Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

DIKCIS v. NALCO CHEM. CO.

August 6, 1997

Alan D. Dikcis, Plaintiff,
v.
Nalco Chemical Company, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is Defendant Nalco Chemical Company's Motion For Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the court grants Defendant's motion.

 I. Background *fn1"

 Defendant, Nalco Chemical Company ("Nalco"), hired Plaintiff, Alan D. Dikcis ("Dikcis"), for the position of Senior Cost Accountant in August 1994. His primary duties were to prepare warehouse reconciliation documents and monthly cost analysis reports. In order to perform his duties, Dikcis had to extract data from Nalco's main frame computer using a custom report writing program called FOCUS. Nalco sent Dikcis to a training class to learn how to use the FOCUS program. Dikcis received the same or similar FOCUS program training as other employees in his department.

 Before beginning his employment, Nalco required Dikcis to submit to a physical examination. As a part of his physical examination, Dikcis filled out medical forms requesting information about his medical history. Although Dikcis had allegedly experienced certain symptoms, including dizziness, and had received medical treatment for clinical depression since December 1993, Dikcis did not include these facts as part of his medical history on the form provided. Dikcis passed his physical examination, and began his job on September 2, 1994.

 Between December 2, 1994, and February 16, 1995, Dikcis received psychiatric treatment from Dr. Margaret Tormay ("Tormay"). Dikcis experienced symptoms of depression, including diminished concentration, dizziness, and head pressure. Tormay's differential diagnoses of Dikcis included psychosis and anxiety.

 Between May 27, 1995, and November 30, 1996, Dikcis received psychiatric treatment from Dr. Sudhir Gokhale ("Gokhale"). Gokhale diagnosed Dikcis with "major depression with psychosis." In September 1995, Dikcis told Gokhale that he was doing better, but that his symptoms (diminished concentration, dizziness, and head pressure) were still present.

 Despite Dikcis' mental condition, and resulting symptoms, Dikcis states that his mental condition did not effect his job performance, and that he was able to perform his job duties.

 Colleen Phillip ("Phillip"), a Senior Cost Accountant, trained Dikcis for three to four months. During the training period, Phillip does not remember anything remarkable about Dikcis' job performance. Phillip did note, however, that Dikcis had a tendency to walk away from her when she was talking with him; Phillip discussed this with Phil Marusarz ("Marusarz") approximately once every month.

 Marusarz, Manager of the Cost Accounting Department, and Dikcis' immediate supervisor, noted that Dikcis was not adequately performing his job. Thus, Marusarz criticized Dikcis for poor job performance and identified his deficiencies. Specifically, Marusarz discussed with Dikcis the following: (1) his failure to properly perform his monthly warehouse reconciliation duties; (2) his failure to change the date on a FOCUS program to extract the correct information from the main frame computer; (3) his failure to load certain financial data on a monthly, rather than quarterly, basis; and (4) his failure to prepare a report with the correct financial information for the Chief Financial Officer.

 In August 1995, Marusarz recommended to Robert Ratliff ("Ratliff"), Nalco's Controller and Marusarz's immediate supervisor, that Nalco terminate Dikcis' employment. Marusarz's recommendation was based on Dikcis' inadequate job performance, and his inability to take on any supervisory responsibilities in the future. After reviewing Dikcis' performance documents and several of the reports Dikcis prepared, Ratliff agreed with Marusarz and approved Dikcis' termination. Marusarz notified Dikcis that he was terminated on September 19, 1995.

 Dikcis never told anyone at Nalco that he was diagnosed with clinical depression or that he experienced any symptoms of any illness. Nevertheless, Dikcis alleges that Nalco knew or perceived him as "disabled" and terminated him in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"). See 42 U.S.C. ยงยง 12101-12117.

 Dikcis relies on several remarks of his colleagues. Dikcis alleges that Jim Perkins ("Perkins") told him in September 1994 that "his mannerisms were noticeably erratic and that he should slow down and calm down." (Plaintiff's Resp. at 27.) Dikcis further alleges that Marusarz told him in the middle of November 1994 that "his wheels were spinning off and that he should get medical help." Id. Finally, Dikcis alleges that Ratliff told him "he was depressed on the day after his discharge." Id.

 Additionally, Dikcis alleges that Nalco had a policy against employing "disabled" individuals. According to Dikcis, Perkins told him that "Nalco management did not want disabled people working there due to the cost." Id. at 32. Dikcis also alleges that Perkins stated that a Nalco employee cost Nalco close to $ 100,000 and remarked that Nalco was not a charity. (Dikcis' 12(N) Stmt. P 40.)

 Nalco moves for summary judgment and argues that Dikcis cannot show that he is a "qualified individual with a disability," as that phrase is defined by the ADA. In addition, Nalco argues that Dikcis cannot establish a prima facie case of disability discrimination or show that Nalco's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for terminating him were pretext for discrimination.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Summary Judgment

 Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); see also Salima v. Scherwood South, Inc., 38 F.3d 929, 931 (7th Cir. 1994). "One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims and defenses." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The summary judgment "standard is applied with added rigor in employment discrimination cases, where intent and credibility are crucial issues." Sarsha v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 3 F.3d 1035, 1038 (7th Cir. 1993).

 When considering all the evidence presented in a motion for summary judgment, a court cannot make credibility determinations nor can it choose between competing possible inferences. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The court views the record, and resolves all reasonable inferences drawn from the record, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Plair v. E.J. Brach & Sons, Inc., 105 F.3d 343, 346 (7th Cir. 1997). Accordingly, if the evidence presented by the parties is subject to conflicting interpretations, or if reasonable minds could differ as to its significance, summary judgment must not be granted. O'Connor v. Chicago Transit Auth., 985 F.2d 1362, 1366 (7th Cir. 1993).

 Yet, the standard does nothing to alter the burden of proof. "If the non-moving party bears the burden of proof on an issue, . . . that party may not rest on the pleadings and must instead show that there is a genuine issue of material fact." Sample v. Aldi, Inc., 61 F.3d 544, 547 (7th Cir. 1995). The non-moving party, therefore, will not survive summary judgment with merely a scintilla of evidence supporting its position. Essex v. United Parcel Serv. Inc., 111 F.3d 1304, 1997 WL 186475, at *3 (7th Cir. 1997). Instead, "the question is 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." Id.

 B. Disability Discrimination

 In proving a disability discrimination claim, Dikcis may either present direct evidence of discrimination or follow the burden-shifting method set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973). DeLuca v. Winer Indus., Inc., 53 F.3d 793, 797 (7th Cir. 1995). The Seventh Circuit defines direct evidence "as evidence which 'if believed by the trier of fact, will prove the particular fact in question without reliance upon inference or presumption.'" Plair, 105 F.3d at 347 (citation omitted). In an employment discrimination case, direct evidence "'must not only speak directly to the issue of discriminatory intent, it must also relate to the specific employment decision in question.'" ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.