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SCHMIDT v. LESTER'S MATERIAL SERVICE

May 5, 2003

STEVEN SCHMIDT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LESTER'S MATERIAL SERVICE, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION AND CENTRAL LEASING MANAGEMENT INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Paul E. Plunkett, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Steven Schmidt ("Schmidt") has sued Lester's Material Service, Inc. ("Lester's") and Central Leasing Management, Inc. ("Central Leasing") (collectively, "Defendants") for various violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12102, et seq. ("ADA") and state common law. Defendants have filed a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) motion for summary judgment on these claims. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

Facts

The following facts are derived exclusively from Defendants' Local Rule ("LR") 56.1(a) Statement of Material Facts, which is deemed admitted in its entirety pursuant to LR 56.1(b)(3)(B).*fn1 Central Leasing is a professional employment organization which had a written contractual arrangement with Lester's. (Def.'s LR 56.1(a) Stmt. ¶ A4.) Schmidt starting working with Central Leasing, at Lester's facility, as a truck driver on March 29, 2000. (Id. ¶ Cl.) As a truck driver, Schmidt hauled earthen material to and from various jobsites. (Id. ¶ C2.)

On June 6, 2000, Schmidt was injured while working at a a jobsite in Antioch, Illinois. (Id. ¶ C4.) He was referred to Dr. David Zoellick ("Zoellick"), a board certified orthopedic surgeon, for treatment of his injury. (Id. ¶¶ C5, C6.) Zoellick found that Schmidt suffered from an anterior cruciate ligament ("ACL") injury to his knee, tendinitis in his left shoulder rotator cuff and a mild lumbar back strain. (Id. ¶ C7.) An ACL injury does not prevent one from performing everyday activities, such as working, walking and shopping. (Id. ¶ C8.) Even with these injuries, at the time Zoellick examined Schmidt, Schmidt had full range of motion in his left shoulder. (Id. ¶ C7.)

Zoellick successfully performed surgery on Schmidt's knee on July 12, 2000 and on September 26, 2000, Zoellick found that Schmidt was able to perform office work. (Id. ¶¶ C9, C10.) Zoellick successfully performed surgery on Schmidt's left shoulder on December 6, 2000. (Id. ¶ C11.) During the surgery, Zoellick removed a cyst, but found no tears either to Schmidt's left shoulder rotator cuff or to the tendons. (Id.) On January 16, 2001, Zoellick found that Schmidt's left shoulder function was intact and Schmidt could return to work if he performed a sedentary job. (Id. ¶ C12.)

Schmidt returned to Zoellick on February 13, 2001 for a follow-up visit. (Id. ¶ C13.) Zoellick found that Schmidt had fully recovered from his ACL injury. (Id.) Zoellick also found that Schmidt had nearly full range of motion in his left shoulder, that the shoulder was stable and that its strength continued to improve. (Id.) According to Zoellick, Schmidt was able to participate in any sporting activity involving walking, running and jumping, and that Schmidt could adequately take care of himself and perform manual tasks. (Id. ¶ C14.) Zoellick released Schmidt to light duty work, with the restriction that Schmidt not lift more than 20 pounds with his left arm. (Id. ¶ C15.) Schmidt was not restricted from lifting in general, and could return to work as a truck driver, provided the lifting restriction was respected. (Id. ¶ C16.) Schmidt's next scheduled appointment with Zoellick was March 13, 2001. (Id. ¶ C21.) Zoellick advised Schmidt to return earlier if Schmidt experienced any problems. (Id.)

Schmidt was notified by Central Leasing to report to work at Lester's on February 27, 2001. (Id. ¶ C17.) Schmidt drove to work on that date in his personal truck. (Id. ¶ C18.) He was fired on March 5, 2001. (Id. ¶ C19.)

Schmidt did not return to Zoellick prior to the March 13, 2001 appointment. (Id. ¶ C21.) On March 13, Zoellick found that Schmidt had fully recovered from his ACL injury and his left shoulder surgery. (Id. ¶ C22.) Zoellick could not find any objective reason for Schmidt's back discomfort. (Id.) Zoellick found that Schmidt could return to his regular duties as a truck driver. (Id. ¶ C23.) Zoellick considered his treatment of Schmidt concluded, and at no time during the course of his treatment of Schmidt did Zoellick advise Schmidt to seek a new line of employment. (Id. ¶¶ C25, C27.)

On May 2, 2001, Schmidt was discharged by a Dr. Martin Landoff for any further medical treatment. (Id. ¶ C28.) Schmidt has not received any treatment for his left knee, left shoulder or lower back since May 2001. (Id. ¶ C26.)

In October 2001, Schmidt obtained employment as a truck driver with Forstar Landscaping ("Forstar"). (Id. ¶ C29.) He drives a semi-tractor trailer with a manual transmission and is the only truck driver at Forstar. (Id. ¶¶ C29, C30.) Schmidt works a considerable amount of overtime at Forstar and has not missed a single day of work because of injury to his back, knee or shoulder, or because of any other physical condition. (Id. ¶¶ C29, C31.) Since October 2001, Schmidt has lived in an apartment where he cooks, cleans and performs housework. (Id. ¶ C32.) He has no difficulty speaking, hearing or thinking in any manner. (Id. ¶¶ C33, C34.) He walks without a cane, and has 20/20 vision with the use of eyeglasses. (Id. ¶ C34.)

The Legal Standard

To prevail on a summary judgment motion, "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, [must] 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). At this stage, we do not weigh evidence or determine the truth of the matters asserted. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). We view all evidence and draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Illinois, Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. 2000). To avoid summary judgment, Schmidt must set forth specific facts that demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. Pugh v. City of Attica, 25 ...


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