On March 25, Senger and Althoff met with Plaintiff. Senger told
Plaintiff that they had come to a "crossroads," and that he did
not like the memorandum she had written earlier that month. He
then gave her three options: write a memorandum of apology,
resign, or be terminated. Plaintiff wrote the memorandum. The
next day, Senger called Plaintiff into his office. Senger was
upset with her second memorandum, which stated that Senger made
her write it to avoid being fired. He told her to gather her
personal belongings and return her keys, and that he was firing
In his deposition, Senger admitted that he knew of no instance
since her return that month in which Plaintiff was late, had been
rude, or had not gotten along with co-workers. He also had no
indication that she had not been loyal to the Credit Union or had
a bad work attitude. Nevertheless, he issued no warning, nor did
he ask Althoff for his opinion before firing Plaintiff. He stated
that he did this because the second memorandum was
unsatisfactory, and because he and Plaintiff had a "personality
Althoff disagreed with Senger's decision to fire Plaintiff. He
recalled only two instances during his direct supervision of
Plaintiff in which he found problems with her work. The first
occurred in 1992, when Plaintiff was asked to reimburse the
Credit Union for personal telephone calls. The second occurred
sometime between 1989 and 1996, when Plaintiff was late for work
several times. He estimated, however, that she was late no more
than five times during that period. Althoff testified that he had
no problem with Plaintiff's work just before her leave of
absence. In addition, other employees had engaged in more serious
misconduct but were not fired.
At the time of her discharge, Plaintiff was taking Paxil, an
anti-depressant, Depakote to help her sleep, and Valium and
Trilafon for anxiety. She was also still seeing Dr. Patil. After
her discharge, Plaintiff again became suicidal, and could not
eat, sleep, or take care of herself. Although Dr. Patil suggested
that she again be hospitalized, Plaintiff declined. In November
of 1996, Dr. Patil took Plaintiff off Valium to prevent
addiction. She took Paxil until June of 1998, when she began
taking another anti-depressant, Zoloft. She continued to take
Zoloft until Dr. Patil prescribed Wellbutrin. Up until the time
of his deposition, Dr. Patil's diagnosis remained that Plaintiff
suffered from major depression and post-traumatic stress
disorder. Nevertheless, despite her afflictions, Plaintiff
started working for St. Mary's Hospital in fall of 1997, and Dr.
Patil placed no restrictions on her work there.
Summary judgment is granted "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue of
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
(1986). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court
must decide, based on the evidence of record, whether there is
any material dispute of fact that requires a trial. Waldridge v.
American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). In
reaching this decision, the court must consider the evidence in
the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct.
1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). The burden of establishing that no
genuine issue of material fact exists rests with the movant.
Jakubiec v. Cities Service Co., 844 F.2d 470, 473 (7th Cir.
1988). However, neither the mere existence of some factual
dispute between the parties nor the existence of some
metaphysical doubt as to the facts is sufficient to defeat a
motion for summary judgment. McCreary v. Libbey-Owens-Ford Co.,
132 F.3d 1159, 1164 (7th Cir. 1997).
When confronted with a motion for summary judgment, a party who
bears the burden of proof on a particular issue must
affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that
there is a genuine issue of material fact requiring a trial. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). As the Seventh Circuit has noted: "A
district court need not scour the record to make the case of a
party who does nothing . . . [C]ourts will not discover that the
movants slighted contrary information if opposing lawyers sit on
their haunches; judges may let the adversary system take its
course." Herman v. City of Chicago, 870 F.2d 400, 404 (7th Cir.
With these principles in mind, the court now turns to the
merits of the summary judgment motion. As an initial matter, the
court notes that Plaintiff agrees that her claim under the ADEA
should be dismissed. Accordingly, the court grants summary
judgment on that count. Thus, only Plaintiff's ADA and
retaliatory discharge claims remain.
I. Plaintiff's ADA claim
The ADA prohibits covered employers from discriminating against
qualified individuals with a disability. Sutton v. United
Airlines, Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 119 S.Ct. 2139, 144 L.Ed.2d 450
(1999). A "qualified individual with a disability" is defined as
"an individual with a disability 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) (West 1999).
To invoke the protection of the ADA, the plaintiff must show
that she suffers from a "disability" as that term is defined by
the ADA. Homeyer v. Stanley Tulchin Assocs., Inc., 91 F.3d 959,
961 (7th Cir. 1996). The ADA defines a "disability" as "(A) a
physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or
more of the major life activities of such individual; (B) a
record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having
such an impairment." 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2). Thus, to fall within
this definition, one must either (1) have an actual disability
(subsection (A)); (2) have a record of a disability (subsection
(B)); or (3) be regarded as having a disability (subsection (C)).
Sutton, ___ U.S. at ___, 119 S.Ct. at 2144.
To survive a motion for summary judgment on an ADA claim, a
plaintiff must come forward with evidence to show that she could
meet her ultimate burden of showing an ADA-recognized disability.
DePaoli v. Abbott Laboratories, 140 F.3d 668, 672 (7th Cir.
1998). Determining whether the plaintiff suffers from a
"disability" as defined by the ADA requires an individualized
inquiry made on a case-by-case basis. Sutton, ___ U.S. at ___,
119 S.Ct. at 2147; see also 29 C.F.R. Pt. 1630, App. §
1630.2(j) (stating that "[t]he determination of whether an
individual has a disability is not necessarily based on the name
or diagnosis of the impairment the person has, but rather on the
effect of that impairment on the life of the individual").
The Credit Union argues that Plaintiff cannot meet her burden
of proving that she is "disabled" as that term is defined by the
ADA. In response, Plaintiff argues that she is disabled because
she (1) falls within subsection (A) of the ADA's disability
definition because her depression qualifies as an actual
disability, or (2) falls within subsection (C) of the ADA's
disability definition because Defendant regarded her as having a
disability. The court examines each of these arguments in turn.
A. Whether Plaintiff falls within subsection (A) of the ADA's
The court must first determine whether Plaintiff has presented
evidence that would allow a reasonable jury to find that she
falls within the ADA's definition of disability in subsection
(A). In other words, she must show that she has a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits her in one or more
major life activities. Plaintiff argues that she has satisfied
this requirement by submitting
evidence that if she were not taking various anti-depressant
medications, her depression would substantially limit one or more
major life activity. The court must reject this argument in light
of the Supreme Court's recent decisions in Sutton v. United
Airlines, Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 119 S.Ct. 2139, ___ L.Ed.2d ___
(1999), and Murphy v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., ___ U.S. ___,
119 S.Ct. 2133, ___ L.Ed.2d ___ (1999).
Under these decisions, when determining whether an individual
is "substantially limited" in a major life activity and, thus,
"disabled" under the ADA, the court must consider the effects of
any corrective measures that the person is taking, including
medications. Sutton, ___ U.S. at ___, 119 S.Ct. at 2146;
Murphy, ___ U.S. at ___, 119 S.Ct. at 2137. The Court explained
that a "`disability' exists only where an impairment
`substantially limits' a major life activity, not where it
`might,' `could,' or `would' be substantially limiting if
mitigating measures were not taken." Sutton, ___ U.S. at ___ -
___, 119 S.Ct. at 2146-47.
In this case, it is undisputed that Plaintiff suffers from a
mental impairment that impacts her life. However, "`[m]any
impairments do not impact an individual's life to the degree that
they constitute disabling impairments.'" Hamm v. Runyon,
51 F.3d 721, 726 (7th Cir. 1995) (quoting 29 C.F.R. pt. 1630,
App., § 1630.2(j)). Moreover, in assessing Plaintiff's condition,
the court must consider how Plaintiff's anti-depressant
medications affected her. To support her claim that she is
substantially limited, Plaintiff asserts that she must be
medicated to function. She does not, however, dispute evidence
that so long as she takes these drugs, she is capable of working
and is not substantially limited in any major life activities. In
fact, Plaintiff admits that the drugs she took "allowed her to
function," and that she has been working since the fall of 1997
without any restrictions from her doctor.
Accordingly, in light of the Court's decisions in Sutton and
Murphy, the court rejects Plaintiff's argument that she has an
actual disability. See also Matthews v. Commonwealth Edison
Co., 128 F.3d 1194, 1197-98 (7th Cir. 1997) (doubting that
plaintiff was disabled under the ADA because he had recovered
fully and was working full-time for another employer in a job
similar to the one held at the defendant's business);
Korzeniowski v. ABF Freight Sys., Inc., 38 F. Supp.2d 688, 693
(N.D.Ill. 1999) (rejecting plaintiff's claim that he was actually
disabled under the ADA, stating that "[i]t would indeed be a
bizarre notion of disability under which [the plaintiff] could
claim statutory incapacity even while he is holding and
performing an essentially equivalent job"). Defendant is
therefore entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's ADA claim
to the extent that it is based on her assertion that she has an
actual disability under 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2)(A).
B. Whether Plaintiff falls within subsection (C) of the ADA's
As an alternative theory of liability, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant discriminated against her in violation of section
12102(2)(C) of the ADA when it regarded her as disabled. A person
is "regarded as" disabled within the meaning of the ADA if an
employer mistakenly believes "either that one has a substantially
limiting impairment that one does not have or that one has a
substantially limiting impairment when, in fact, the impairment
is not so limiting." Sutton, ___ U.S. at ___, 119 S.Ct. at
2150. Under this theory, Plaintiff must do more than show that
Defendant simply knew of her impairment, or even that her
impairment prompted her termination. As the Seventh Circuit has