The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, U.S. District Judge:
The Sangamon County Sheriff's Department-and the sheriff-are entitled
to summary judgment.
Arthur Stone began working at the Sheriff's Department of Sangamon
County, Illinois in 1974. In 1977, Stone was allegedly injured in a car
accident while on duty. The Court uses the term allegedly because there
is no evidence of Stone's injury other than what he asserts in his
deposition and affidavit. In any case, this began what Stone claims was
more than a decade of back and leg pain.
Stone's alleged injuries did not impede his advancement within the
Sheriff's Department. He rose to the civil service rank of sergeant and
the staff position of undersheriff before leaving the Sheriff's
Department. In March 1985, Stone took a leave of absence in order to
obtain employment with the Fraternal Order of Police (the "FOP"). The
Sheriff's Department extended Stone's leave of absence on numerous
In 1989, then-Sheriff J. William DeMarco changed Stone's leave of
absence to a medical leave of absence. Who initiated this change is not
clear from the pleadings, but it is undisputed that Stone was physically
able to perform any job in the Sheriff's Department in July 1990. In
fact, Stone's doctor, Dr. William Schroeder, wrote a letter to DeMarco
which authorized Stone to return work.
Sometime around July, DeMarco advised Stone that a position as a
supervisor of Cap Com-Sangamon County's 911 system-had become available.
On July 18, 1990, DeMarco assigned Stone to the position and requested
that he report to work on August 15, 1990. Stone requested that he be
given until October 1, 1990, to report to work and DeMarco allowed the
request. Despite his request, Stone never reported to Cap Com 911.
Instead, he wrote a letter to DeMarco on September 12 stating that he
would be retiring as undersheriff. The letter Stone signed did not
indicate any medical condition which might prevent him from working at
Cap Com 911 or in any other capacity at the Sheriff's Department.
Throughout Stone's entire tenure at the Sheriff's Department he owned a
construction company, A.L. Stone. Stone built homes during the late
1970's and early 1980's. Until at least 1995, he laid out walls,
installed windows, plumbed, wired, drywalled, roofed, etc. One of the
persons for whom Stone roofed, Barry Brown, states that Stone did not
In 1995, Stone left his position at the FOP amid allegations that he
misappropriated funds. In an effort to secure pension benefits, Stone
contacted DeMarco's successor, Sheriff Neil Williamson, and asked to be
reinstated to his former position with the Sheriff's Department.
Sheriff Williamson asserts that he told Stone that since he resigned in
1990, he would have to pass the department's Merit test before he could
be considered for re-employment. Stone admits that it was possible that
Sheriff Williamson told him this, but he cannot remember being informed
of the Merit test requirement. Taking the Merit test, according to
Sheriff Williamson, has always been an absolute prerequisite to
employment at the department during his tenure as sheriff.
Following his meetings with Stone, Sheriff Williamson met with the
department's staff to discuss the issue of Stone's alleged financial
improprieties and his possible return to work. Sheriff Williamson also
claims he suggested to Stone that he file a formal application and comply
with the Sheriff's Merit Commission's Eligibility Procedures if he wished
to rejoin the department. Stone denies that the Sheriff ever suggested
this. However, a letter from Stone's attorney dated March 25, 1996,
stated that he gathered from a conversation with Sheriff Williamson that
the Sheriff required Stone to satisfy the Merit Commission's procedures
in order to gain re-employment. In any case, Stone never took the merit
Stone claims that his back injury was a disability under the Americans
with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") and that the Sheriff's Department
violated the ADA when it required him to take the Merit test, but did not
impose the same requirement on non-disabled officers who sought
re-employment. The Sheriff's Department contends that Stone has not
established that he is covered by the ADA because he has not shown that
he is disabled.
(The Sheriff's Department also argues that Stone's ADA claim must fail
since he did not take the Merit test and, thus, cannot show that he
complied with the Sheriff Department's application process. For the
reasons that ...