United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by
Defendant Franciscan Alliance, Inc.
(“Franciscan”) (Filing No. 35).
Franciscan is a network of hospitals and health care
providers, serving patients in Indiana and Illinois.
Plaintiff Mary Rose (“Rose”) is an employee of
Franciscan, who was denied a new position at one of
Franciscan's hospitals in central Indiana. After Rose was
not offered the new position, and she initiated this lawsuit
asserting a claim for disability discrimination under the
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §
12101 (“ADA”). Franciscan filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment, asserting that Rose was not a qualified
individual, and there is no evidence of discrimination on the
basis of disability. For the following reasons, the Court
grants Franciscan's Motion for Summary
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 Rose 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).
2011, Rose started a position at St. Francis Hospital (the
“Hospital”), one of Franciscan's network
hospitals, as a part-time registrar in Patient Access with a
.2 FTE schedule, which required Rose to work two days
every two weeks. Being a registrar involved obtaining
demographic and insurance information from patients as well
as handling other payment matters (Filing No. 1 at
2; Filing No. 35-3 at 1). The work was
primarily sedentary but did require some movement and lifting
up to 25 pounds. Rose met Franciscan's performance
expectations and did not receive any discipline in the
performance of her duties (Filing No. 1 at 2;
Filing No. 35-4 at 3).
has cerebral palsy and a vision impairment (Filing No.
35-1 at 6). When she was hired, Franciscan was aware of
Rose's disability. Id. at 7-8. During her
employment in the registrar position, Franciscan considered
Rose to be a hard worker and a valued employee with a very
strong work ethic (Filing No. 35-3 at 1).
September 2014, Rose accepted a position at St. Francis'
Greenwood Imaging Center (the “Imaging Center”)
with a .5 FTE schedule (Filing No. 35-2 at 1). The
Imaging Center is owned in part by Franciscan and is operated
as an outpatient department of the Hospital (Id.;
Filing No. 35-3 at 1-2). Accepting this new position
required Rose to change her .2 FTE registrar position with
the Hospital to PRN status, meaning she no longer worked
regularly scheduled hours and only worked if called in to do
so (Filing No. 35-2 at 1; Filing No. 35-5).
2015, Rose obtained a note from her physician, Kenneth Young
(“Dr. Young”), indicating Rose required some work
restrictions. Dr. Young directed Rose to limit her walking
and standing, elevate her legs as much as possible, and wear
support hose (Filing No. 35-6). Dr. Young noted that
Rose would be re-examined in three months. Id. Rose
brought this note to Franciscan, and in response, Franciscan
moved her to a new position in the Hospital's triage
department, but her registrar title and PRN status did not
change (Filing No. 35-2 at 1-2). The triage position
reduced the amount of walking and standing Rose would have to
do while on the job and allowed her to elevate her legs.
Id. Rose did not want to be removed from her
registrar position (Filing No. 35-22 at 1).
August 2015, Dr. Young issued another work restriction note,
indicating the same limitations were in place for Rose and
that the limitations should be extended for another three
months (Filing No. 35-8).
September 2015, a .8 FTE Patient Access position became
available at the Hospital. The position was a “set
schedule” position. Rose applied for this position
while still working in the .5 FTE position in the Imaging
Center. The responsibilities of this .8 FTE position were the
same duties Rose performed in her Patient Access registrar
position, only this new position required more hours
(Filing No. 35-3 at 2-3; Filing No. 42-6 at
1). Rose asked her supervisor, Sarah Oliphant
(“Oliphant”), whether she needed to
“reapply” for the position, and Oliphant
responded that she did not need to, but she would need to
provide a doctor's note. Rose asked what the doctor's
note needed to say, to which Oliphant responded, “The
note needs to state you are able to ambulate the distance to
triage, that you are able to work the 8 days on a consistent
basis.” (Filing No. 35-9 at 1.) Rose obtained
a note from Dr. Young, which read, “Patient is able to
walk the distance to triage & may work 8 days on a
consistent basis every 2 weeks.” Id. at 2.
Working eight days on a consistent basis every two weeks
equated to a .8 FTE position. On September 24, 2015, Dr.
Young's office faxed the note to Rose at the Imaging
Center, and Rose took the note to Oliphant the following day
(Id.; Filing No. 42-6 at 1).
September 25, 2015, Oliphant contacted Dr. Young's office
at the request of Franciscan's Director of Patient
Access, Sharla Rhodes (“Rhodes”). They needed
clarification regarding the work restriction described in Dr.
Young's note (Filing No. 35-2 at 2; Filing
No. 35-13). Franciscan asserts that they were confused
about the applicability of the eight-day work restriction and
whether it applied only to Rose's potential position in
Patient Access or whether it applied to all of Rose's
positions, including her position in the Imaging Center
(Filing No. 35-2 at 2). Without Rose's
knowledge, Oliphant contacted Dr. Young's office to seek
clarification about Rose's work restriction (Filing
No. 42-6 at 1).
Oliphant called Dr. Young's office to obtain
clarification she was not provided with any information about
the restriction (Filing No. 35-11 at 15; Filing
No. 35-2 at 2). Dr. Young's staff called Rose to
explain that they had received a telephone call from Oliphant
about the work restriction. Rose was unhappy that Oliphant
had called Dr. Young's office without asking her first.
(Filing No. 42-6 at 1-2.) She insisted that Dr.
Young's office protect her HIPAA rights before releasing
any information. Before any information was released, Rose
wanted to know what medical information was being sought and
wanted a HIPAA release on file. However, Rose did not
instruct “anyone at Dr. Young's office to refuse to
cooperate with St. Francis.” Id. at 2.
Young's staff never instructed Rose to come to their
office to sign a HIPAA release. Rather, they told Rose that
they would take care of it and ask St. Francis for a release.
Rose also was not asked by anyone at St. Francis to sign a
HIPAA release. Id.
Dr. Young's medical record of the telephone call with
[Rose] stated she is going to work at St. Francis emergency
room 8 days every two weeks . . . and at Greenwood Imaging .
. . . She said she has to work these hours. She doesn't
want us to tell them anything. I told her we can't
because we have to have her written permission to do that.
(Filing No. 35-12 at 16). Dr. Young and his staff
testified that Rose directed them not to release any
information to Franciscan (Filing No. 35-19 at
11-13; Filing No. 35-12 at 16; Filing No.
35-17 at 5).
the telephone call with Rose, Dr. Young's staff called
Oliphant and explained, “We cannot discuss anything on
behalf of [Rose] with [you] unless [Rose] releases in writing
that we can talk to [you].” (Filing No. 35-12 at
4.) Neither Franciscan nor Rose provided a HIPAA release
to Dr. Young's office (Filing No. 42-9 at 7).
Franciscan never received clarification about the eight-day
work restriction from Rose or Dr. Young's office
(Filing No. 35-2 at 3; Filing No. 35-11 at
following weeks, Rose made several attempts to follow up on
the status of the open position. On September 30, 2015, she
emailed Oliphant to ask if there was “any word”
on the position (Filing No. 42-1). On October 2,
2015, she emailed Oliphant to ask if she needed to reapply.
Oliphant responded that she did not need to reapply. Rose
replied, asking if Oliphant had everything she needed from
her and Dr. Young's office (Filing No. 42-2). On
October 7, 2015, Rose emailed Carrie Ball
(“Ball”), Franciscan's Manager of Patient
Access, and copied Oliphant on the email. She noted that she
had applied for the position, asked for a timetable of when a
decision would be made, and asserted, “I did provide
all statements from my Dr that sarah has requested ??”
[sic] (Filing No. 42-3).
October 8, 2015, Oliphant sent a response email only to Ball
and explained that Dr. Young's office would not provide
clarification about the work restriction and that Rose was
not planning to leave her position at the Imaging Center,
which would result in her working more than .8 FTE. Oliphant
asked Ball if they needed to talk with Human Resources, and
Ball asked Oliphant to contact Human Resources to get
guidance on the situation (Filing No. 35-13). On
October 12, 2015, Rose sent another follow-up email to Ball
(Filing No. 42-4).
Resources informed Ball and Rhodes that they needed to comply
with Dr. Young's restrictions for Rose in relation to all
of Rose's positions, not just the .8 FTE position for
which Rose applied (Filing No. 35-2 at 3; Filing
No. 35-10 at 6). On October 15, 2015, Cindy Erickson in
Human Resources informed Ball that someone in Human Resources
was going to contact Rose to “discuss the information
provided to us by her physician and the need to work within
those guidelines.” (Filing No. 35-14 at 3.)
October 19, 2015, Sherri Clark (“Clark”), a human
resources generalist, called Rose and left a voicemail
message for her (Filing No. 35-15 at 1-2). On
October 20, 2015, Rose and Clark connected, and Rose
explained that she intended to continue working in the
Imaging Center and asserted that it was “a separate
HR.” Id. at 1. Clark responded that the
Imaging Center and the Hospital were under the same
Franciscan umbrella, so any combined employment would have to
be .8 FTE. After Rose further explained the separate HRs and
separate accrual of benefits on October 21, 2015, Clark
reiterated that both the Imaging Center and the Hospital were
under the same Franciscan umbrella, and she was limited to .8
FTE under all positions pursuant to her doctor's order.
October 22, 2015, Ball spoke with Rose and explained that the
Hospital could not work her more than a .3 FTE position based
on her doctor's restriction because of her other .5 FTE
position in the Imaging Center. Ball further informed Rose
that she could not be given the .8 FTE position, but she
would be kept on in her PRN status. She also told Rose that
the Hospital could work her more hours if the doctor's
restrictions were lifted (Filing No. 35-18).
Additionally, Ball told Rose that one of her options to be
eligible for the .8 FTE position was to resign from her .5
FTE position in the Imaging Center (Filing No.
35-20; Filing No. 35-10 at 30-31). Because Rose
did not want to resign from her .5 FTE position in the
Imaging Center, Franciscan did not offer the .8 FTE Patient
Access position to Rose (Filing No. 35-2 at 3-4).
Young issued another note continuing Rose's same work
restrictions in February 2016 (Filing No. 35-21).
The last shift that Rose worked at the Hospital was on May
29, 2016, and she has not requested a PRN shift since her May
29, 2016 shift (Filing No. 35-1 at 43, 46). Rose is
still employed in the Imaging Center. Id. at 9.
September 18, 2015, Rose filed a charge of discrimination
with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), alleging that Franciscan discriminated
against her on the basis of her disability from May 2015
through September 2015. Rose alleged that the disability
discrimination occurred after she provided a doctor's
note in May 2015, which limited her walking and standing, and
Franciscan unilaterally moved her from the Patient Access
registrar position to the triage position and changed her
status to PRN (Filing No. 35-22 at 1-2). On December
9, 2015, she amended her EEOC charge of discrimination,
adding the allegation that Franciscan discriminated against
her on the basis of her disability when it denied her the .8
FTE position in October 2015. Id. at 3-4.
November 25, 2016, Rose filed this lawsuit, asserting a claim
against Franciscan for disability discrimination under the
ADA (Filing No. 1). After answering the Complaint,
Franciscan filed its Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing
that Rose was not a qualified individual and there is no
evidence of discrimination on the basis of disability
(Filing No. 35).
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and to
assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine
need for trial.” Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587106 S.Ct. 1348
(1986). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that
summary judgment is appropriate if “the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.” Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476
F.3d 487, 489-90 (7th Cir. 2007). In ruling on a motion for
summary judgment, the court reviews “the record in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”
Zerante, 555 F.3d at 584 (citation omitted).
“However, inferences that are supported by only
speculation or conjecture will not defeat a summary judgment
motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan Stanley, 507 F.3d
624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation marks
omitted). Additionally, “[a] party who bears the burden
of proof on a particular 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, 476 F.3d at
490 (citation omitted). “The opposing party cannot meet
this burden with conclusory statements or speculation but
only with appropriate citations to relevant admissible
evidence.” Sink v. Knox County Hosp., 900
F.Supp. 1065, 1072 (S.D. Ind. 1995) (citations omitted).
much the same way that a court is not required to scour the
record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary
judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the
merits of [the] claim.” Ritchie v. Glidden
Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and
quotation marks omitted). “[N]either 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) (citations and quotation marks omitted).
Court views the designated evidence in the light most
favorable to Rose, as the non-moving party and draws all
reasonable inferences in her favor. Bright v. CCA,
2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 162264, at *8 (S.D. Ind. Nov. 14,
2013). “However, employment discrimination cases are
extremely fact-intensive, and neither appellate courts nor
district courts are obliged in our adversary system to scour
the record looking for factual disputes.” Id.
at *8-9 (citation and quotation marks omitted).
argues that it is entitled to summary judgment on Rose's
ADA claim because Rose was not a “qualified
individual” with a disability to be able to support her
claim, Rose caused a breakdown in the interactive process,
there is no evidence to support the elements of a disability
discrimination claim, and Franciscan had a legitimate
non-discriminatory reason for not offering Rose the .8 FTE
position. Franciscan also asserts that some of the facts and
evidence that Rose offers fall outside the scope of the EEOC
charge and thus cannot be considered by the Court. Rose
argues that the evidence supports her ADA ...