alone although there is a genuine issue as to the amount of damages.

 Id. In considering motions for summary judgment, "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, 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986).

 Although the parties in this matter have not yet commenced discovery, the pleadings and affidavits in support of their motions document that no genuine issue exists as to any fact that might affect the outcome of this suit. See White v. Fraternal Order of Police, 285 U.S. App. D.C. 273, 909 F.2d 512, 516-17 (D.C. Cir. 1990) (District Court did not abuse discretion by staying discovery prior to issuing summary judgment rulings because record was adequate to determine whether standards of Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) were met). The facts in this action may be summarized briefly: (1) Trump extended offers of employment to all Eastern employees based upon their seniority status; (2) Beattie was an Eastern pilot possessing the requisite seniority; (3) Trump declined to hire Beattie based upon his unavailability on the specified commencement date; and (4) Beattie's unavailability was caused by his military commitment.

 The Court thus finds that the pleadings and affidavits in this matter have established all material facts necessary to determine the liability issues raised by the parties. As discussed below, the Court finds Beattie's motion to be ...


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