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Ferriera v. State of Illinois Dep't of Transportation

March 23, 2009

RANDY J. FERRIERA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeanne E. Scott, District Judge

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Illinois Department of Transportation's (Department) Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 15) (Motion). The Plaintiff Randy Ferriera formerly worked for the Department. In 2001, Ferriera became disabled in a work-related injury. Ferriera claims that the Department failed to provide a reasonable accommodation for his disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 42 U.S.C. §§ 12112(a) & 12112(b)(5)(A). The Department asks for summary judgment because Ferriera has failed to present evidence to establish that he was a qualified individual with a disability under the ADA. The Court agrees. The Motion, therefore, is allowed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

From 1994 to 2005, the Department employed Ferriera as a stationary engineer at the Department's headquarters facility located in Springfield, Illinois, and known as the Hanley Building. According to the Department's job description, stationary engineers: (1) operated and maintained heating, cooling, and air conditioning equipment; (2) used computer controls to implement energy conservation measures; (3) made rounds of assigned buildings at regular intervals; (4) monitored gauges and meters, and performed operational maintenance on equipment; and (5) performed other duties as assigned. Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 16) (Defendant's Memorandum), Exhibit C, Job Description.

Ferriera described the job of stationary engineer in similar terms in his affidavit:

The work of a stationary engineer for the Department involved monitoring various systems in the headquarters building and performing preventative maintenance on various pieces of equipment needed in connection with the operation of the headquarters building.

Memorandum of the Plaintiff, Randy Ferriera, in Opposition to the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 20), Attachment A, Affidavit of the Plaintiff, Randy Ferriera (Ferriera Affidavit), ¶ 5.

In his deposition, Ferriera explained the physical requirements of the stationary engineer maintenance functions. Ferriera stated that stationary engineers "take care of all heating, cooling, climate control of the building, work on all confectionery [sic] pumps, motors, the chilling towers, all the plumbing, water." Defendant's Memorandum, Exhibit A, Deposition Randy Ferriera (Ferriera Deposition), at 24-25. Ferriera said that stationary engineers had to walk, "All the time." Id., at 25. He explained:

Well, you have to check the whole building because there's motors, pumps and such and fans and blowers and compressors, and to make sure everything is working properly, we have a computerization system where we can change parameters on controllers and switch, you know, mix air to get the temperature better in certain rooms. . . . [T]he whole building has actuators and controllers throughout the whole place; I mean, there's hundreds of them.

Id., at 25-26.

Stationary engineers also had to climb. Ferriera explained that engineers needed to climb to operate plumbing shut-off valves. Id., at 27. Stationary engineers also had to climb to reach various lines:

Well, all your piping, steam lines, water lines, compression, everything is above head. Your ceilings in the lower level, the boiler rooms, the chilling rooms are probably 30 feet high, and you've got big steam lines running through, and then chilled water and then return water. It's quite a bit [of climbing].

Id., at 30.

Stationary engineers also had to kneel and squat. Ferriera explained, "Well, if you're in any of these places, you have to get down to work on things, and you're on concrete floors and whatnot." Id., at 30. He ...


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