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Perry v. American Red Cross Blood Services

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

March 26, 2015

BARBARA PERRY,
v.
AMERICAN RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICES

MEMORANDUM

TODD J. CAMPBELL, District Judge.

Pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 35). For the reasons stated herein, Defendant's Motion is GRANTED.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff filed this employment discrimination action against her former employer, Defendant American Red Cross Blood Services, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") and the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA").

Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts that she is a "qualified individual with a disability" under the ADA, that Defendant failed to make reasonable accommodations for her disability, and that Defendant fired her because of her disability.[1] Plaintiff's Amended Complaint also alleges violations of the Family Medical Leave Act. Docket No. 9.

Plaintiff's arguments conflate the ADA and the FMLA as if the standards were the same, which they are not. For example, Count Two of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges simply that "the intentional acts and omissions as described herein by the Defendant constitute violations of the Family Medical Leave Act, " as if the allegations regarding the FMLA are the same as those regarding the ADA. Docket No. 9. In her deposition, Plaintiff stated that the facts which prove she was discriminated against because of her disability are "Because I was approved for the FMLA and I was fired a month after that." Docket No. 36-11, p. 17 (Plaintiff's Dep., p. 105).

The FMLA does not deal with disability discrimination. A "serious health condition" under the FMLA is not the same as a "disability" for purposes of the ADA. The ADA, not the FMLA, requires an employer to accommodate an employee's "disability" under appropriate circumstances. The FMLA, not the ADA, requires an employer to allow an employee leave of up to 12 weeks for a "serious health condition." The two Acts are not the same.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Pennington v. State Farm Mut. Automobile Ins. Co., 553 F.3d 447, 450 (6th Cir. 2009). The party bringing the summary judgment motion has the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motion and identifying portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute over material facts. Rodgers v. Banks, 344 F.3d 587, 595 (6th Cir. 2003). The moving party may satisfy this burden by presenting affirmative evidence that negates an element of the non-moving party's claim or by demonstrating an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Id .

In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must review all the evidence, facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Van Gorder v. Grand Trunk Western Railroad, Inc., 509 F.3d 265, 268 (6th Cir. 2007). The Court does not, however, weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court determines whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question. Id. The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmoving party's position will be insufficient to survive summary judgment; rather, there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party. Rodgers, 344 F.3d at 595.

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

The ADA prohibits employment discrimination "against a qualified individual with a disability." 42 U.S.C. ยง 12112(a). In order to establish a violation of the ADA, a person must establish that: (1) she has a disability, as defined in the ADA; (2) she is qualified to perform the essential functions of her position, with or without reasonable accommodation; and (3) she suffered an adverse employment action because of her disability. Demyanovich Cadon Plating & Coatings, LLC, 747 F.3d 419, 433 (6th Cir. 2014).[2]

The ADA bars discrimination "because of" an employee's disability, meaning that it prohibits discrimination that is a "but-for" cause of the adverse employment action. Lewis v. Humboldt Acquisition Corp., Inc., 681 F.3d 312, 314 (6th Cir. 2012); Molina-Parrales v. Shared Hospital Servs. Corp., 992 F.Supp.2d 841, 855 (M.D. Tenn. 2014).

Thus, in order to proceed with her claims under the ADA, Plaintiff must meet the threshold burden of showing that she is a "disabled" individual within the meaning of the ADA. If Plaintiff has no "disability, " then Defendant cannot be ...


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