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Weigel v. Stores

August 26, 1997

SHIRLEY WEIGEL, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

TARGET STORES, A DIVISION OF DAYTON HUDSON CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. No. 96 C 140 John C. Shabaz, Chief Judge.

Before CUMMINGS, KANNE, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

CUMMINGS, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED MAY 29, 1997

DECIDED AUGUST 26, 1997

Shirley Weigel contends that Target Stores denied her benefits and terminated her employment because of her depression disability, allegedly in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. sec. 12101 et seq. *fn1 Ruling on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Target. Weigel appeals and we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Weigel was hired by Target in 1989 and worked as a cashier supervisor. On August 30, 1993, she was hospitalized for major depression for approximately 2« weeks, and was directed by her treating physician to remain off work. Target maintained a leave of absence policy under the terms of which Weigel was entitled to paid medical leave for up to 150 days. She went on a paid medical leave pursuant to Target's paid leave policy from September 3, 1993, through February 6, 1994. During that time, she periodically submitted disability claim forms to Target in which she represented that she was "wholly unable to work." The claim forms were accompanied by Attending Physician's Statements in which Weigel's psychiatrist, Dr. Minnihan, represented that she was "totally disabled" for her job and "any other work."

On January 3, 1994, Store Team Leader Tim D'Amato wrote to Weigel and informed her that her short term disability would end February 6, 1994. He further informed her that at the end of her short term disability leave period, she had the following options:

* Returning to work in an equivalent position

* Taking an unpaid medical leave of absence

* Resigning from your position with Target Plaintiff's App. 26.

Weigel admits that she never called D'Amato to discuss her options at the end of her paid leave. However, on February 4, 1994, Weigel submitted a disability form to Target with the accompanying physician's statement indicating that she would be able to return to work February 14, 1994, on a trial basis.

Her return to work was short-lived. After returning to work on February 14, Weigel experienced memory loss and found it difficult to perform her job. By February 25, 1994, she found that she was unable to work. She consulted with her treating physician, Dr. Minnihan, who gave her a note recommending that she take a medical leave from work "until further notice." Weigel delivered the note to Target that same day. Later that day, D'Amato issued a letter to Weigel terminating her employment with Target. In pertinent part, the letter states:

This letter is in response to your request for leave of absence dated February 25, 1994. According to Target policy, you must be available to work 14 consecutive days upon return from short term disability to receive extended benefits. Upon review of this policy, I regret to inform ...


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