United States District Court, D. Connecticut
RULING RE: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. NO.
C. Hall United States District Judge.
Lavon Taylor (“Taylor”) brings this action
against his former employer, FedEx Ground Package System,
Inc. (“FedEx”), for discrimination on the basis
of disability and failure to accommodate in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). FedEx
has moved for summary judgment on both counts. (Doc. No. 31).
For the reasons that follow, FedEx's Motion for Summary
Judgment is denied.
hired Taylor as a part-time package handler on July 30, 2007.
Local Rule 56(a)1 Statement (“L.R. 56(a)1 Stat.”)
(Doc. No. 33) at ¶ 1; Local Rule 56(a)2 Statement
(“L.R. 56(a)2 Stat.”) (Doc. No. 36-3) at ¶
1. From 2010 to 2011, Taylor also worked fulltime at Yankee
Clipper driving a forklift, helping to sort books, and
performing minor maintenance on the forklift. L.R. 56(a)1
Stat. at ¶¶ 4-6; L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at ¶¶
4-6. On March 19, 2010, Taylor injured his knee while playing
basketball. L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at ¶¶ 7-8; L.R.
56(a)2 Stat. at ¶¶ 7-8. The next day, Taylor
visited the Emergency Room, where he was diagnosed with a
torn anterior cruciate ligament (“ACL”) and
referred to a specialist. Lavon Taylor Depo. (Feb. 23, 2017),
Ex. P1 (Doc. No. 39) at 28. At an appointment the following
week, the specialist, Dr. Daniel Veltri, gave Taylor a note
advising that he not engage in lifting or certain kinds of
bending and recommended that Taylor arrange to have surgery
to repair his ACL. L.R. 56(a)2 Stat., Disputed Facts at
¶ 5. Taylor, using crutches at the time, brought the
note to both of his employers-FedEx and Yankee Clipper-in
order to take time away from work to recuperate. L.R. 56(a)2
Stat., Disputed Facts at ¶ 4; L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at
¶¶ 13, 15. After two weeks treating his knee with
medication and icing, Taylor returned to work at Yankee
Clipper on a full schedule without accommodations and resumed
work at FedEx on light duty. L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at
¶¶ 13-15; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at ¶¶ 13-15;
L.R. 56(a)2 Stat., Disputed Facts at ¶ 11.
terminated Taylor's employment on June 18, 2010. L.R.
56(a)1 Stat. at ¶¶ 22-23; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at
¶¶ 22-23. The parties dispute the circumstances
leading up to the June 18, 2010 termination. According to
FedEx, Taylor stopped attending work on June 18, 2010, and
was terminated on July 11, 2010. L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at ¶
21-22. According to Taylor, he went to FedEx to provide a
doctor's note and, when he later called to update FedEx
on his status, he was told that he had been terminated. L.R.
56(a)2 Stat. at ¶ 15. The parties agree that, upon learning
of his termination, Taylor reapplied for a part-time package
handler position with FedEx and began work on October 6,
2010. L.R. 56(a)1 Stat. at 24-25.
returning to FedEx in October, Taylor worked light duty. L.R.
56(a)2 Stat., Disputed Facts ¶ 11. Taylor stopped
attending work on December 27, 2010, and underwent surgery to
repair his torn ACL on December 28, 2010. LR. 56(a)1 Stat. at
¶¶ 26, 28; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at ¶¶ 26,
28. Taylor states that he told his supervisor, Jeff
O'Connor, the date of his surgery, L.R. 56(a)2 Stat.,
Disputed Facts at ¶ 18, while FedEx states that Taylor
stopped attending work without requesting medical leave, LR.
56(a)1 Stat. at ¶ 26; Def.'s Mem. at 4 n.2 . FedEx
terminated Taylor's employment on January 4, 2011. LR.
56(a)1 Stat. at ¶ 27; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at ¶ 27.
his surgery, Taylor could not bear weight on his right knee.
L.R. 56(a)2 Stat., Disputed Facts at ¶ 28. On February
18, 2011, Matthew Sobolewski, a physician's assistant in
Dr. Veltri's office, noted that Taylor was unable to
squat, lift greater than five pounds, crawl, climb, kneel,
bend, twist, or engage in any strenuous exercises.
Id. at ¶ 30. In early 2011, after resuming work
at Yankee Clipper, Taylor was terminated for clipping a
bookcase while driving a forklift. LR. 56(a)1 Stat. at
¶¶ 38-39; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at ¶¶
38-39. Around November 2011, Taylor began work as
a forklift driver at IFCO, a pallet warehouse. LR. 56(a)1
Stat. at ¶¶ 40-41; L.R. 56(a)2 Stat. at
motion for summary judgment, the burden is on the moving
party to establish that there are no genuine issues of
material fact in dispute and that the party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986); Wright v.
N.Y. State Dep't of Corr., 831 F.3d 64, 71-72 (2d
Cir. 2016). Once the moving party has met its burden, in
order to defeat the motion, the nonmoving party “must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256,
and present “such proof as would allow a reasonable
juror to return a verdict in [its] favor, ” Graham
v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000).
“An issue of fact is genuine and material if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Cross Commerce
Media, Inc. v. Collective, Inc., 841 F.3d 155, 162 (2d
assessing the record to determine whether there are disputed
issues of material fact, the trial court must “resolve
all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the party
against whom summary judgment is sought.” LaFond v.
Gen. Physics Servs. Corp., 50 F.3d 165, 175 (2d Cir.
1995). “Where it is clear that no rational finder of
fact ‘could find in favor of the nonmoving party
because the evidence to support its case is so slight, '
summary judgment should be granted.” F.D.I.C. v.
Great Am. Ins. Co., 607 F.3d 288, 292 (2d Cir. 2010)
(quoting Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., Ltd.
P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1994)). On the
other hand, where “reasonable minds could differ as to
the import of the evidence, ” the question must be left
to the finder of fact. Cortes v. MTA N.Y. City
Transit, 802 F.3d 226, 230 (2d Cir. 2015) (quoting
R.B. Ventures, Ltd. v. Shane, 112 F.3d 54, 59 (2d
ADA: Disability Discrimination
provides that “[n]o covered entity shall discriminate
against a qualified individual on the basis of disability in
regard to job application procedures, the hiring,
advancement, or discharge of employees, employee
compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and
privileges of employment.” 42 U.S.C. § 12112(a).
To establish a claim for disability discrimination, a
plaintiff must show that “(1) his employer is subject
to the ADA; (2) he was disabled within the meaning of the
ADA; (3) he was otherwise qualified to perform the essential
functions of his job, with or without reasonable
accommodation; and (4) he suffered adverse employment action
because of his disability.” McMillan v. City of New
York, 711 F.3d 120, 125 (2d Cir. 2013) (quoting