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Kilgo v. Cingular Wireless

February 25, 2008

GRETA D. KILGO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CINGULAR WIRELESS, L.L.C., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is defendant Cingular Wireless, L.L.C.'s ("Defendant's") motion for this Court to reconsider its denial in part of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Court File No. 43). Defendant more fully briefed the issue it raised in a previous motion, and in furtherance of judicial economy this Court will reconsider Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Court File No. 29). Defendant in its Motion for Reconsideration demonstrates there is no genuine issue of material fact, and therefore this Court will GRANT Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff's sole remaining claim.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The facts in this matter are already outlined in this Court's previous memorandum in support of its order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Court File No. 41). This Court will merely recount the very few facts related to plaintiff Greta D. Kilgo's ("Plaintiff's") sole surviving claim.

Plaintiff alleges Defendant failed to offer reasonable accommodations as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C §§ 12101-12213 (Court File No. 1 at ¶ 3). Plaintiff has severe osteoarthritis in her hip and knee area (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 120). Plaintiff has difficulty sitting or standing for long periods of time (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-C at 7). Because of this impairment, Plaintiff made a series of four accommodation requests related to the location of her desk, its proximity to an entrance and bathroom, and her ability to take breaks more frequently.

First, on November 7, 2001 Plaintiff orally requested an accommodation in a meeting with Chris Page and Carla Gass; Carla Gass was Plaintiff's supervisor, the record does not state what Chris Page's job was (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 146). Mr. Page told Plaintiff Ms. Gass would assist her with getting an accommodation (id.). Eventually, Plaintiff was directed to Mr. Hawkins who told her, unless she had papers from a doctor, Defendant would not grant an accommodation (again, the record does not state what Mr. Hawkins's job was) (id. at 146-47.).

Second, Plaintiff presented papers that her gynecologist, Dr. Renee Hollins, filled out in March 2002. See id. at 147, 154; (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-C at 2-3). Cingular supplied what was, apparently, their standard form for a request for disability accommodation. Dr. Hollins indicated Plaintiff was significantly limited in her ability to perform a major life activity as compared to an average person in the general population (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-C at 2). However, Dr. Hollins also indicated that this disability did not "substantially" limit Plaintiff in a major life activity (id.). Because of this discrepancy, Defendant denied Plaintiff's request for an accommodation (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 154).

Third, Dr. Hollins sent a letter to Defendant dated April 22, 2002, to clarify her opinion (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 155-56). Dr. Hollins stated that Plaintiff was "significantly limited" in the performance of a major life activity, but Dr. Hollins did not consider this substantial because it had "nothing to do with [Plaintiff's] job description." (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 156). Dr. Hollins stated she did not understand what Defendant considered a substantial limitation(id.).

Fourth, Plaintiff obtained the opinion of Dr. Catherine Tanner (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-C at 6-8). Dr. Tanner, Plaintiff's primary physician, filled out Defendant's form unambiguously indicating Plaintiff had a substantially limiting disability (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 158-59). It is not wholly clear when Dr. Tanner rendered this opinion, but the record shows Defendant dispatched this form to Dr. Tanner on December 9, 2002 (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-C at 6). Dr. Tanner submitted a supplemental form in November 2003 when Plaintiff wanted to take more frequent breaks at work (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-D at 3-5).

After the submission of the fourth request, Defendant accommodated Plaintiff by placing Plaintiff's workstation next to an exit and a bathroom (Court File No. 29, Ex. 2-A at 24, 27). Defendant also accommodated Plaintiff through splitting her break time and permitting her to take more frequent breaks (Court File No. 35 at ¶ 38).

Plaintiff's sole remaining claim is an allegation Defendant wrongly denied her request for accommodation after receipt of the letter from Dr. Hollins. Defendant claims this allegation is time-barred. Defendant previously raised this issue in their memorandum in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment (Court File No. 30 at 11 n.7). This Court previously denied summary judgment on this issue because Defendant pointed to Plaintiff's testimony which referenced a form the date of which was unclear (Court File No. 41 at 9). Defendant in its Motion for Reconsideration directs the Court's attention to Plaintiff's admission she does not dispute she filed the document on January 11, 2004 (Court File No. 44 at 3).

II. ARGUMENTS OF THE PARTIES

A. Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration

Defendant filed a motion (Court File No. 43), which asked this Court to reconsider its decision denying Defendant's motion for summary judgment in regard to Plaintiff's sole remaining claim. Defendant argues Plaintiff's sole remaining claim is time-barred (Court File No. 44 at 1). Defendant argues the burden lies on Plaintiff to prove she filed the charge with the EEOC within 300 days after the claim accrued (id. at 3). Defendant further argues any confusion is not material, and while there are several dates stamped on ...


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