United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
EDWARD L. YOUNGMAN Plaintiff,
CHIEF JUDGE STEPHEN A. KOURI and PEORIA COUNTY Defendants.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE UNITED STATES SENIOR DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Motions for Summary Judgment
(Docs. 33, 35) filed by the Defendants, Chief Judge Paul P.
Gilfillan and Peoria County. The motions have been
fully briefed. For the reasons stated below, the Chief
Judge's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 33) is GRANTED.
Peoria County's Motion (Doc. 35) is DENIED as MOOT.
in October 1998, Plaintiff Edward Youngman was employed as a
Youth Counselor by the Chief Judge of the Tenth Judicial
Circuit Court, Peoria, Illinois. Def.'s Statement Undisp.
Facts, (Doc. 34 at 3, ¶ 2). Youth Counselors work at the
Peoria County Juvenile Detention Center (“JDC”),
and are responsible for the supervision, safety, care, and
counseling of up to 63 juvenile detainees at the JDC.
Id. ¶ 3.
was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor with acromegaly in
December 1993, and he had surgery to remove his pituitary
tumor and 10% of his pituitary gland on March 2, 1994. Decl.
Edward Youngman at 2, (Doc. 37-2). Acromegaly is “a
benign pituitary tumor” that “produces excessive
growth hormone.” Dep. Dr. James Doering, 12:14-18,
(Doc. 34-32, Exh. 4). Acromegaly caused Plaintiff to suffer
an overgrown thyroid gland. Youngman Decl., at 3. As a
result, Plaintiff had a thyroidectomy in November 2011,
resulting in hypothyroidism and calcium deficiency.
Id. Plaintiff takes daily medication and is on
calcium replacement therapy to address his health problems.
issue in this case is a Youth Counselor's job duties in
the JDC's control room. The control room serves as the
location in which the JDC can be electronically monitored and
controlled. Def.'s Statement Undisp. Facts, (Doc. 34 at
4, ¶ 5). During the relevant time period, the control
room measured 24 feet by 19 feet, 3 inches, and it had
computer monitors that displayed security camera footage,
switchboards, a radio, and a telephone. Id.
¶¶ 7-8. The control room had overheard fluorescent
lights-the same lights used throughout the entire JDC.
Id. ¶ 9. Youth Counselors' duties in the
control room included continuous electronic monitoring of
activities throughout the JDC; electronically controlling
access into secure areas; monitoring juveniles who are
problematic, emotionally stressed, or have medical
conditions; and identifying unusual and dangerous conditions
and notifying proper personnel. Id. ¶ 6.
typically worked the first shift, Sunday through Thursday, as
Youth Counselor. The first shift was divided into three
separate assignments: (1) control room; (2) living units; and
(3) floaters. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. The first
shift usually consisted of one Youth Counselor assigned to
the control room, two assigned as floaters, and two or three
assigned to each of the two living units. Id.
¶¶ 12, 14, 16. At least one Youth Counselor had to
be in the control room at all times.
Kramer, a Detention Supervisor, was Plaintiff's direct
supervisor and was responsible for assigning each Youth
Counselor to one of the three possible assignments.
Id. ¶ 23. Detention Supervisors reported
directly to Superintendent Brian Brown. Id. Youth
Counselors had preferred job assignments, and Youngman was
typically assigned to a living unit and occasionally assigned
as a floater. Id. ¶¶ 25, 35. When assigned
to a living unit, a Youth Counselor is expected to be present
in an educational room during the work day in order to
monitor the juveniles. Id. ¶ 19. One
educational room was a computer lab, which contained eight
computer stations and a printer. Id. ¶¶
17, 19, 21.
the JDC's written job description for Youth Counselors
specifically explained “Control Room Duties, ”
Youngman was assigned to the control room less than fourteen
times during his thirteen years at the JDC. Id.
¶ 35; Doc. 34-2. Youth Counselors like Youngman who were
not regularly assigned to the control room would be assigned
to the control room for only a couple of days annually to
ensure such duties could be performed as needed during an
emergency. Id. ¶ 32.
2010, Brown received a complaint that another Detention
Supervisor, Ryan Breedlove, was not fairly assigning to the
three possible assignments. During the investigation into
that complaint, other employees complained that the control
room was not being fairly assigned either. Id.
¶ 28. As a result of the investigation, Peoria County
recommended that Brown review scheduling including an
assessment of the rotation of assignments. Id.
October 27, 2011, the issue of assigning Youth Counselors to
the three possible assignments was discussed during a labor
management meeting. Id. ¶ 30. Brown took the
position at the meeting that all Youth Counselors needed to
be trained everywhere and rotate in all duties. Id.
Apparently it was well-known that Youth Counselors did not
know how to perform all three assignments. Id.
in 2012, all Youth Counselors on first shift who were not
regularly assigned to the control room would be assigned for
one or two weeks annually to ensure they could perform the
duties. Id. ¶ 33. Kramer assigned Youngman to
the control room for the week beginning Sunday July 29, 2012
through August 2, 2012. Id. ¶ 38. Neither
Kramer nor Brown explained to Plaintiff that his placement in
the control room was for training purposes and would not last
longer than a week or two. Plf's Statement Undisp. Facts,
(Doc. 37 at 58, ¶ 46). Plaintiff successfully completed
his duties on July 29, 2012 and July 30, 2012. Def.'s
Statement Undisp. Facts, (Doc. 34 at 17, ¶ 40).
called in sick on July 31, 2012. (Doc. 34 at 18, ¶ 41).
On August 1, 2012, the fourth day he was assigned to the
control room, Youngman gave Kramer a doctor's note signed
by Dr. Jacob Doering stating, “p[atien]t can not work
in control room due to medical concerns.” Id.
¶ 42. Dr. Doering did not actually see Youngman in
regards to his medical concerns prior to writing the note.
Id. ¶ 43. The parties dispute whether Plaintiff
was suffering from any symptoms or side effects of his
pituitary tumor with acromegaly or hypothyroidism with
calcium deficiency during the relevant times of this case.
Plaintiff claims that working in the control room for
extended periods of time causes him severe headache, dry
heaving, nausea, dizziness, and pain that radiates up and
down his neck and head.
August 1, 2012, Brown gave Youngman a letter stating that Dr.
Doering's note was too vague, and requesting information
regarding: (1) what work restrictions he was actually
requesting; (2) what particular duties within the control
room he could not complete; and (3) what medical condition
and/or physical symptoms prevent him from performing his job
duties. Id. ¶ 44. Brown also stated that he
would schedule a meeting with Youngman to discuss how to
proceed after receiving this information. Id.
Plaintiff worked his August 1, 2012 shift in the control
room. Id. ¶ 45. On August 2, 2012, Plaintiff
worked in the control room for six hours and then used two
hours of sick time. Id.
August 2, 2012, Plaintiff was officially placed on light
duty, and pursuant to JDC policy, an employee on light duty
is assigned to the control room. Id. ¶¶
47-48. As such, Plaintiff was assigned to the control room
again on August 5, 2012 through August 9, 2012. Id.
¶ 49. On August 5, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a note from
Dr. Doering stating,
Patient is having motion sickness related to control room he
has recently been assigned to. Recommend patient not work in
control room other than briefly going in and out if needed
but rather should be place elsewhere for his job. Because of
lights, noise, cameras, tv's in room having motion
sickness symptoms of lightheadedness, ringing in ear,
headache. Diagnosis is motion sickness.
Id. ¶ 50.
August 5, 2012, Plaintiff also submitted a written response
to Brown's request for information, stating,
I am writing this in response to your memorandum dated
8/1/12, re - my medical note. The only restriction I am
requesting is to not work in the control center, due to my
medical concern of motion sickness. I am capable, and do
complete all job duties in control. However, when I am in the
control center, the following physical symptoms occur: 1.
pain/ringing in ear that radiates to head and neck[, ] 2.
headache[, ] 3. dizziness[, ] 4. nausea. These symptoms are
brought on by the confined space in the control center,
combined with the large amount of electronics, and the
activity and noise that comes from them. In closing, I am
requesting to work living units, floater duties, or security
Id. ¶ 51. Nonetheless, Plaintiff worked his
regularly scheduled shift in the control room August 5
through August 9, 2012. Id. ¶ 65.
August 7, 2012, Brown issued a letter to Youngman directing
him to submit to a fit-for-duty exam on August 9, 2012, with
Dr. Hauter, and informing him that he could use medical leave
and that FMLA paperwork would be made available. Id.
¶ 66. Brown testified that the medical documentation
from Dr. Doering made him suspect that Plaintiff could not
perform any assignment in the facility because of the mention
of Plaintiff's difficulty with lights, electronics, and
noise. Plf's Statement Undisp. Facts, (Doc. 37 at 61,
August 9, 2012, following Dr. Hauter's examination, Dr.
Hauter wrote a note stating that Youngman could not return to
work without restrictions “as he has an imminent risk
of injury to himself or others.” Def.'s Statement
Undisp. Facts, (Doc. 34 at 22, ¶ 67). He further stated
that Youngman was medically qualified for work with the
following limitations: no viewing of multiple TV or monitor
screens, avoid rapid alternating movements, avoid flashing
lights, and no commercial driving. Id.
August 12, 2012, Plaintiff's next scheduled shift, Brown
and a Detention Supervisor met with Youngman to explain that,
based on his restrictions, he was going to be placed on
medical leave of absence until his condition improved.
Id. ¶ 69. During the meeting, Plaintiff asked
Brown if he could just not work in the control room, but
Brown said he could not do that. Id. ¶¶
70-71. Neither party proposed another accommodation at that
August 16, 2012, Peoria County Human Resources
(“HR”) received FMLA paperwork for Youngman
completed by Dr. Doering. Id. ¶ 75. The
paperwork stated that Plaintiff's condition commenced on
July 29, 2012, that the probable duration of the condition
was “continual if working in control room, ” and
that Youngman was unable to perform any job in the control
room. Id. The paperwork identified the condition as
“motion sickness from control room
monitors/noise.” Id. ¶¶ 75-76. In
response, HR asked Dr. Doering to clarify which actual job
duties Plaintiff was unable to perform. In response, Dr.
Doering wrote “Any job in the control room including
hearing and carrying conversation, reading and corresponding
to info on computer screen, or sitting/walking/standing in
the control room.” Id. ¶ 76. HR asked Dr.
Doering to clarify again. This time, HR circled three
“physical requirements” on its job description of
a Youth Counselor that it believed Youngman was unable to
perform based on Dr. Doering's notes. It circled
“Incumbent is required to sit, stand, and walk for
various amounts of time to complete duties, ”
“Hearing and speaking ability sufficient to carry on
conversations with other individuals in person, over the
telephone, and over the intercom, ” and “Visual
ability sufficient to read and complete written
correspondence and read information on a computer
screen.” Id. ¶ 77. In response to the
question regarding whether it was correct that Youngman was
unable to perform the circled requirements, Dr. Doering wrote
“Yes, this is correct.” Id. ¶ 78.
Dr. Doering testified that he did not know if the lights,
monitors, and noises in the control room were different from
other areas of Plaintiff's workplace. Id.
¶¶ 58-60. He also testified that he did not know
what “noise in the control room” meant.
Id. ¶ 61.
September 6, 2012, Youngman was granted FMLA leave and was
instructed to provide an update on his medical condition by
September 24, 2012, and every 30 days thereafter.
Id. ¶ 79. From September 2012 through April
2013, Youngman submitted monthly updates regarding his
condition from Dr. Doering, and stated each time that his
condition had not changed. Id. ¶¶ 80, 85.
February 12, 2013, Peoria County sent a letter to Youngman
stating that his FMLA leave had expired, that his position
would be filled, and when he was able to return to work, he
would be placed in the first available opening most
comparable to his previous job. Id. ¶ 81.
Plaintiff was instructed that he was required to continue
providing updates from his doctor every 30 days. Id.
February 14, 2013, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination
with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
(“IDHR”) alleging that he was discriminated
against and forced on medical leave because of his
disability, and that the JDC failed to accommodate his
“mental disability[ies]” “pituitary tumor
with acromegaly” and “hypothyroidism with chronic
calcium deficiency.” Id. ¶¶ 82-83.
started a new job on April 30, 2013, but he did not inform
anyone at the JDC and he stopped sending updates to the JDC
on his medical condition. Id. ¶¶ 86-87. In
August 2013, Brown sent Plaintiff a letter informing him that
he was not in compliance with medical leave requirements
because he had not submitted an update on his condition since
April, and asked Plaintiff to send the required information
by August 23, 2013. Id. ¶ 88. On August 22,
2013, Brown received a letter from Plaintiff essentially
stating that he could always perform his job duties until
Brown “forced [him] on medical leave. . . .”
Id. ¶ 89. Plaintiff also stated that he could
work with the simple accommodation of being outside of the
control room. Id.
August 26, 2013, Brown sent another letter to Youngman
stating that he was insubordinate for failing to send the
required information and directed Plaintiff to meet with
Brown on August 28, 2013, to respond to the charge of
insubordination. Id. ¶ 90. Plaintiff was given
the option to submit paperwork previously requested to avoid
discipline. Id. Brown rescheduled the meeting for
August 30, 2013, after notification from Youngman's wife
that he could not make the August 28, 2013 meeting.
Id. ¶¶ 91-92. Youngman did not show up for
the meeting, so Brown tried to contact Plaintiff in order to
reschedule. Id. ¶¶ 95-96. The meeting was
rescheduled for September 13, 2013, but Youngman again did
not show up. Id. ¶¶97-99. Brown again
rescheduled the meeting for September 20, 2013, but Plaintiff
again did not appear. Id. ¶¶ 101-02.
September 29, 2013, a facsimile was received from Youngman
announcing his resignation, but his resignation was not
accepted. Id. ¶¶ 103-104. On October 1,
2013, Plaintiff was terminated due to insubordination.
January 1, 2016, Youngman filed this lawsuit against the
Chief Judge and Peoria County alleging violations of the
Americans With Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101
et seq. (the “ADA”). Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint on May 9, 2016, alleging that the Chief
Judge discriminated against him by failing to accommodate his
disability. (Doc. 12).
April 30, 2018, the Chief Judge filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment arguing: (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies; (2) Plaintiff's claims related
to motion sickness are outside the scope of his
discrimination charge and therefore barred; (3) Plaintiff was
not disabled; (4) Plaintiff was not a qualified individual
because he could not perform the essential functions of the
job; (5) the Chief Judge did not fail to reasonably
accommodate Plaintiff; and (6) Plaintiff was responsible for
the breakdown of the interactive process. (Doc. 33). Peoria
County also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that
it was named in the case purely for indemnification purposes,
but that it should be granted summary judgment because the
state, not the ...