The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendant American Airlines'
motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, we grant the
motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
Plaintiff Louis Moskerc ("Moskerc") is currently an American Airlines
("American") employee working as a Customer Service Manager ("CSM") at
O'Hare airport. Moskerc began working for American in 1967 and in 1994 he
was promoted to the Passenger Services CSM position ("original CSM
position"). In October of 1998 Moskerc suffered a back injury at work
which required surgery to remedy. Moskerc received nearly seventeen months of medical leave
and in March of 2001 Moskerc's doctor authorized him to return to work
with a permanent lifting restriction, prohibiting lifting, pulling, or
pushing anything exceeding 50-60 pounds.
In March of 2001, when Moskerc returned to work, American's written job
description for the CSM position required the employee to lift 100
pounds. Based upon the lifting restrictions indicated by Moskerc's
doctor, American did not return him to a CSM position. American conducted
an internal search of available openings. American also allowed Moskerc
to apply to employers other than American and to continue to receive
benefits from American. American also assigned Moskerc a human resources
representative to assist him in his job search for other available
Moskerc expressed interest in a Fueling CSM position. American claims
that the; Fueling CSM position was subject to the same job description as
Moskerc's previous CSM position requiring lifting up to 100 pounds. Based
on this lifting requirement, American stated that it could not consider
Moskerc for the Fueling CSM position.
Moskerc later expressed interest in the Lost Time CSM position.
American claims that the Lost Time CSM position requires extensive
financial analysis and strong computer skills. The Lost Time CSM position
calls for mining through data using various software packages, including
Excel to generate various reports and presentations for upper-level
management. Although interested in the position, Moskerc failed to complete the required interview test. American
ultimately hired another candidate for the Lost Time CSM position.
Moskerc also expressed interest in an Analyst Manpower position. American
alleges that this position requires even greater computer skills,
together with expertise in budgeting and cost analysis. However, Moskerc
never applied for this position and American offered the position to
During this time Moskerc requested an accommodation review from
American's Accommodation Review Board ("ARB"). The ARB is an advisory
panel made up of employees representing various sections of American's
workforce, including American's medical, human resources, operations, and
legal departments. American claims that the ARB's general function is to
consider employee requests for accommodation and any employee may submit
a request for an accommodation. Moskerc submitted a request to the ARB
asking to return to his CSM position despite his lifting restriction.
In order to evaluate Moskerc's request, American hired a professional
ergonomist to conduct a full-scale analysis of Moskerc's original CSM
position. The ergonomist prepared a draft report and presented her
findings to American in December of 2001. Following a review of the
report and discussion with operations, American adopted the ergonomist's
findings and modified the original CSM position lifting requirements to
55 pounds, effective July 15, 2002. American returned Moskerc to his
original CSM position one week later on July 22, 2002. On January 28, 2002, Moskerc filed his civil complaint with this court
alleging a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Americans With Disabilities
Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Moskerc also asserts a state law
claim for breach of contract.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there is
no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In seeking a grant of
summary judgment the moving party must identify "those portions of `the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)).
This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a
particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the
non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this
burden, the non-moving party cannot simply rest on the allegations or
denials in the pleadings, but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided
for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial." Fed.R. Civ. P, 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the
context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact
exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596,
599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a
light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable
inferences that favor the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255;
Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).
The ADA prohibits covered entities, including private employers, from
discriminating against a qualified individual because of his disability.
42 U.S.C. § 12112(a). Specifically, the ADA provides "[n]o covered entity
shall discriminate against a qualified individual with a disability
because of the disability of such individual in regard to job application
procedures, the hiring, advancement, or discharge of employees, employee
compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges
of employment." Id. Under the ADA an individual has a disability if: 1) he suffers from a "physical or mental impairment
that substantially limits one or ...