United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WALTON PRATT, United States District Court Judge
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Defendant Patrick Aluminum d/b/a Altec Aluminum
Technologies (“Altec”). (Filing No. 33).
Plaintiff Justin Evans (“Evans”) initiated this
action against Altec, his former employer, alleging
violations under the American with Disabilities Act, as
amended, 42 U.S.C. §12101 et. seq. and Indiana
law. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Summary
Judgment is granted.
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 Evans as the
non-moving 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 Altec through Manpower staffing agency in
April 2013 and secured full-time employment there in June
2013. (Filing No. 33-4 at 14.) During his employment
at Altec he was a member of the International Chemical
Workers Union Council Local 15-C. In November 2014, Evans
injured his knee in a workplace accident when the left side
of his body fell into a pit. Id. at 7-8. The day
after his injury, he was cleared for light duty work pending
an MRI of his knee. Id. at 9-10. A first MRI showed
that Evans's knee was “a hundred percent clear,
” but a second MRI revealed otherwise. Id. at
11-12. Evans eventually retained an attorney and, in January
2015, filed for worker's compensation. Id. In
February 2015, he began physical therapy. Id. at 12.
Throughout this time, Evans remained on light duty work
restrictions. Id. These restrictions included no
climbing, kneeling, crawling, and lifting over ten pounds.
Id. at 24. Evans was also instructed to sit as much
as possible. Id.
Altec's awareness of Evans' restrictions, his
supervisor, Charlie, assigned Evans work orders that did not
reflect his light duty restrictions. (Filing No.
33-4 at 12-13, 24.) For example, Evans was
assigned work orders that required him to climb a ladder-a
task that does not meet the “light duty”
requirement. Id. In this and other similar
circumstances, Evans would comply with his restrictions and
would not complete the requested tasks. Id. As a
result, Charlie verbally disciplined him for not completing
the requested work orders. Evans would explain his
restrictions to his supervisor, and Charlie would say,
“Well, you have a job to do. . . . You need to do your
job.” Id. Although Evans was verbally
reprimanded, his supervisor never initiated any formal or
written discipline. This scenario would occur about four or
five times a week. Id. Although Evans' past
experiences with the plant manager, James Peele
(“Peele”) were favorable, he did not report
Charlie's behavior to Peele or any other Altec
supervisor. Id. at 56.
his injury, Evans also began finding notes left on his work
equipment that suggested that he should be looking for new
employment. (Filing No. 33-4 at 29-30.) One such
note read, “I need to know when you're starting
your new job and you need to get your tools gone.”
Id. That note bore Charlie's signature.
was not the only person who expressed these sentiments
towards Evans. If Evans was working with other individuals,
including co-worker, Larry Curry (“Curry”), they
would often berate him by saying things like “I'm
tired of working all these extra hours to cover for you
because you can't work it, ” or “You need to
find a new job or you need to hurry up and do your
job.” Id. at 31-32. In one instance, Evans and
Curry almost became involved in a physical altercation after
Curry told Evans that “if [Evans] [couldn't] bend
down there to help [Curry] pull a damn electrical line,
[Curry] [would] make [Evans] get down there and pull an
electrical line.” Id. at 32-33. While no
physical fight occurred, Curry called Evans a “stupid
son of a bitch” and told him “you ain't
nothing.” Id. at 33. In another instance,
Evans asked Curry to grab a piece of equipment only
accessible by ladder; Curry responded by throwing the ladder
and saying, “There you go, you worthless son of a
bitch. There's the ladder, ” recognizing that Evans
could not climb it. Id. Before Evans's injury,
Evans and Curry had enjoyed a working relationship; it was
only after Evans went on light duty these problems began.
Evans reported these events to his union, but he did not
report them to any superiors at Altec. (Filing No. 33-4
at 32, 34.)
early months of 2015, Evans found that his truck had been
vandalized in the Altec parking lot during his shift.
Id. at 36. The truck, which was green, had been
spray-painted with yellow safety paint. Id. The only
portion of the truck that did not get touched by the paint
was the roof of the truck's cab. Id. Across the
rest of the truck, squiggly lines and profanity had been
painted. Id. Evans did discuss the vandalism with
Laurie Ireland (“Ireland”) Id. at 37,
Altec's Employee Health and Safety (EHS) manager.
(Filing No. 33-3 at 2.) Evans was returning from the
parking lot after finding his truck vandalized, and Ireland
asked, “What happened to your truck?”
Id. Evans replied, “It's kind of obvious
somebody spray painted it, now didn't they?”
Ireland did not reply, and Evans noticed that the can of
yellow safety spray paint was missing from in front of
Ireland's office. (Filing No. 33-4 at 37.) Evans
asked Ireland what happened to the paint, and she responded
that she did not know. Ireland asked if Evans was going to
get his truck painted, as Ireland took offense to some of the
profanity on the truck. (Filing No. 35-1 at 6.)
Evans said he planned to go that day to get a quote for a new
paint job for the truck. Id.
from the one exchange with Ireland, Evans did not discuss the
vandalism with any other Altec superior. Immediately after
the vandalism, Evans attempted to speak with Peele but was
told that Peele was not available. (Filing No. 33-4 at
37.) Evans did not make any further attempts because he
felt as though Peele “never wanted to talk to
[him].” (Filing No. 35-1 at 6). He did report
the vandalism incident to his union. Id. at 11.
after the vandalism to his truck, Evans found his toolbox
that he used at Altec had been vandalized as well.
Id. at 12. The toolbox had eight drawers and was
roughly five feet tall. Id. Evans personally owned
the toolbox and the tools it contained. Id. He
discovered the locks on the toolbox had been cut, and the
entire box had been flipped over, with the drawer sets on the
ground. Id. Evans' tools were scattered
throughout the shop. Id. at 13. He reported the
incident to his union, and union representatives accompanied
Evans to speak with Richard Parrish (“Parrish”).
Id. Parrish served as a foreman at Altec when no
other supervisors were available. Id. Parrish's
response was that he was not worrying about it and it was not
his problem because he was not a maintenance
next day, Evans found the lock on his toolbox had been broken
again, and many of his tools were missing. (Filing No.
33-4 at 38-39.) This time, Evans called the police, who
met him in the Altec parking lot in order for Evans to file a
police report. Id. Evans never obtained the police
report, nor did he file any formal or written grievance with
Altec. Id. Evans took his remaining tools home, but
Charlie told him that he did not care that Evans took his
tools home after some went missing and to bring the tools
back. Id. Evans also discussed the theft with
Parrish, whose response the second time was “I guess
you'd better buy a better box.” Id. Evans
never talked to Peele about any of the incidents of
harassment. Id. at 47.
April 2015, Mike Roach (“Roach”) began working at
Altec as a maintenance tech. Id. at 34. Evans had
been told the previous month that he was not eligible for
promotion to maintenance tech because Altec did not have any
such positions open. (Filing No. 35-1 at 15.)
Roach's first words to Evans were, “They hired me
to take your spot.” (Filing No. 33-4 at 34.)
Over time, Roach-knowing Evans's work restrictions-would
say things to Evans like, “You can either go up [the
ladder] to get my wrenches or we can figure out some other
way you're going to get my wrenches.” Evans did not
report these incidents to a supervisor. Id. Charlie
left employment with Altec in May 2015 and Eddie Reyes
(“Reyes”) became Evans' new supervisor.
Id. at 30-31.
the reservoirs beneath the aluminum presses would catch
rainwater in addition to the water coming off the presses,
one of Evans' duties was to remove waste water and oil
from containment reservoirs beneath Altec's presses.
Id. at 42. In order to empty the reservoir, Evans
was required to use a forklift to maneuver a 300-gallon tote
and then pump the water and oil into the tote. Id.
After emptying a reservoir into a tote, Evans would place the
tote in storage so that the water and oil could separate,
with the water sinking to the bottom. Id. Evans did
not typically handle the totes ...