Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

KING v. CITY OF CHICAGO

February 2, 2004.

William King, Plaintiff
v.
City of Chicago, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MICHAEL MASON, Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On April 11, 2002, plaintiff William King ("King") filed a two-count complaint against defendant City of Chicago ("City") alleging that the City violated the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et. seg. King alleged that the City violated the ADA in Count I by denying him reemployment with the Chicago Fire Department ("CFD") and not providing reasonable accommodations for his injuries, and in Count II because the Retirement Board of the Fireman's Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago ("Board") refused to reinstate King's suspended duty disability benefits ("Benefits"). On September 18, 2002, we dismissed Count II against the City because it was not the proper party. The Board, not the City, retained exclusive jurisdiction over awarding duty disability benefits and thus King could not obtain the relief he was seeking in Count II from the City.

On November 26, 2002, King filed a two-count First Amended Complaint substituting the Board for the City as the named defendant in Count II and leaving Count I unchanged. On November 3, 2003, we dismissed Count II for a second time Page 2 because the Board was exempt from the claims alleged in Count II. The only remaining claim in this case is Count I, in which King alleges that the City discriminated against him in violation of the ADA. We now address the City's motion for summary judgment on Count I. The City argues that it is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law because (1) King's claim is barred by the doctrine of res judicata; (2) King cannot establish a violation of the ADA; and (3) King cannot establish that he was denied reasonable accommodations even if he were found to be an otherwise qualified individual with a disability. In this opinion, we will also address the City's motion to strike the plaintiff's response to its 56.1 statement of undisputed material facts. For the following reasons, we grant the City's motion for summary judgment and deny its motion to strike as moot.

 Factual Background

  The following facts are taken from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 statements and are uncontested, The City hired King as a fire paramedic in 1980, and he worked in that capacity until 1996. During his employment, King suffered injuries that exacerbated a previous back condition. Specifically, King has three disc hernias. On May 31, 1995, King injured his back on a call and the Board provided him with Benefits beginning on July 24, 1996. He received these Benefits from 1996 until 2001. On May 16, 2001, the Board issued a decision rescinding King's Benefits on the ground that he was no longer disabled within the meaning of 40 ILCS 5/6-153. On May 17, 2001, the rescission of King's Benefits became effective and he sent a letter to Charles Stewart ("Stewart"), the Director of Personal for the CFD, requesting reemployment with the CFD. On June 5 and 11, 2001, King underwent fitness-for-duty testing which included a medical Page 3 examination and functional capacity evaluation. On June 18, 2001, Stewart and Dr. Hugh Russell, the CFD Medical Director, determined that plaintiff was unfit for reinstatement to duties as a paramedic in charge ("PIC") with the CFD,

  On June 26, 2001, King filed a two-count complaint in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Case Number 01 CH 10462 ("State Case"), which was assigned to Judge Madden. Count I was an Administrative Review Action against the Board and Count II was a mandamus action against the City and the Board pursuant to 735 ILCS 5/14-101 et. seg. In Count II, King petitioned the court to issue a writ of mandamus (1) ordering the City to reinstate him to active duty as a PIG with the CFD, or (2) ordering the Board to return him to its disability pension rolls because of his claimed disability.

  After King filed his State Case, Stewart notified King in a letter dated July 20, 2001, that based on the results of his medical evaluation, his request for reinstatement to a PIC position with the CFD could not be granted, In light of the City's decision not to reinstate King to a PIC position, on August 23, 2001, Judge Madden remanded the case to the Board for reconsideration of its decision to terminate King's Benefits.

  While the Board was reconsidering its decision to terminate King's Benefits pursuant to the state court remand order, King filed a charge with the EEOC on January 24, 2002, In that charge, King claimed that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his disability, in violation of the ADA, King listed July 20, 2001 as the earliest date of discrimination, but stated that he had been denied Benefits since May, 2001. On February 4, 2002, the EEOC issued King a right to sue letter based on his January 24, 2001 charge. Page 4

  Shortly thereafter, pursuant to the remand order, the Board reconsidered all of the relevant evidence in King's record, including the CFD's July 20, 2001 letter, and again found that he was not entitled to receive disability benefits pursuant to 40 ILCS 5/6-101. The Board informed King of its decision in a February 19, 2002 letter. In light of that decision, the parties returned to state court to continue litigating King's State Case. At some point in the litigation, the State Case was transferred to Judge Quinn.*fn1 On November 21, 2002, Judge Quinn issued an order (1) denying King's request for a writ of mandamus against both the City and the Board, (2) reversing the Board's decision to terminate King's benefits, and (3) retroactively reinstating his disability benefits. This decision was not appealed, and thus became a final judgment.

  On April 11, 2002, after receiving the EEOC right to sue letter, but before a final judgment had been rendered in state court, King filed the instant suit alleging a violation of the A DA.

 Legal Analysis

  Summary judgment is appropriate when the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, 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). We must evaluate the admissible evidence supporting the motion in the tight most favorable to the nonmoving party. Page 5 Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986). While the City bears the initial burden of demonstrating an absence of a genuine issue of material fact, this burden may be discharged by showing the district court that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986).

  The City moves for summary judgment in this case on the grounds that (1) King's claim is barred by the doctrine of res judicata; (2) King cannot establish a violation of the ADA; and (3) King cannot establish that he was denied reasonable accommodations even if he were found to be an otherwise qualified individual with a disability. We find the City's res judicata argument dispositive of this case and therefore will not address its remaining two grounds for summary judgment. The City's successful res judicata argument also moots its motion to strike plaintiff's response to its 56.1 statement of undisputed facts. Both parties agree on the facts material to the City's res judicata argument. The facts that are the subject of City's ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.