Martinez v. UPMC Susquehanna, No. 19-2866 (3d Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Martinez, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, has four decades of experience including general and orthopedic-surgery residencies and a spine fellowship. In 2016, a hospital hired Martinez on a three-year contract as its only orthopedic surgeon. In 2017, UPMC bought the hospital. UPMC’s representatives told Martinez that they would continue his contract and discussed acquiring new equipment. A month later, UPMC’s chief operating officer and its executive director of the musculoskeletal division fired Martinez, explaining only that the hospital was “moving in a different direction and [Martinez’s] services were no longer needed.” They stated that his firing “had nothing to do with [his] performance.” Martinez was then 70 years old. After firing him, the hospital hired two doctors, including Hunter, who took over at least some of Martinez’s job functions. The hospital posted an opening for an orthopedic surgeon. Martinez applied three times but got no response. The hospital hired Jarvis.
Martinez sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, alleging that Hunter and Jarvis were “significantly younger,” “less qualified,” and “less experienced” than Martinez. The district court dismissed. The Third Circuit reversed. The hospital knows the younger doctors’ exact ages and specialties, and discovery will let Martinez uncover those and other details in time for summary judgment and trial.