United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
THERESA L. SPRINGMANN CHIEF JUDGE
Defendant,  Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux, seeks
summary judgment on the claims of the Plaintiff, Bobby Jo
Busz [ECF No. 33]; specifically, the Plaintiff's claims
under Titles I and II of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act,
and various state and constitutional claims. For the reasons
stated below, the Defendant's Motion is GRANTED and the
Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
Defendant's Department operates the Allen County Work
Release Program (the “Program”) out of the Allen
County Work Release Center (the “Center”), a
minimum-security work release facility. While serving a
one-year prison term, the Plaintiff was accepted into the
Program, and housed at the Center, starting on or about
October 8, 2015. As a participant in the Program, the
Plaintiff was required to obtain employment within thirty
days of intake and find new employment within twenty-one days
of termination “under less than adverse
conditions.” See Allen Cmty. Agreement to Obtain
Emp., ECF No. 35-2. The Center set the hours within
which the Plaintiff could search for employment. The
Plaintiff also committed to receiving the Center staff's
approval if he wanted to change employment and pay 25% of his
income or $22.00 a day as room and board. The Center was
“in touch” with H&E to “ensure that
[the Plaintiff] was performing his work in a satisfactory
manner.” See Aff. of Michael Biltz, ¶ 6,
ECF No. 33-1.
Residential Adviser at the Center told the Plaintiff about a
job opportunity at H&E Machined Specialities
(“H&E”). The Plaintiff applied and obtained
employment at H&E. H&E set the Plaintiff's rate
of pay, paid the Plaintiff, and a plant manager at H&E
directed the Plaintiff's work and established his working
schedule. On or around November 12, 2015, at approximately
5:00 p.m., the Plaintiff took a Tylenol PM cold pill and
experienced an adverse reaction. Later that day, H&E
terminated the Plaintiff's employment. No individuals
involved in the Allen County Work Release Program played a
role in the decision to terminate the Plaintiff. However, on
November 23, 2015, the Allen County Work Release Program held
a hearing, and found that “[i]nmate Busz was terminated
from employment due to his bizarre behavior at H&E
Machined Specialties.” See Allen Cmty. Work Release
Ctr. Discipline Committee Report (the
“Report”), ECF No. 35-5. Under “Sanction
Recommendation, ” the Report states, “[i]nmate
Busz must obtain full-time employment within 21 days of his
termination date.” Id.
Plaintiff stayed in the Program and remained housed at the
Center, until his scheduled release from custody. The
Plaintiff obtained new employment on December 7, 2015.
judgment is proper where the evidence of record shows that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the record it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Id. at 323. The burden then shifts to the non-movant
to “go beyond the pleadings” to cite evidence of
a genuine factual dispute precluding summary judgment.
Id. at 324. “[A] court has one task and one
task only: to decide, based on the evidence of record,
whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a
trial.” Waldridge v. Am. Heochst Corp., 24
F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994). If the non-movant does not
come forward with evidence that would reasonably permit the
finder of fact to find in its favor on a material issue, then
the Court must enter summary judgment against it.
Plaintiff brought a variety of claims. The Plaintiff concedes
that summary judgment should be granted on his various
constitutional and state law claims. See, et al., Resp.
to Mot., ECF No. 35, p. 2. Remaining are his claims for:
(1) discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, (2) discrimination under Title II of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), and (3) discrimination
under Title I of the ADA.
Discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
establish a claim under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation
Act, the Plaintiff must show that (1) he is a qualified
individual, (2) with a disability, (3) who was denied access
to a program or activity on the basis of his disability
through an entity receiving federal financial assistance.
See Wis. Cmty. Serv. v. City of Milwaukee, 465 F.3d
737, 746-47 (7th Cir. 2006). The Rehabilitation Act applies
to work release programs. See Jaros v. Ill. Dept. of
Corr., 684 F.3d 667, 673 (7th Cir. 2012).
only issue the parties contest is whether the Plaintiff was
denied access to a program or activity by an entity receiving
federal financial assistance. The Plaintiff argues first
that, because H&E is the Defendant's contractor,
H&E's termination of him qualifies as denial of
access to a program. Even assuming the Plaintiff's theory
is legally supported, but see Maxwell v. S. Bend Work
Release Ctr., 787 F.Supp.2d 819, 827-28 (N.D. Ind. 2011)
(holding that only a direct beneficiary of federal funds, not
an indirect, alleged contractor, can be liable under the
Rehabilitation Act), the Plaintiff has presented no evidence
that H&E was, in fact, the Defendant's contractor.
Without establishing this prerequisite relationship, there is
no genuine dispute of material fact.
alternative, the Plaintiff argues that the Defendant did
directly discriminate against the Plaintiff through the
Report. However, while the Report does “sanction”
the Plaintiff by requiring him to find new employment within
twenty-one days, the Plaintiff does not present any support
for the conclusion that the Report or the Sanction was a
denial of access to the work release program. Cf.
Jaros, 684 F.3d at 673 (blocking an inmate from
participating in the program would qualify as denial of
access), Maxwell v. S. Bend Work Release Ctr., Case
No. 3:09-cv-08, 2011 WL 4688825, *5 (N.D Ind. Oct. 3, 2011)
(indicating that, although the plaintiff failed to establish
causation, removal from the program does meet the elements of
a rehabilitation claim). Particularly as the ...