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Credeur v. St. Charles Gaming Co. LLC

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

January 18, 2018

KATY CREDEUR
v.
ST. CHARLES GAMING CO., LLC

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KATHLEEN KAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In this litigation, Katy Credeur (“Credeur”) is suing her former employer, St. Charles Gaming Company, LLC d/b/a Isle of Capri Casino (“Isle of Capri”), for discrimination, harassment, unlawful and retaliatory discharge under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Doc. 1. Before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 13]; a Motion to Seal Documents [doc. 14], and a Motion for Hearing on the Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 15], filed by the defendant, Isle of Capri. Credeur filed a response in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. 22. Isle of Capri filed a reply in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment. Doc. 23.

         This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636. Doc. 26. For the reasons stated below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that the Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 13] be DENIED, the Motion to Seal [doc. 14] be DENIED, and the Motion for Hearing [doc. 15] be DENIED AS MOOT.

         I.

         Background

         Isle of Capri is an entertainment and gaming establishment in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Doc. 13-2, Exh. A, para. 3. Credeur was hired by Isle of Capri as a hostess in September 2014. Doc. 1, para. 3; doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 4. In early September 2015, Credeur was hospitalized due to mental health issues, causing her to miss work. Doc. 1, para 5; doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 4. Prior to returning to work, Credeur was required to return completed medical leave of absence forms to Isle of Capri, including a “Healthcare Provider Questionnaire, ” to be completed by her treating physician for the purpose of determining what accommodations Credeur may require upon returning to work. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, paras. 4, 5.

         On September 10, 2015, Isle of Capri claims that it received an incomplete Healthcare Provider Questionnaire and a note from Credeur's treating physician which stated that Credeur suffered from anxiety and depression and that certain aspects of her job contributed to her condition. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 6 (citing appendix 1). On September 10 or 11, 2015, Credeur spoke with the Human Resources Coordinator for Isle of Capri (the “HR Coordinator”), Lena Cryar. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 9, appendix 2; doc. 22-2. The HR Coordinator told Credeur that she could not return to work until her doctor provided further information, setting a deadline of September 25, 2015. Doc. 22-2, para. 4; doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 9, appendix 2. Credeur was told that she could use the time in the interim to “apply for transfer to a position, if available, that can suite [sic] your need.” Doc. 13-2, exh. A, appendix 2. The same day, the HR Coordinator drafted a letter to Credeur's physician, stating that Isle of Capri was “unable to release [Credeur] to her position until we have further clarification, ” and setting forth instructions for completing the attached Healthcare Provider Questionnaire. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 9, appendix 3.

         The parties dispute the subsequent events. Isle of Capri claims they ultimately received a completed Healthcare Provider Questionnaire stating that Credeur would have “reduced occupational efficiency and impaired concentration;” suggesting “ten minute breaks every two hours and an option to transfer to a position with less personal interaction;” and indicating that Credeur could return to work as of September 10, 2015. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 10 (citing appendix 4). According to Isle of Capri, Credeur never contacted anyone at Isle of Capri “to work out the details of her return” after they received the completed forms from her physician. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, paras. 10-11. Instead, Credeur called the Strategic Development Manager, Cristina Lorio, on September 24, 2015 to tell her that “she was resigning her employment due to her medical condition.” Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 11. According to the Strategic Development Manager, she asked Credeur “to confirm her resignation in writing, ” which Credeur did the next day, September 25, 2015. Doc. 13-2, exh. A, para. 12 (citing appendix 6)

         Credeur, however, claims that after her September 10 or 11, 2015, meeting with Cryar she was unable to reach her doctor for an additional medical release, so she contacted her employer and was told that Isle of Capri considered her “unfit” for employment. Doc. 22-2, para. 5. According to Credeur, the Strategic Development Manager told her “that if [Credeur] ever wanted to have the option for employment with [Isle of Capri] in the future [she] had to resign or else [she] would be terminated and ineligible for any future employment.” Doc. 22-2, para. 6. Credeur claims that Isle of Capri did not allow her to return to work after September 10, 2015; did not offer to transfer her to a new position; and did not allow her “to attempt to work with the accommodations suggested by [her] treating physician.” Doc. 22-2, paras. 7-9.

         On April 26, 2016, Credeur filed her Complaint against Isle of Capri alleging “discrimination and harassment, as well as unlawful and retaliatory discharge under the [ADA].” Doc. 1, para. 9.[1] On January 4, 2017, Isle of Capri filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that: (1) Credeur cannot make out a claim for constructive discharge because she voluntarily resigned her employment, and (2) Credeur cannot make out a claim for failure to accommodate because she failed to meaningfully engage in the interactive process to find an accommodation. Doc. 13-2, p. 11. On the same day, Isle of Capri filed a Motion for Hearing on its Motion for Summary Judgment [doc. 15] and a Motion to Seal documents it filed in connection with its Motion for Summary Judgment because they contain sensitive medical information. Doc. 14. On January 18, 2017, Credeur filed a response in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment claiming that it is too early to move for summary judgment because discovery has only just begun, and asserting the existence of disputed questions of material fact based on the differing account of events in her affidavit and the affidavit of Isle of Capri's Strategic Development Manager, which Credeur also claims contains statements not based on personal knowledge. Doc. 22, pp. 1-5. On January 31, 2017, Isle of Capri filed a reply in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment asserting that Credeur did not rebut the material evidence submitted by Isle of Capri, nor did she cite any record evidence beyond that cited by Isle of Capri that shows there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact. Doc. 23, pp. 1, 4-5.

         II.

         Law & Analysis

         A. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate where “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). “A fact is material only when it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and a fact is genuinely in dispute only if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Fordoche, Inc. v. Texaco, Inc., 463 F.3d 388, 392 (5th Cir. 2006) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The moving party bears the initial burden of showing that there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After such a showing, the burden shifts to the non-movant to show that there is a genuine factual issue for trial by citing specific evidence in the record, beyond the pleadings, that supports its assertions that a material fact is genuinely in dispute. Id.at 324; see also Diaz v. Kaplan Higher Educ., L.L.C.,820 F.3d 172, 176 (5th Cir. 2016) (citing Ragas v. Tenn. Gas Pipeline Co., 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998)). The court may not weigh evidence or make credibility ...


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