United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
WILLIAM L. CAMPBELL, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 42), Plaintiff's Response (Doc. No.
47), and Defendant's Reply (Doc. No. 52). For the reasons
set forth below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. No. 42) is GRANTED, and this action is
Factual and Procedural Background
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission brings this action
alleging Defendant West Meade Place LLP d/b/a The Health Care
Center at West Meade Place (“WMP”) violated the
Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
12101, et seq. (“ADA”) by failing to
provide a reasonable accommodation to Carma Kean, a former
employee of WMP, and by discharging her because of her
disability. (Doc. No. 1). More specifically, Plaintiff
alleges Ms. Kean, who worked as a laundry technician at WMP
from February 2015 to November 2015, was terminated from her
employment after requesting a reasonable accommodation for
her anxiety disorder. (Id.)
The Standards Governing Motions for Summary
judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Supreme Court has construed Rule 56
to “mandate the entry of summary judgment, after
adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party
who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case,
and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at
trial.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).
considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
See, e.g., Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Shreve v. Franklin County, Ohio,
743 F.3d 126, 132 (6th Cir. 2014). The court does not,
however, make credibility determinations, weigh the evidence,
or determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
order to defeat the motion, the nonmoving party must provide
evidence, beyond the pleadings, upon which a reasonable jury
could return a verdict in its favor. Celotex Corp.,
477 U.S. at 324; Shreve, 743 F.3d at 132.
Ultimately, the court is to determine “whether the
evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
ADA Discrimination/Failure to Accommodate
claims WMP violated the ADA by discharging Ms. Kean because
of her disability. The ADA prohibits discrimination against
“a qualified individual on the basis of
disability” with regard to hiring, compensation,
discharge, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of
employment. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). A “qualified
individual” is “an individual who, with or
without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential
functions of the employment position that such individual
holds or desires.” 42 U.S.C. § 12111(8). In order
to establish a prima facie case of discrimination
under the ADA, a plaintiff must show: (1) she is disabled;
(2) she is otherwise qualified to perform the essential
functions of a position, with or without accommodation; and
(3) she suffered an adverse employment action because of her
disability. Demyanovich v. Cadon Plating & Coatings,
L.L.C., 747 F.3d 419, 433 (6th Cir. 2014); Perry v.
American Red Cross Blood Services, 651 Fed.Appx. 317
(6th Cir. 2016).
also claims WMP violated the ADA by failing to accommodate
Ms. Kean's disability. To establish a prima
facie failure-to-accommodate claim, a plaintiff must
show: (1) she is disabled under the ADA; (2) she is otherwise
qualified for the position, with or without a reasonable
accommodation; (3) her employer knew or had reason to know of
her disability; (4) she requested a reasonable accommodation;
and (5) the employer failed to provide the reasonable
accommodation. Cotuna v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2017
WL 5171247, at *2 (6th Cir. 2017). The employee bears the
burden of requesting a reasonable accommodation. Aldini
v. Kroger Co. of Michigan, 628 Fed.Appx. 347, 350 (6th
argues Ms. Kean is not disabled, and therefore, Plaintiff
cannot establish the first element under either claim. Under
the ADA, a "disability" is defined in three ways:
(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits
one or more of the major life activities of an individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as
having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(1). For
purposes of this definition, "major life
activities" “include, but are not limited to,
caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing,
eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending,
speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating,
thinking, communicating, and working. 42 U.S.C. §
12102(2). The definition of “disability”
is to be construed in accordance with the following:
“(A) The definition of disability in this chapter shall
be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals under
this chapter, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of
this chapter; (B) The term ‘substantially limits'
shall be interpreted consistently with the findings and
purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008; (C) An impairment
that substantially limits one major life activity need not
limit other major life activities in order to be considered a
disability; and (D) An impairment that is episodic or in
remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a
major life activity when active.” 42 U.S.C. §
support the claim that Ms. Kean meets the first definition in
Section 12102(1), Plaintiff relies on the testimony of Dr.
Aisha Hashmat. According to Plaintiff, Dr. Hashmat opined
that Ms. Kean “could not work during flare-ups of her
anxiety and therefore could potentially be unable to work for
one to three days per month.” (Doc. No. 47, at 7). This
is, indeed, what Dr. Hashmat stated in a form Ms. Kean
provided to her employer. When asked about that form during
her deposition, Dr. Hashmat testified as follows:
Q. All right. Okay. Well, Dr. Hashmat, why did you -
let's see - why did you sign this FMLA [Family Medical
Leave Act] form for Ms. Kean?
A. Because she wanted me to sign it.
Q. Okay. Well - but did you make an assessment for Ms. Kean
in order to sign this form? . . .
A. I don't know. I can't answer it.
Q. All right. Now - well, Dr. Hashmat, let's - let's
maybe look at the form itself. Okay.
Dr. Hashmat, looking at - looking at the second page of the
form, it says there under the paragraph number 4,
‘Patient is not able to work during
Was that your opinion at the time when you - when you signed
A. The patient asked me that (sic) whenever she has a
flare-up of anxiety attacks, she wants this time off. I'm
Q. I mean, did you -
A. Because I can't argue with my patients.
A. I mean, can I say ‘no' to her or my patients?
Q. Well, I guess - I mean, Dr. Hashmat -
A. If she is wanting that time off, I have to give it to her.
Q. Okay. But Dr. Hashmat, I mean -
A. That interferes with her job then.
A. So I have to give it to her.
of Dr. Aisha Hashmat, at 29-31 (Doc. No. 54-1, at 29-30)).
Hashmat further testified about how she reached her diagnosis
of Ms. Kean, who became her patient in April 2014:
Q. . . . Now, during your treatment of Ms. Kean, did you ever
diagnose her with any mental health issue?
A. She was already diagnosed when I saw her.
Q. Okay. And what was your diagnosis at that time?
Q. Okay. And can you explain that diagnosis for the record?
A. Nervousness. . . .
Q. Okay. Well, Dr. Hashmat, you have seen - you have seen
Carma Kean as a patient, is that correct?
Q. All right. And she had a prior diagnosis of anxiety, is
Q. What was your own diagnosis of Ms. Kean with - as far as
any mental ...