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Klymco v. United Parcel Service

November 24, 2008

JOSEPH KLYMCO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Joseph Klymco has sued United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS") asserting a claim for discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). UPS has moved for summary judgment. The Court grants the motion for the reasons set forth below.

Facts

Because UPS has moved for summary judgment, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to Klymco and draws reasonable inferences in his favor. See, e.g., Nat'l Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir. 2008).

Since March 1973, Klymco has worked as a feeder driver for UPS at its package center in Addison, Illinois. A feeder driver operates tractor-trailers used to transport packages between package centers and hubs. As part of their duties, feeder drivers maneuver a "dolly," the device that attaches trailers together, and regularly lift equipment and packages. UPS lists the ability to lift up to seventy pounds unassisted as an essential function of the position. Klymco states, however, that he was never required to lift any object that weighed more than fifty pounds without assistance.

Around May 2003, Klymco was injured on the job. While attempting to couple a tractor and a trailer, he experienced a "whiplash effect." Pl. Resp. 2. Klymco claims that, as a result, he suffers from degenerative disk disease at the C5/C6 vertebrae with significant foraminal stenosis. During the next two years, Klymco worked intermittently and took medical leaves of various lengths.

Around May 2005, UPS offered Klymco a position as a guard shack attendant through its Temporary Alternate Work ("TAW") program. The TAW program provides light-duty jobs to employees while they recover from injuries. UPS states that participation in the TAW program is limited to employees with temporary medical restrictions resulting from on-the-job injuries. In January 2006, UPS informed Klymco that he was no longer eligible for the TAW program because it appeared that his restrictions were permanent. As a result, Klymco could no longer work as a guard shack attendant.

Later that month, Klymco requested that UPS return him to his position as a feeder driver with an accommodation for his medical condition. On January 13, 2006, UPS sent Klymco a letter confirming that it had received his request. With that letter, UPS included a Request for Medical Information form to be completed by Klymco's physician and returned to UPS within two weeks. On January 27, 2006, UPS sent another letter to Klymco advising him that it had not yet received the Request for Medical Information form and that if UPS did not receive the form by February 10, it would terminate the accommodation process. Klymco's physician filled out a work status report on February 7, 2006 and sent it to UPS. About two weeks later, however, UPS notified Klymco that it had terminated the accommodation process because it had not received any medical information.

In October 2006, Klymco again initiated an accommodation request, asking that UPS reinstate him as a feeder driver. On October 27, 2006, UPS sent another letter asking him to return a completed Request for Medical Information form. On November 10, UPS informed Klymco that if it did not receive a completed Request for Medical Information form by November 30, it would terminate the process again. On December 11, 2006, UPS notified Klymco that it had terminated his request for accommodation.

On December 13, 2006, UPS received a completed Request for Medical Information form from Klymco's physician. The physician noted on the form that Klymco was restricted from lifting anything heavier than forty-five pounds, maneuvering a dolly, or lifting overhead anything greater than thirty-six pounds. In addition, where the form asked if Klymco was substantially limited in a major life activity, the physician responded "no." Pl. Resp. at 4.

Based on this information, UPS determined that Klymco could not be considered disabled under the ADA and was, therefore, not eligible for an accommodation. UPS notified Klymco of its determination on December 21, 2006.

Klymco filed suit on August 21, 2007, asserting a claim of failure to accommodate a disability in violation of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a) & (b)(5).

Discussion

Summary judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). To determine whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the Court must view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Squibb v. Mem'l Med. Ctr., 497 F.3d 775, 780 (7th Cir. 2007). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if ...


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