United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division
Jonathan E. Hawley U.S. Magistrate Judge.
the Court is the Defendant, BNSF Railway Company's,
supplemental motion for summary judgment (D. 38) and the
Plaintiff, Matthew Snyder's, response thereto (D.
For the reasons stated, infra, the motion is
suffered an injury in a car accident necessitating a
below-the-knee amputation. Snyder filed suit against his
employer, BNSF, alleging that when he tried to return to
work, BNSF refused to accept his doctors' notes and
unnecessarily delayed his return because of his disability,
in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-213.
Court previously granted summary judgment in favor of BNSF on
all of Snyder's claims, save one. (D. 24). Specifically, the
Court held that there was a disputed material issue of fact
concerning whether BNSF's requests for (1) Snyder's
hospital discharge summary after his initial accident
treatment and (2) Snyder's primary care physician's
notes of his office visits during his recovery violated 42
U.S.C. § 12112(d)(4)(A), which prohibits inquiries
regarding the nature and severity of an individual's
disability unless such inquiries are job-related and
consistent with business necessity. Although the Court
acknowledged that the medical inquiry claim constituted a
“change in legal theory” (D. 24 at ECF p. 9), the
Court went on to sua sponte consider the merits of
this claim without full briefing on the issues by the
BNSF filed a motion for leave to file a supplementary motion
for summary judgment, arguing that because Snyder first made
his change in legal theory in his response to BNSF's
motion for summary judgment, the parties did not have an
opportunity to adequately brief the merits of the issue. (D.
31). More specifically, BNSF argued that the parties should
be allowed to brief a legal question not addressed in the
original summary judgment order, to wit: whether Snyder must
demonstrate a cognizable injury-in-fact before recovering
damages for a violation of § 12112(d)(4). According to
BNSF, allowing supplemental briefing served the interests of
judicial efficiency, for BNSF would make the same argument at
trial as a ground for judgment as a matter of law. (D. 31 at
ECF p. 7).
Snyder's objection, this Court granted in part BNSF's
motion for leave to file a supplemental summary judgment
motion on the issue of whether Snyder must suffer a
cognizable injury-in-fact in order to recover on his
remaining claim. (Minute Entry of 9/12/2019). The Court
agreed that, given the issue would need to be addressed at
some point, it made the most sense to address the issue
before conducting a jury trial on the issue. The Court,
however, declined to revisit the Court's finding that a
question of fact existed regarding whether the two medical
inquiries in question violated the statute.
BNSF's supplemental motion for summary judgment, BNSF
argues that a plaintiff cannot recover damages based solely
on a claimed violation of § 12112(d)(4), but rather must
also demonstrate a tangible injury-in-fact. (D. 38 at ECF p.
18). More specifically, it argues that there must be some
cognizable injury-in-fact of which the violation is a legal
and proximate cause for damages to arise from a violation of
§ 12112(d). Based on the undisputed facts in this case,
Snyder has not established a tangible injury-in-fact
sufficient to survive summary judgment. Id.
responds that the invasion of his privacy which is
concomitant with the improper medical inquires is alone
sufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment. However,
even if the invasion of privacy alone is insufficient, Snyder
argues that he has presented sufficient evidence to establish
an injury-in-fact. Specifically, he argues that BNSF's
refusal to reinstate Snyder until he produced the at-issue
medical records delayed his return to work and, accordingly,
he suffered a loss in wages. (D. 39 at ECF p. 5). Second, a
reasonable fact finder could infer that the improper medical
inquiries contributed to him resigning, thus deterring him
from working for BNSF. Id. at 6. Third, he argues
that a reasonable person could find that having to produce
his private medical information to his employer embarrassed
him and caused him to suffer stress and that such
embarrassment and stress is a cognizable injury. Id.
Finally, he argues a reasonable person could find that Snyder
expended time and money obtaining the at-issue records from
his doctors to provide to his employer and that the loss of
his time and money is a cognizable injury.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). At summary judgment, the court's
function is to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial-that is, whether there is sufficient evidence favoring
the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict in its
favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 249 (1986); Patel v. Allstate Ins. Co., 105
F.3d 365, 370 (7th Cir. 1997). As such, “summary
judgment is the ‘put up or shut up' moment in a
lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that
would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of
events.” Gekas v. Vasiliades, 814 F.3d 890,
896 (7th Cir. 2016) (quotation marks omitted). The court must
view the ...