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Aliferis v. Generations Health Care Network at Oakton Pavillion, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

April 20, 2017

JUDY ALIFERIS and BRIAN GAUGHAN Plaintiffs,
v.
GENERATIONS HEALTH CARE NETWORK AT OAKTON PAVILLION, LLC and GENERATIONS HEALTH CARE NETWORK AT OAKTON ARMS, LLC Defendants.

          GENERATIONS HEALTH CARE NETWORK AT OAKTON ARMS, LLC

          Patrick F. Moran, Goli Rahimi GORDON & REES LLP Attorneys for Defendant

          DEFENDANT'S RULE 50 MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A MATTER OF LAW AGAINST PLAINTIFF GAUGHAN

          Edmond E. Chang Judge

         Defendant, Generations Health Care Network at Oakton Arms, LLC (“Oakton Arms” or “Defendant”), by and through its attorneys at Gordon & Rees, LLP, respectfully moves this Honorable Court for an Order granting its Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a) Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law against Plaintiff Brian Gaughan and in favor of Defendant on Gaughan's claim for disability discrimination due to association pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and on Gaughan's claim for damages. In support of its motion, Defendant states as follows:

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         Oakton Arms is an independent senior living facility located in Des Plaines, Illinois. Co-Defendant Generations Healthcare Network at Oakton Pavillion, LLC (“Oakton Pavillion”) is the neighboring sister-property that provides skilled nursing care. Oakton Arms and Oakton Pavillion purchased the respective businesses and buildings and began operations on September I, 2014. Plaintiff Brian Gaughan (“Plaintiff” or “Gaughan”) worked for Defendant as a receptionist at Oakton Arms from September 1, 2014 until his termination on September 12, 2014. The Administrator of both facilities was and is Mr. Bart Barrish. Mr. Barrish was Mr. Gaughan's supervisor as of September 1, 2014. The reason for Mr. Gaughan's termination was that he left his post at the desk of Oakton Arms on September 11, 2014 without notifying his supervisor.

         Mr. Gaughan has filed a Complaint alleging that Defendant Oakton Arms violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by terminating him based on his protected association with a person with a disability: co-Plaintiff Judy Aliferis (“Aliferis”).

         Judgment as a matter of law should be granted for several reasons. First, Mr. Gaughan has failed to present sufficient evidence that would allow a reasonable jury to find that his “association” with Ms. Aliferis had anything to do with Mr. Barrish's decision. Second, Mr. Gaughan has failed to present sufficient evidence that his association (A) caused Defendants expense; (B) distracted Plaintiff; or (C) placed Plaintiff at risk of developing or contracting breast cancer. In the alternative, Gaughan has failed to present sufficient evidence such that a reasonable jury would find that he was terminated because of his association with Ms. Aliferis. Finally, Defendant asks this Court to deny Plaintiff's claim for damages, including punitive damages.

         II. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY GAUGHAN DURING TRIAL [1]

         Plaintiff Brian Gaughan (“Plaintiff” or “Gaughan”) worked for Defendant as a receptionist from September 1, 2014 until her termination on September 12, 2014. Co-Plaintiff Judy Aliferis, an employee of co-Defendant Oakton Pavillion, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March, 2014, and had been seeking treatment for the same.

         During his employment with the “old” business from March through September, 2014, Mr. Gaughan would accompany Ms. Aliferis to her doctor's appointments, and would request time off in advance. Ms. Aliferis had a doctor's appointment on September 11, 2014, and Mr. Gaughan previously submitted a request for absence form, which was approved by his previous supervisor, Ms. Maureen Krahl. Ms. Krahl remained an employee following the purchase of the business by Oakton Arms and Oakton Pavillion until her termination, which occurred prior to both Plaintiffs' terminations.

         On September 11, 2014, before her morning doctor's appointment, Ms. Aliferis was terminated. She then contacted Mr. Gaughan, who left his post to take her to her doctor's appointment. Mr. Gaughan did not tell anyone that he was leaving his post.

         Bart Barrish was informed of Mr. Gaughan's absence on September 11, 2014 and made the decision to terminate Mr. Gaughan's employment that day. At the time he made the decision, Mr. Barrish did not know that Ms. Krahl had approved the absence (and Ms. Krahl was no longer employed at the facilities). Upon learning of Mr. Gaughan's absence, Mr. Barrish reviewed the schedule for that day, the employee handbook and searched ...


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