United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Debra Pittman's
(“Pittman”) Motion for Summary Judgment.
(Filing No. 37.) Pittman was a longtime employee of
Defendant Columbus Rural King Supply, Inc. (“Rural
King”). She suffers from Crohn's Disease, and
alleges that Rural King violated the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by failing to provide
her with a reasonable accommodation for her disability. For
the reasons that follow, the Court denies
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the facts are
presented in the light most favorable to Rural King as the
nonmoving party. See Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d
582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
began working at a Rural King store in Columbus, Indiana in
February 2005. (Filing No. 38-22 at 1.) Rural King
is a retail business that sells farm and home supplies.
Pittman was initially hired as a cashier and was promoted to
customer service manager in 2011 or 2012. (Filing No.
38-24 at 1.) In 1993, before her employment at Rural
King, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease. (Filing
No. 38-22 at 1.) Crohn's Disease is a chronic
inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that
causes symptoms such as fatigue, loss of appetite, and pain.
(Filing No. 38-22 at 1.) At the times relevant to
the instant matter, Pittman was under the care of a physician
and a nurse practitioner for her Crohn's Disease.
(Filing No. 38-23 at 1.)
receiving an offer of employment from Rural King, Pittman
filled out a “Post-Offer Questionnaire, ” on
which she indicated that she had been diagnosed with
Crohn's Disease. (Filing No. 38-4.) At some
point early in Pittman's tenure, she informed her
employer that she preferred working the early morning shift,
because she would not be tired upon starting work.
(Filing No. 38-24 at 7-8.) For several years,
Pittman typically worked five days per week, for five-hour
shifts running from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Filing No.
38-24 at 7.)
September 2013, Matt Klinkosh became the manager of the
Columbus Rural King location. (Filing No. 38-24 at
7.) Approximately one month after Klinkosh became
manager, he demoted Pittman from the position of customer
service manager to the position of cashier. (Filing No.
38-24 at 8; Filing No. 38-24 at 4-5.) Around
the same time, Pittman's assigned hours began to
decrease, and she started to be assigned shifts outside of
the early morning hours that she had previously requested.
(Filing No. 38-24 at 7-9.) In response, Pittman had
several conversations with Klinkosh and Joella Morey, an
assistant manager who was involved in scheduling, regarding
her need for an accommodation. (Filing No. 38-26 at
1-3.) On April 14, 2015, Pittman provided Rural King
with a doctor's note indicating that she needed to work
the morning shift for no more than five hours per day, in
order to maintain a consistent eating and resting pattern.
(Filing No. 38-9.)
2, 2014, Pittman filed a charge of discrimination with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging
discrimination on the basis of her disability. (Filing
No. 38-8.) Following that filing, Pittman's hours
continued to be reduced and scheduled in the afternoon,
ranging from her original 25 hours per week prior to
Klinkosh's tenure to roughly five hours per week by the
end of her employment at Rural King. (Filing No.
38-11.) On March 23, 2015, Pittman, Klinkosh, and Morey
completed and signed an “Accommodation Worksheet,
” which indicated that it was designed to
“provide a problem-solving approach to considering
accommodation request by and identifying accommodations for
either applicants or employees.” (Filing No. 38-28
at 1.) On that form, Pittman requested to work five
shifts per week from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., or earlier if
possible. (Filing No. 38-28 at 1.) The
“employer” requested 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or
12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. shifts, in order for Pittman to
“be here during two vital hours of business” from
3:00 to 5:00. (Filing No. 38-28 at 3.) Pittman's
hours continued to be reduced, and the reduction in hours
caused her financial hardship. (Filing No. 38-15 at
1.) Pittman started a part-time position at Dollar Tree
on July 6, 2015 (Filing No. 38-12). By September
2015 she left employment at Rural King because she felt she
was constructively discharged. (Filing No. 38-11.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary 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). In ruling on
a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews the record
in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws
all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.
Zerante, 555 F.3d at 584; Anderson, 477
U.S. at 255.
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial
responsibility of informing the court of the basis for its
motion, and identifying “the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, ” which demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (noting that
when the non-movant has the burden of proof on a substantive
issue, specific forms of evidence are not required to negate
a non-movant's claims in the movant's summary
judgment motion, and that a court may grant such a motion,
“so long as whatever is before the district court
demonstrates that the standard...is satisfied”);
see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A) (noting
additional forms of evidence used in support or defense of a
summary judgment motion, including “depositions,
documents electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations ..., admissions, interrogatory
answers, or other materials”).
a nonmoving party who bears the burden of proof on a
substantive issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must
affirmatively demonstrate by specific factual allegations
that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires
trial. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.Com, Inc., 476 F.3d
487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
323-24; Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Neither the mere existence of
some alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the
existence of some “metaphysical doubt” as to the
material facts is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary
judgment. Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129
F.3d 391, 395 (7th Cir. 1997); Anderson, 477 U.S. at
247-48; Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “It is not the
duty of the court to scour the record in search of evidence
to defeat a motion for summary judgment; rather, the
nonmoving party bears the responsibility of identifying the
evidence upon which [it] relies.” Harney v.
Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th
a court is not permitted to conduct a paper trial on the
merits of a claim and may not use summary judgment as a
vehicle for resolving factual disputes. Ritchie v.
Glidden Co., ICI Paints World-Grp., 242 F.3d 713, 723
(7th Cir. 2001); Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24
F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). Indeed, a court may not make
credibility determinations, weigh the evidence, or decide
which inferences to draw from the facts. Payne v.
Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir. 2003) (highlighting
that “these are jobs for a factfinder”);
Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. When ruling on a summary
judgment motion, a court's responsibility is to decide,
based on the evidence of record, whether there is any
material dispute of fact that requires a trial. Id.