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Arrigo v. Link

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

September 6, 2016

Marylee Arrigo, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Jay E. Link and Link Stop, Inc., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued May 26, 2015

         Appeals from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin. Nos. 13 CV 00437 and 12 CV 00700 - Barbara B. Crabb, Judge.

          Before Bauer, Kanne, and Williams, Circuit Judges.

          Williams, Circuit Judge.

         Marylee Arrigo maintained in this lawsuit that she was fired from her job for taking or requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The jury did not agree, and she appeals. Arrigo contends that her supervisor's notes from a meeting he requested before she returned from medical leave were wrongly excluded from trial. We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it found the notes not relevant to the issues at trial, as Arrigo's only claim at trial was under the FMLA and the notes do not suggest displeasure with Arrigo's use of leave. She also argues that the district court erred when it denied her motion for leave to amend to add claims under Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act, but she has not shown good cause for filing the motion after the deadline. Finally, Arrigo maintains that the district court should not have dismissed a second lawsuit that she filed which alleged the same Title VII and ADA claims for which she unsuccessfully sought leave to amend in the first suit. Allowing the second lawsuit to proceed would undercut our decision to uphold the denial of leave to amend to add these very claims. Therefore, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Marylee Arrigo was a long-time employee of Link Stop, a gas station and convenience store in northwest Wisconsin owned by David Link. She first began working there from 1999 to 2002, took a break for school, and then resumed working in 2004, this time as Link Stop's bookkeeper. Over time, Arrigo took on bookkeeping for several of Link's other businesses as well, including Grandma Link's Restaurant & Lounge, Ashland Lake Superior Lodge, and Gordon Pines Golf Course. She also acquired some management responsibilities, and her duties included paying bills and invoices and generating monthly financial reports.

         On Saturday, September 11, 2010, Arrigo suffered a severe anxiety attack and was taken by ambulance to the emergency room. Arrigo called Lydia Cook, Link's long-time assistant, and informed her that she needed a period of medical leave. Link later told her to take the time she needed, and Arrigo was paid during her leave. Her doctor authorized her to return to work on September 27, 2010. When she called Cook to inform her of her return-to-work date, Cook told Arrigo to call Link, which she did. He was out of town and said he wanted to meet with her when he returned and before she began working.

         Link testified at trial that he asked Arrigo to provide a return-to-work certification from her doctor before returning to work. When she failed to do so, he briefly delayed her return so he could meet with her before she returned to work. Arrigo and Link met on Friday, October 8, 2010. Link took handwritten notes during the meeting, which he titled "10/8/10 Leave of Absence Medical Review." During the meeting, Link asked Arrigo for details about her condition, diagnosis, and treatment. Arrigo answered his questions and divulged information including that she had been prescribed medications and ordered to attend counseling. Link's handwritten notes from the meeting state:

10-8-10 Leave of Absence Medical Review
Marylee -Hospital Sept. 11th Doctor (Ambulance)
-known since April/Doctor says one year
Anixity [sic] issue
-Panic attack - cold/sick/electric feeling
-Stress related
-Saratonin [sic] lacking (mood chemical) - chemical imbalance
-Treating with - 'Paxil Drug'
-Former Zantax drug - (not for two weeks) - very addictive
Today feels normal
Exhausted - 12hrs/day/7 days a week
-Learn to relax - like her father - brain does not shut off.
-Sleeping issues for five years
-Kelly's mother's death
Treatment
-Paxil working quickly
-Released to go back to work
-Physical therapy - every three weeks - 'or as ...

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