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Scott v. Lear Corp.

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 27, 2017

DAVID A. SCOTT, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
LEAR CORPORATION, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          RUDY LOZANO, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Lear Corporation on January 31, 2017 (DE #99). For the reasons set forth below, this motion is GRANTED and this case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         BACKGROUND

         David A. Scott, Jr. (“Scott”) was employed by Lear Corporation (“Lear”) from October 2010 until his termination on April 23, 2013. Approximately a year after his termination, he filed the instant law suit pro se, naming Lear and several individuals as defendants. He alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12101), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5), and wrongful termination. This Court previously dismissed the individual defendants (DE #33), leaving only Lear as a defendant.

         Lear filed the instant motion on January 31, 2017. Lear also served Scott with a “Notice of Summary Judgment Motion” that explained what a summary judgment motion is and his obligations in response to the motion. (DE #102). The notice explained that factual allegations must be supported with citations to the evidence, and that the court is not required to consider materials that are not cited. Despite this notice, Scott filed a nine page response to the instant motion devoid of any citations. He also provided over 400 pages of exhibits. Lear filed a reply brief on March 20, 2017, and the motion is now ripe for adjudication.

         DISCUSSION

         Summary judgment must be granted when “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). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Not every dispute between the parties makes summary judgment inappropriate; “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Id. To determine whether a genuine dispute of material fact exists, the Court must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. See Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).

         A party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion may not rely on allegations in her own pleading but rather must “marshal and present the court with the evidence she contends will prove her case.” Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 621 F.3d 651, 654 (7th Cir. 2010). “[I]nferences relying on mere speculation or conjecture will not suffice.” Stephens v. Erickson, 569 F.3d 779, 786 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). If the nonmoving party fails to establish the existence of an essential element on which she bears the burden of proof at trial, summary judgment is proper. See Massey v. Johnson, 457 F.3d 711, 716 (7th Cir. 2006).

         Facts

         Because Scott's response is without citations to the evidence, the well-supported facts presented by Lear are undisputed and will be accepted as true. The facts[1] are as follows:

         Background

         Lear is an automotive supplier. Lear employed Scott at its Hammond, Indiana facility. (Def. Ex. 1: Scott Dep. I at 23; Def. Ex. 2: Scott Dep. II at 12).[2] UAW Local 2335 (“UAW”) represents the facility's hourly bargaining unit employees such as Scott. (Scott Dep. II at 19, 21). Lear and the UAW were parties to a collective bargaining agreement entered into on September 12, 2009. (Def. Ex. 4). The bargaining unit employees were subject to Lear's no-fault attendance policy. (Def. Ex. 5). Scott received a copy of that policy. (Def. Ex. 6).

         Scott Receives Permanent Work Restrictions

         Scott began his employment with Lear in October 2010. (Scott Dep. I at 23; Scott Dep. II at 12). In February 2011, Scott reported to Lear that he injured his finger. (Scott Dep. I at 29). In March or April 2011, Scott reported that his feet were hurting. (Scott Dep. I at 33). Scott went to the doctor in June 2011 for his feet, but was not placed on any work restrictions. (Scott Dep. I at 34-35). In May 2011, Scott alleged that he hurt his shoulder while working at Lear. (Scott Dep. I at 35; Scott Dep. II at 13). On July 11, 2011, Scott filed a worker's compensation claim for the shoulder injury he suffered in May 2011. (Scott Dep. I at 42; Def. Ex. 7). On November 14, 2011, after performing a functional capacity evaluation, Dr. Joseph Schwartz put Scott on permanent restrictions consisting of “light physical demand level with 20 pounds of occasional lifting, 10 pounds of frequent lifting, and negligible constant lifting.” (Scott Dep. I at 44; Def. Ex. 8).

         Scott's Leave of Absence

         In December 2011, Scott applied for and received leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for Achilles tendinitis. Concurrent with his leave, he applied for and received short-term disability benefits. (Scott Dep. I at 47-48; Scott Dep. II at 14-15). Scott's leave of absence began on December 20, 2011, and ended on August 29, 2012. (Scott Dep. I at 48; Scott Dep. II at 15).

         Scott's Work at Lear from August 29, 2012 - November 28, 2012

         Scott returned to work from his leave of absence on August 29, 2012. (Scott Dep. I at 48, 82; Scott Dep. II at 15). Scott did not have any restrictions stemming from his Achilles tendinitis. (Scott Dep. I at 82-83). However, the November 2011 permanent restrictions issued by Dr. Schwartz remained in place. (Id.).

         On his first day back on August 29, 2012, Lear assigned Scott to a job steaming seats that was similar to a job he had previously performed. (Scott Dep. I at 83-84). He performed no other job that day. (Def. Ex. 3: Scott Dep. III at 59). As Scott admitted, that job “was within my restrictions” and it was “easy for me to do.” (Scott Dep. II at 182; Scott Dep. III at 57). At the end of his shift, his right shoulder felt “fine, ” and on a zero to ten pain scale, his level of pain was “zero.” (Scott Dep. III at 59).

         On August 30, 2012, Scott initially worked on the job steaming seats that he performed on August 29, 2012. (Scott Dep. I at 87-88). He next worked on a job that had “something to do with the bolts.” (Id. at 90). Scott had no issue with performing this job. (Id. at 91). After an hour or two, Scott returned to the job steaming seats. (Id.). Scott was later moved to a job applying leather covers to headrests. (Id. at 89). He described the task as follows:

I had to take the leather and put it on a ball which you press on the lever and it releases steam and it's supposed to loosen up the leather. And then I have to put the leather on the headrest and snap it closed.

(Id.). There were also “some kind of clamps” that Scott had to close down. (Id. at 90). Finally, there was a lever that made the seat lay down. (Id.). Scott performed no other jobs on August 30, 2012. (Id. at 91). Scott asked Dianne Jewell, the Health and Safety Manager, if the job was consistent with his permanent work restrictions. (Scott ...


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