United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
February 20, 2004.
CORINNE CESARIO CAROSELLI Plaintiff,
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant
The opinion of the court was delivered by: WAYNE ANDERSEN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM, OPINION AND ORDER
This case is before the Court on the defendant Allstate Insurance
Company's motion for summary judgement. For the following reasons, the
motion for summary judgment is granted.
The following undisputed facts are taken from the parties' Local
Rule 56 statements of facts. Plaintiff Corinne Cesario Caroselli began her
employment with Allstate in October 1983. In September 1991, Caroselli
was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. The symptoms of fibromyalgia consist of,
among other things, muscle spasms, pain due to muscle spasms, swelling of
tissue, headaches, and stomach problems.
In 1992 after her diagnosis, Caroselli reduced her work schedule to
three days a week-Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Although Caroselli has
fibromyalgia, she is able to wake up, get out of bed and perform all of
the normal morning activities, including using the bathroom, brushing her
teeth, bathing, taking her medication, dressing herself and fixing
her hair and makeup, without any assistance. She also helps her daughter
get ready for school and walks her daughter to the bus stop each
Caroselli regularly performs household chores such as making beds,
rinsing and stacking dishes in the dishwasher, straightening up around
the house, taking newspapers to the trash, sorting and organizing the
family's mail, cooking and doing the laundry. However, Caroselli does
need help making the beds and carrying the laundry, and she also cannot
lift certain Caphalon pots when she is cooking. During certain limited
periods of time, Caroselli experienced greater difficulty in performing
some of these tasks. Although it may have taken her longer to accomplish
these routine tasks, Caroselli still was able to perform most of these
tasks without assistance.
Caroselli also remains able to go for walks and has been able to travel
since her diagnosis. Her condition also has not limited her ability to
read, either at work or at home, or watch television. She also
participates in various exercises programs, including Pilates, in which
she has progressed to an advanced level. She also receives massage
therapy for her condition. Since her diagnosis, Caroselli has experienced
some difficulty with sleeping. However, on average, she receives six
hours of sleep per night and by taking a nap during the day, she is able
to obtain an average of eight hours sleep in a twenty four hour period.
From 1992 through 2000, Caroselli worked a reduced schedule at
Allstate. Caroselli was Senior Marketing Manager for a specific
distribution channel at Allstate, the Glenbrook Channel, and was
responsible for performing marketing support functions for sales teams in
the Glenbrook Channel. In July 2000, Allstate experienced a significant
increase in the demand for its financial products and hired additional
sales people to sell its financial
products. As a result, Allstate reorganized, and the Senior Marketing
Manager was assigned to a distribution channel and became a Channel
Manager. After the reorganization, Caroselli's job duties changed and her
responsibilities increased dramatically. As a result of the increase in
demand for marketing support, Allstate determined that a Channel Manager
must be available Monday through Friday.
In August 2000, Caroselli's supervisor advised Caroselli that because
of the growth in business and the corresponding increase in demands for
the Glenbrook Channel group she would have to work a full time schedule.
Caroselli, however, responded that because of her fibromyalgia she could
only work three days a week and only Tuesday through Thursday. As an
alternative, Caroselli suggested that Allstate hire a "qualified
assistant" to help her with projects. However, Caroselli's supervisor did
not think this alternative solution would work because it still would
mean that Caroselli, as the person ultimately responsible for the
production and delivery of the marketing materials and support, would not
be available for two days of the week.
From the middle of September 2000 through the middle of October,
Caroselli was out of the office on medical leave. When she returned,
Caroselli learned that she would be reporting to Maribeth Barrett. In
November 2000, Maribeth Barrett was hired to take over Caroselli's
position as Channel Manager for the Glenbrook Channel. Caroselli,
however, retained her job title and benefits as Senior Marketing Manager,
and a majority of her duties and responsibilities remained the same. In
February 2001, Caroselli began another medical leave of absence. On July
21, 2003, Allstate discharged Caroselli.
Caroselli has filed a two count complaint against Allstate, alleging a
violation of The Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") and
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Allstate has moved for
summary judgment on both counts.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with 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). In considering such a motion, the court accepts as true
the evidence set forth by the non-moving party and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. Associated Milk
Producers, Inc. v. Meadow Gold Dairies, 27 F.3d 268, 270 (7th Cir.
1994). The moving party bears the burden of demonstrating an absence of
evidence to support the position of the nonmoving party. Doe v. R.R.
Donnelley & Sons Co., 42 F.3d 439, 443 (7th Cir. 1994). In making its
determination, the court does not make credibility determinations or
weigh evidence, but only determines "whether there is any material
dispute of fact that requires a trial." Waldridge v. American Hoescht
Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). A genuine dispute about a
material fact exists only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24(1986).
II. Caroselli Is Not Disabled Within the Meaning of the ADA
The ADA prohibits an employer from "discriminat[ing] against a
qualified individual with a disability because of the disability."
42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). A "qualified individual with a
disability" is "an individual with a disability who, with or without
reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the
employment position. . . ." Id, at § 12111(8). Further, a "disability"
means "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or
more of the major life activities of such individual." Id. at §
12102(2)(A). Caroselli argues that she suffers from a physical
impairment, fibromyalgia, which substantially limits one or more major
life activities and that she has a record of such impairment. Allstate
concedes that Caroselli has a physical impairment but disputes that she
is substantially limited in her major life activities or that she has a
record of such a disability.
To invoke the protection of the ADA, Caroselli must show that: (1) she
has a disability as defined by the ADA; (2) she was performing her job
satisfactorily; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (4)
similarly situated employees outside her protected class were treated
more favorably. Amadio v. Ford Motor Co., 238 F.3d 919, 924 (7th Cir.
2001); Moore v. J.B. Hunt Transp., Inc., 221 F.3d 944, 950 (7th Cir.
2000). The ADA defines "disability" in three ways: (1) a physical or
mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an
individual's major life activities; (2) a record of such impairment; or (3)
being regarded as having such an impairment. 42 U.S.C. § 12102(2).
To demonstrate that she is substantially limited in a major life
activity, Caroselli must establish that she is unable to perform specific
major life activities that an average person can perform or that she is
significantly restricted in her ability to perform such major life
activities. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(1). The analysis for determining
whether an individual's impairment substantially limits a major life
activity has three facets: (1) the nature and severity of the impairment;
(2) the duration of the impairment; and (3) the permanent or long-term
resulting from the impairment. Davidson v. Midelfort Clinic, Ltd.,
133 F.3d 499, 506 n. 3 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2(j)(2)).
Caroselli claims that she is substantially limited in one or more major
life activities, including working, sleeping, standing and certain
household chores, and that she is significantly restricted as to the
condition, manner and duration in which she can work because she can only
work three days a week.
Although Caroselli's fibromyalgia may restrict certain of her life
activities, merely having some limitations does not make her disabled
under the ADA. An inability to perform a particular job for a particular
employer does not establish a substantial limitation on the ability to
work. Skorup v. Modern Door Corp., 153 F.3d 512, 514 (7th Cir. 1998).
Rather, the impairment must substantially limit employment generally.
In Toyota Motor Mfg. Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams, 534 U.S. 184 (2002),
the Supreme Court held that, when evaluating whether a plaintiff is
restricted in performing the major life activity of performing manual
tasks, the central inquiry is whether the individual is unable to perform
the variety of tasks central to most people's daily lives, and not
whether the individual is unable to perform the tasks associated with a
specific job. 535 U.S. at 200-01. The Court noted that household chores,
bathing and brushing one's teeth are among the functions of daily life
that are of central importance to an individual. Id. at 201. In
Williams, the Court ultimately concluded that although the plaintiff's
condition caused her to avoid sweeping, quit dancing, occasionally seek
help dressing and reduced the amount of time she was able to play with
her children, garden and drive long distances, she was not substantially
limited in the activities central to most people's daily lives. Id. at
This Court does not discount that the evidence shows that fibromyalgia
has affected Caroselli's life and that she has had to make some
adjustments to cope with her condition. However, this falls short of
establishing that she is significantly restricted in performing major
life activities. The record shows that Caroselli is able to perform the
functions of daily life that are central to most people's lives. She can
get herself and her daughter ready in the mornings and can perform the
normal morning tasks without assistance. Caroselli also is able to
perform various household tasks to care for herself and her family, and
she can perform these tasks with minimal assistance. She also is able to
attend exercise classes. The adverse effects of her fibromyalgia are not
of the nature or level of severity that impose significant restrictions
on Caroselli's ability to care for herself and her family as compared to
an average individual in the general population.
In addition, Caroselli has not produced any evidence to show that her
impairment substantially limits her ability to work. Indeed, Caroselli
does not dispute that she is able to work three days a week, and she
admits that she has not investigated whether any jobs are available
outside of Allstate that she could perform working three days a week.
Just because Caroselli may be precluded from performing the job of
Channel Manager at Allstate does not mean that Caroselli cannot perform
many other jobs either within Allstate or for another employer. "It is
not enough for the plaintiff to show that her impairment prevented her
from performing one narrow job for one employer." Davidson v. Midelfort
Clinic, Ltd., 133 F.3d 499, 507 (7th Cir. 1998).
Based on the undisputed facts and viewing the record most favorably to
Caroselli, it is the conclusion of this Court that, although she suffers
from fibromyalgia, Caroselli is not
substantially limited in any major life activities, including, among
others, working and caring for herself and her family, and she is not
disabled within the meaning of the ADA. Because Caroselli is not disabled
within the meaning of the ADA, she does not have a record of such a
disability. Thus, Caroselli cannot establish a prima facie case of
III. Caroselli Is Not Qualified for the Channel Manager Position
Even if Caroselli suffered from a qualifying disability, she
nevertheless cannot prevail on her ADA claim because the undisputed facts
demonstrate that she has declined to perform the essential functions of
the Channel Manager position with or without a reasonable accommodation.
Caroselli argues that she is qualified for the Channel Manager position
because she performed its functions for two years. However, Caroselli was
a Senior Marketing Manager for two years and not a Channel Manager. In
July 2000, Allstate reorganized and the Senior Marketing Manager was
assigned to a distribution channel and became a Channel Manager.
Caroselli overlooks the undisputed evidence that after the reorganization
her job duties and responsibilities changed and that there was a increase
in demand for marketing support which required a Channel Manager to be
available Monday through Friday.
An employer is not required to modify, reduce or reallocate the
essential functions of a job to accommodate an employee. Emerson v.
Northern States Power Co., 256 F.3d 506, 514 (7th Cir. 2001). A full-time
schedule can be an essential job function. DeVito v. Chicago Park
District, 270 F.3d 532, 534 (7th Cir. 2001). A district court will not
otherwise second guess an employer's judgment in describing the essential
functions of a job. DePaoli v. Abbott Laboratories, 140 F.3d 668, 674
(7th Cir. 1998).
Caroselli does not dispute that in August 2000, Allstate informed her
that because of the growth in its business and the corresponding increase
in the demands on the Glenbrook Channel group that Caroselli as the
Channel Manager would need to work a full Monday through Friday workweek.
However, Caroselli responded that she was not able to work a full
workweek and that she needed to maintain a Tuesday through Thursday work
schedule. However, a part-time schedule is not a reasonable accommodation
for a full-time job. DeVito, 270 F.3d at 533.
The undisputed evidence shows that Allstate determined that, as a
result of the increase in the volume of work and client demands, a
Channel Manager is required to work a full-time schedule. Caroselli does
not dispute that all of the Channel Managers reporting to Caroselli's
supervisor work a full-time schedule. Caroselli's insistence that she is
unable to work a full workweek Monday through Friday demonstrates that
she is not able to perform an essential job function of a Channel
Manager, and Allstate is not required to accommodate a part-time schedule
for a full-time job. Thus, Caroselli cannot establish a prima facie case
of disability discrimination. Finally, because Caroselli is not able to
establish a prima facie case of discrimination, her harassment claim
based on her alleged disability and her reasonable accommodation claim
IV. The Illinois Human Rights Act Preempts Caroselli's State Tort
Count II of Caroselli's complaint alleges the state law tort action for
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Allstate argues that Count
II is preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act ("IHRA"), 775 ILCS
5/1-101, et seq., because it is "inextricably linked" to a claim
for a civil rights violations under the IHRA.
The IHRA preempts state tort claims that are "inextricably linked" to a
civil rights violation within the meaning of that statute. Krocka v. City
of Chicago, 203 F.3d 507, 516 (7th Cir. 2000). Thus, if a state common
law claim is in essence one that seeks redress for a "civil rights
violation" as defined by the IHRA, this Court lacks jurisdiction to
adjudicate the claim. Id. A "civil rights violation" occurs when an
employee is terminated on the basis of "unlawful discrimination." 775
ILCS 5/2-102. "Unlawful discrimination," in turn, includes
"discrimination against a person because of his or her . . . handicap."
775 ILCS 5/1-103. The test to determine whether a claim is subject to
IHRA preemption was clarified by Maksimovic v. Tsogalis, 687 N.E.2d 21
(Ill.App. Ct. 1997). The pivotal question is "whether the tort claim is
inextricably linked to a civil rights violation such that there is no
independent basis for the action." Tsogalis, 687 N.E.2d at 23.
In this case, we find that Caroselli's intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim is "inextricably linked" to her employment
discrimination claim. The factual allegations set forth in the
discrimination claim are re-alleged and incorporated by reference as the
facts and alleged conduct of Allstate which support Caroselli's claim for
intentional infliction of emotional distress. Without considering
Allstate's alleged discriminatory conduct, Caroselli has not stated an
independent basis for imposing liability for intentional infliction of
emotional distress. Thus, we conclude that the intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim is inextricably linked to Caroselli's
discrimination claim, and the claim is preempted by the IHRA.
For the foregoing reasons, Allstate's motion for summary judgment is
granted, terminating the case. All pending motions are deemed moot by
this Memorandum Opinion and Order. This is a final and appealable order.
It is so ordered.
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