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Spurling v. C & M Fine Pack, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 13, 2014

Kimberly SPURLING, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
C & M FINE PACK, INC., Defendant-Appellee.

Argued Sept. 23, 2013.

Page 1056

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1057

Lori W. Jansen, Rockwell & Jansen, Fort Wayne, IN, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Dinita L. James, Michael Mishlove, Alejandro Valle, Gonzalez Saggio & Harlan LLP, Indianapolis, IN, for Defendant-Appellee.

Before BAUER, KANNE, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

KANNE, Circuit Judge.

This appeal follows the district court's entry of summary judgment in favor of C & M Fine Pack, Inc., (" C & M" ) regarding its termination of Kimberly Spurling.

Page 1058

Spurling alleged that C & M discriminated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended (" ADA" ), as well as the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (" FMLA" ). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further proceedings.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Spurling's Employment at C & M

Spurling began working for C & M in February 2004 as a Forming Inspector/Packer assigned to the third/night shift. In 2009, she began to exhibit a pattern of decreased consciousness and alertness, for which she received several disciplinary warnings. Spurling received a Final Warning/Suspension on February 15, 2010. On that date, Spurling left her work site to use the restroom and did not return for over twenty minutes. Spurling was later found sleeping in the restroom by a coworker.

Following her suspension, Spurling met with plant manager Darrin Claussen and three of her supervisors. Claussen's meeting notes reflect that Spurling indicated that her sleep issues were caused by medication that her doctor had prescribed. She produced a note to the same effect, which stated, " Pt was recently asked to discontinue medicine related to her passing out— please excuse symptoms [at] work."

Spurling continued to experience difficulty remaining conscious while at work. On April 12, 2010, Jim Cardenas, Spurling's shift supervisor, reported her for being completely asleep while packing parts. He expressed concern for Spurling's safety and the lack of improvement in her wakefulness.

As a result of the continuing problem, Spurling attended a meeting with management personnel, who issued her a Final Warning/Suspension on April 15. The Final Warning/Suspension note stated:

On 4/12/10 you were observed ... with your head down at you[r] inspection station. To get your attention they had to yell your name at which time you snapped to and responded. This occurred several times during the shift ... A review of your personnel file shows that in the last twelve months you have received three write-ups for performance and the last one a final warning with suspension for sleeping during your shift. Per our progressive discipline practice you have been suspended pending determination of the level of discipline you will receive for this latest incident. You were informed that you could face termination of employment per our progressive disciplinary practice. You were informed that I would be in touch no later than ...

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