The opinion of the court was delivered by: St. Eve, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
On November 26, 1999, Plaintiff Joy Ann Stevens filed this suit against
Defendant Navistar International Transportation Corporation ("Navistar")
claiming that Navistar violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of
1990 by failing to accommodate her repetitive motion disorder. After
conducting discovery, Navistar filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (R.
25-1.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted.
Material handlers at the West Chicago PDC work on the "packline," which
involves picking parts from the warehouse to fill orders and then packing
the orders for shipping. (Id. ¶ 6.) The process of picking requires
an employee to drive a Taylor Dunn vehicle to a location, pick the
parts, attach the picking tickets to the part, and put the parts in a
large box. (Id. ¶ 7.) The material handlers fill orders according to
a ticket which contains a list of the parts required for the order and
the weight of each part. (Id. ¶ 11.) The packline contains
approximately 40,000 different parts. (Id. ¶ 9.) Approximately 96.4%
of these parts weigh less than 15 pounds, and only 35 parts weigh more
than 40 pounds. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 10.)
In 1978, Navistar initially hired Stevens as a material handler. (R.
25-3, 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 16.) In the Spring of 1994, Stevens began having
problems with her right hand and arm, and she was subsequently diagnosed
with repetitive motion disorder. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.) As Stevens
acknowledges, she has "always been one of the lower producers" as a
material handler. (Id. ¶ 16.) Because of her repetitive motion
disorder, Stevens collected disability and did not work during the
majority of 1995 and 1996. (Id. ¶ 21.)
On November 6, 1996, however, Navistar ordered Stevens to return to
work based on a conclusion by a physician (Dr. Tulipan) that Stevens
could work under a weight restriction. (Id. ¶¶ 26, 27.) Stevens then
returned to work, but refused to drive the Taylor Dunn based on her
disorder. (Id. ¶ 28.) Navistar subsequently terminated Stevens for
refusing to drive the Taylor Dunn, an essential part of her position.
(Id. ¶ 29.)
After her termination, Stevens filed a grievance with her Union and the
dispute went to arbitration. (R. 25-3, 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 30, 31.) On
October 30, 1997, the arbitrator determined that Navistar did not have
just cause to terminate Stevens because it should not have relied on Dr.
Tulipan's report concerning the extent and duration of Stevens'
disorder. (Id. ¶ 31.) The arbitrator ordered Navistar to have Stevens
evaluated by a "qualified specialist jointly selected" by Navistar and
Stevens "to determine her ability to perform the major and essential
tasks of the material handler classification." (Id. ¶ 32.) Stevens'
physician and Navistar jointly selected Dr. Chang to examine Stevens in
accordance with the arbitrator's order. (Id. ¶ 39.) In addition, an
arbitrator ordered Navistar to pay Stevens disability for the period that
she was terminated and to reimburse her for the COBRA payments she made
during that period. (Id. ¶ 35.) Accordingly. Navistar paid Stevens
$82,314.86. (Id. ¶ 36.)
C. Stevens' Physical Limitations