United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Haddad has multiple sclerosis. In 2007, she began work as a
phone auditor for 21st Mortgage Corporation. She was made a
loan processor in 2010. In July 2011, Haddad's doctor
faxed a letter to Haddad's supervisor, Michael Howard.
The letter explained that, because of Haddad's MS, she
would sometimes have to miss work and “may need some
consideration from time to time.” When Haddad followed
up with Howard, she asked that she be able to work extra
hours and deal with only one client. Howard said that would
October 2011, Haddad received her first performance review as
a loan processor; it rated her a top performer. But she soon
started having problems. When 21st Mortgage changed its
performance-review process to include peer review,
Haddad's 2012 review was much worse. She also struggled
to complete her work and build client relationships. So in
March 2013, Howard and Haddad's assistant manager met
with Haddad and gave her a written warning. Haddad disagreed
with their take on the situation and asked to meet with the
human-resources director, Wayne Williams.
sat down with Haddad the next day. He suggested that she
struggled to build client relationships because she was bad
at small talk. Haddad responded that she suffered from
“tip of the tongue” syndrome, a side effect of
MS. Although Haddad was apparently requesting an
accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act,
Williams replied by giving Haddad pa- perwork for taking
leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He did so
because 21st Mortgage also uses the FMLA forms for ADA
requests. Williams followed up with Haddad, but Haddad never
completed the forms.
work struggles continued. On April 30, 2013, Haddad left work
early. 21st Mortgage fired her the next day. The reasons were
her leaving early and her poor work performance.
suit followed on June 29, 2015. Haddad alleges that 21st
Mortgage violated the ADA, the Tennessee Disability Act, and
the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Now before the Court is 21st
Mortgage's motion for summary judgment. For the following
reasons, this motion is granted in part and denied in part.
judgment is proper only if there is no genuine dispute on any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute is genuine if a
reasonable jury could find for the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
A fact is material if it “might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law.” Id.;
Stiles ex rel. D.S. v. Grainger Cty., 819 F.3d 834,
847 (6th Cir. 2016).
moving party bears the initial burden of showing that there
is no genuine issue of material fact on any element of the
other party's claim or defense. Stiles, 819 F.3d
at 847. In determining whether this burden is satisfied, the
Court views all evidence in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party and draws all inferences in her favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. If the movant satisfies
this burden, then the nomoving party must identify facts in
the record that raise a genuine issue of material fact on
each challenged element of her claim or defense.
Stiles, 819 F.3d at 847. If this is not done,
summary judgment is granted. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The Court does not
weigh evidence, judge witnesses' credibility, or decide
the truth of the matter. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
alleges that 21st Mortgage fired her because she is disabled,
in violation of the ADA, the Tennessee Disability Act, and
the Tennessee Human Rights Act. Her state-law claims,
however, are barred by the statute of limitations. Haddad had
to file suit within one year of when she was fired. Tenn.
Code Ann. §§ 8-50-103(c)(2), 4-21-311(d). Haddad
was fired on May 1, 2013. She filed this suit in June 2015.
On the Court's own motion, her state claims are
dismissed. See, e.g., Alston v. Tenn. Dep't
of Corr., 28 F. App'x 475, 476 (6th Cir. 2002).
leaves the ADA claims. A plaintiff may prove her ADA claims
through direct or indirect evidence. Haddad offers only
indirect evidence. Her claims are therefore governed by the
three-step McDonnell Douglas test. Talley v.
Family Dollar Stores of Ohio, 542 F.3d 1099, 1105 (6th
first step falls on Haddad. Id. She must make a
prima facie showing of all the elements of her claims.
Id. 21st Mortgage contends that Haddad cannot meet
this task. But if she does, then the Court proceeds to the
second step. Id. The burden shifts to 21st Mortgage
to show that it had a legitimate reason for firing Haddad.
Id. Finally, if it meets this demand, then the
burden shifts back to Haddad to show that this reason is
pretextual. Id. 21st Mortgage has offered reasons
for firing Haddad. It argues that these reasons are
legitimate and that Haddad cannot show them to be
Haddad has brought three claims against 21st Mortgage, 21st
Mortgage offers the same reasons for firing her, and Haddad
levels one set of arguments against these reasons. The first
issue, then, is whether Haddad has made a prima facie showing
on her claims.
first alleges disability discrimination. To make out a prima
facie case, she must show that
• she is disabled;
• she was otherwise qualified for her job with 21st
• 21st Mortgage took an adverse employment action
• 21st Mortgage knew or had reason to know of her
• she was replaced, or her position stayed open while
21st Mortgage looked ...