United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge.
This matter is before the court on Plaintiff Kathlene Kaitschuck's (Kaitschuck) motion for summary judgment, and on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, Kaitschuck's motion for summary judgment is denied, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part, and denied in part, and the remaining state law claims are dismissed without prejudice.
Kaitschuck allegedly was working for Defendant Doc's Drugs, LTD, (DDL) as a Pharmacy Technician for many years and continued to work at DDL until the termination of her employment in 2012. In 2010, DDL implemented a Pharmacy Technician Program (Program) under which a Pharmacy Technician was required to obtain certification by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (Certification) as a condition of employment for DDL. Under the Program, any Pharmacy Technician licensed before January 1, 2008 had to obtain the Certification before January 1, 2012. Kaitschuck claims that in the summer of 2011, she requested medical leave for foot surgery from her supervisor Defendant Jeff Haran (Haran) and the request was approved from May 17, 2011 to September 26, 2011. Kaitschuck allegedly returned to work and on November 30, 2011, she requested medical leave from Haran for neck surgery. Haran allegedly approved the leave starting on December 12, 2011. At the end of 2011, Kaitschuck had failed to obtain the Certification and had failed to even attempt to take the exam for the Certification (Exam). On January 10, 2012, Kaitschuck's husband allegedly went to DDL corporate office to submit Kaitschuck's disability insurance program and was asked whether Kaitschuck had obtained the Certification. Kaitschuck's husband allegedly indicated that Kaitschuck had not obtained the Certification and that same day Haran allegedly sent a letter to Kaitschuck informing her that her employment had been terminated. Kaitschuck includes in her amended complaint intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED) claims (Count I), a claim alleging discrimination based on Kaitschuck's perceived and actual disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (Count II), an ADA retaliation claim (Compl. Par. 113), (Count II), an ADA failure to accommodate claim (Count III), and a claim alleging retaliation in violation of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq. (Count IV). Kaitschuck now moves for summary judgment and Defendants have filed a cross-motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, 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); Smith v. Hope School, 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2009). 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. Phillip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000). When there are cross motions for summary judgment, the court should "construe the evidence and all reasonable inferences in favor of the party against whom the motion under consideration is made." Premcor USA, Inc. v. American Home Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th Cir. 2005).
I. Kaitschuck's Motion For Summary Judgment
Kaitschuck moves for summary judgment in her favor on all claims. Kaitschuck argues that she can proceed on her motion for summary judgment under the direct or indirect methods of proof. (P SJ Mem. 8). However, the direct and indirect methods of proof are options available to a plaintiff trying to defeat a defendant's motion for summary judgment, and not to a plaintiff seeking to have judgment entered in the plaintiff's favor at the summary judgment stage. See, e.g., Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 610 (7th Cir. 2006)(explaining how a plaintiff can "prove discrimination" and "may prevail in an employment discrimination lawsuit, " when explaining how a plaintiff can defeat a defendant's motion for summary judgment); Morgan v. SVT, LLC, 724 F.3d 990, 995 (7th Cir. 2013)(explaining that in responding to an employer's motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff must initially identify whether he is making arguments under the direct or indirect method of proof or both); Hall v. Forest River, Inc., 536 F.3d 615, 621 (7th Cir. 2008)(stating that at the trial stage "the burden-shifting of the McDonnell Douglas method falls away, and the question is simply whether that evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to find in favor of the plaintiff"); Dewitt v. Proctor Hosp., 517 F.3d 944, 950 (7th Cir. 2008)(stating that "[t]he standard understanding is that there are two ways to make out a prima facie case of discrimination-which is to say, a showing in advance of trial sufficient to defeat the defendant's motion for summary judgment")(Posner, Circuit Judge, concurring); Salvadori v. Franklin School Dist., 293 F.3d 989, 996 (7th Cir. 2002)(stating that "[i]f a plaintiff cannot defeat a summary judgment motion based on the strength of her proffered direct evidence, she may use the burden-shifting approach outlined in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973)"); Curry v. Menard, Inc., 270 F.3d 473, 481 (7th Cir. 2001)(stating that "the burden-shifting approach of McDonnell Douglas applies only to pretrial proceedings and drops out once a case goes past the summary-judgment stage"). Kaitschuck cites Ley v. Wisconsin Bell, Inc., 819 F.Supp.2d 864 (E.D. Wis. 2011), in support of her argument on her motion for summary judgment. However, in Ley, the court addressed the direct and indirect method of proof in ruling on a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendant and indicated that the case would proceed further. Id.
The court has considered the merits of Kaitschuck's motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. In order to obtain judgment as a matter of law, she must show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Kaitschuck must establish that no reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of Defendants on Kaitschuck's claims. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Defendants have pointed to ample evidence showing that Kaitschuck's employment was terminated due to her failure to obtain her required Certification and not due to any perceived or actual disability, or due to any exercise of her rights under the ADA or FMLA. Kaitschuck has failed to explain in her motion why such evidence is not admissible or why she believes in light of such evidence that she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on any of her claims. Based on the above, Kaitschuck's motion for summary judgment is denied.
II. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
Defendants move for summary judgment on all claims.
A. ADA Discrimination and Failure-to-Accommodate Claims
Defendants move for summary judgment on the ADA discrimination and failure to accommodate claims, arguing that Kaitschuck is not a qualified individual, and that Kaitschuck cannot defeat Defendants' ...