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Christina v. Chubb & Son, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

September 27, 2016

CHUBB & SON, INC., Defendant.


          Warren W. Eginton Senior United States District Judge.

         In his complaint, plaintiff David Christina asserts that defendant Chubb and Son discriminated and retaliated against him in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”); and retaliated against him in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 31-290a.[1]

         Defendant has filed motion for summary judgment on all counts against it. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The parties have submitted statements of facts, exhibits and affidavits. These submissions along with the pleadings reveal the following facts.

         Commencing in 2002, plaintiff worked for defendant as a Personal Lines Appraiser and reported to his supervisor, Scott Harold. Plaintiff worked from his home and in the field in Connecticut and other states.

         Plaintiff asserts that he suffers from degenerative disc disease, herniated discs in the lumbar and cervical areas of his back, acute traumatic bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, metabolic syndrome, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post traumatic stress disorder.

         In January 2012, plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident in his company assigned car. He took a leave of absence and also initiated a workers' compensation claim related to that accident through defendant's internal processor. Plaintiff alleges that Harold commented that filing a workers' compensation claim was not good for an employee's career.

         In February 2012, plaintiff suffered an injury outside of work and took another medical leave of absence.

         In March 2012, plaintiff suffered another injury outside of work and took a leave of absence. When plaintiff returned to work, he requested accommodations and provided medical documentation that supported his request for a one-week period of no driving and a limitation of four hours per day of typing. Defendant approved these requests for accommodation.

         In May 2012, plaintiff underwent surgery and took a medical leave of absence from May 9 to August 10, 2012.

         In August 2012, a week after returning to work from his leave of absence, plaintiff had a car accident and could not return to work until October 15, 2012.

         Plaintiff asserts that in August 2012 he filed a second workers' compensation claim and that in October 2012 he contacted defendant's Voice of the Employee to express his belief that he was being penalized for taking medical leave of absences.

         By October 15, 2012, plaintiff's doctor had released plaintiff to work without restrictions. At the time of plaintiff's return, Harold had increased from two to three days per week the number of travel days for all of his Personal Lines Appraisers.

         Plaintiff maintains that, after he returned from his leave of absence, he was treated less favorably by Harold and Ellen Long, a Human Resources manager.

         In an email dated October 24, 2012, Harold advised plaintiff that he should contact Long if he felt unable to perform his duties.

         Between October 15 and October 31, 2012, plaintiff did not complete any appraisal reports. On November 5, 2012, Harold met with plaintiff to discuss why plaintiff had failed to complete his appraisal reports. In an email dated November 5, 2012, plaintiff wrote to Harold and Long that it was his “responsibility to get back up to speed, meet deadlines, respond to customers, agents, management, UW, etc. in a more timely, pleasant and professional manner.” In November 2012, plaintiff requested that his doctor approve a medical accommodation of “no driving from 11/19 thru 11/27/2012." Plaintiff knew that defendant's accommodation request process required his doctor's medical certification to support his requested driving restriction. He attached Chubb and Son's Medical Accommodation Request Form to the email.

         Defendant did not receive an accommodation request form from plaintiff or his doctor in either November or December 2012. Plaintiff maintains that he informed defendant of his request both orally and in writing and advised defendant that his physician had attempted to submit the Medical Accommodation Request form.

         In an email to his physician dated November 19, 2012, plaintiff wrote: “All and all I could probably keep going like this a bit longer but the possibility of injuring someone other than myself as I attempt to meet my increased goals which entails driving 2, 600 plus miles a month is a bad risk to take. The basic functions of my job are what seem to aggravate lower lumbar, cervical areas, shoulder and arm, not to mention the broken thumb and crushed middle finger hinder my typing and accuracy.” As of December 2012, plaintiff had a significant backlog of appraisal reports. On December 4, one of defendant's senior appraisers, Lina Marunas, audited plaintiff's reports and found several that did “not meet key pieces” of defendant's underwriting guidelines. She also noted that plaintiff's worksheets, which she identified as critical, lacked “key pieces of information.” Plaintiff maintains that his mistakes are attributable to his lack adequate training on the appraiser report writing system (“ARWS”) that was implemented while he was absent on medical leave.

         On December 4, plaintiff informed defendant that his doctor had attempted to submit the Medical Accommodation Request form but had sent it to the wrong number. On December 7, 2012, Long asked plaintiff what modification he needed to perform the essential functions of his job. Plaintiff requested that defendant (1) relieve him temporarily of driving and on-site appraisal responsibilities so that he could “catch up” on his backlog of reports; (2) provide him with estimates of the time he needed to ...

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